13 February 2020 marks the 10th anniversary of People’s History Museum (PHM) opening the doors to its current building; one that like the museum, fuses the historic and the contemporary.
Having a purpose built home to house its collection has been transformational for the museum since its opening in 2010. As the national museum of democracy PHM proudly stands in the heart of Greater Manchester; a city region recognised for its own progressive spirit and representation of radical ideas.
People’s History Museum takes visitors on a journey of democratic discovery. As democracy is debated more intensely by people around the world than ever before, the work of the museum has never been more important. This is where the story of the evolution of British democracy is told and where ideas worth fighting for are brought to life; past, present and future.
From election by ballot, votes for women, and workers’ rights, to fair pay, time off, and equality for all – these are just some of the campaigns featured. PHM is a place that brings people together, where people are invited to tell and share their stories, where diverse community voices matter, where young people are empowered and where visitors are inspired to be active citizens.
PHM focuses upon some of the most significant issues of our time. In the coming year its programme will be led by an exploration of migration, then disability rights and climate change in the years to follow.
The museum will continue to build on its work with children and young people, having welcomed 130,000 school pupils to take part in learning programmes about the history and importance of democratic engagement. Looking ahead to the next ten years, PHM will mark its 10th birthday with the publication of an Impact Report, reflecting upon its achievements and the impact of its work over the last decade.
Katy Ashton, Director of People’s History Museum, says, “People’s History Museum plays a vital role in celebrating and sharing the stories and experiences of those who have championed change; who have put others before themselves to achieve progress for all. We are here as a reminder of those that have fought for rights and freedoms, and those that are continuing to campaign for change today. Without this building and our incredible supporters, we would not have been able to achieve what we have, not only as a nationally but internationally significant museum.
“Like the radical heroes our visitors meet, we are proud to be a museum that is breaking boundaries. We’ve led the way over the last ten years with co-creation; opening our doors and collections to communities to support them in telling and exploring their own stories. We’ve done incredible work with young people, and as we begin the next chapter of our own story, will be developing this further with Vital Voters. This is a new project that will harness the inspiration behind ideas worth fighting for and combine it with an exciting new digital approach to engage young people with the power of democracy.”
People’s History Museum 10 years on
People’s History Museum will mark its 10th birthday with a programme that reflects its ethos, creativity and role as a museum that changes lives. It will reveal a new interactive augmented reality (AR) experience on its main galleries that explores the Match Girls’ Strike of 1888, something that has been made possible thanks to a grant through the AIM Biffa Award Programme’s History Makers Scheme. Biffa Award is a multi-million-pound fund that helps to build communities and transform lives through awarding grants to community and environmental projects across the UK, as part of the Landfill Communities Fund. It is the first of a series of new elements in the main galleries that will be revealed throughout the year, including interventions led by the specially appointed Community Programme Team as they explore the theme of migration for 2020.
Gillian French, Biffa Award Head of Grants, says: “It is a privilege to be able to support People’s History Museum’s Match Girls’ Strike AR experience. It is really important that we continue to support projects like this that remind people of those that came before us and who played such significant roles in the lives we are able to lead today.”
The celebrations begin with an invitation to join PHM for its birthday and across the weekend:
PHM’s 10th Birthday Party on Thursday 13 February (6.00pm to 10.00pm) takes place to coincide with the moment exactly ten years ago that the new People’s History Museum building opened its doors. You are invited to join supporters for a special birthday party featuring a democratic disco, live performances, drag queens, party food and games, birthday cake, unveilings and creative fun.
Katherine Savage, EY Partner, People Advisory Services, says, “We’re proud to be the exclusive sponsor of People’s History Museum’s 10th birthday party. The museum is a fantastic asset to our city, sharing stories of those who have fought for rights and freedoms both past and present, and celebrating diversity.
PHM’s 10th Birthday Party is a pay what you feel event, sponsored by EY and supported by Girl Gang Manchester, with booking required by Thursday 6 February: www.phm.org.uk/events/phm-
The love for People’s History Museum continues on Friday 14 February, with a Radical Relationships guided tour (12.00pm to 1.00pm). Join PHM’s Visitor Services Assistant Bob Dinn for a unique tour around the galleries to discover more about some of the less well known love stories through history. Mary Wollstonecraft, Friedrich Engels and Beatrice and Sidney Webb are amongst the romantic radicals featured.
Radical Relationships guided tour is a pay what you feel event, with booking required via https://phm.org.uk/events/
Valentine’s evening is when Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly delivers A Love Letter to PHM with a special gig (6.30pm to 9.00pm) to mark the museum’s 10th birthday and the band’s 15th birthday. The night of live music, all curated by the band’s Sam Duckworth, will take place in the atmospheric setting of the museum’s Edwardian Engine Hall.
Tickets for A Love Letter to PHM are £10 (plus £1 booking fee) and can be booked via www.phm.org.uk/events/a-love-
Saturday 15 February is when the home of ideas worth fighting for hosts an Open house at PHM!, a day of activities taking place in every space in the museum. This is a chance to explore People’s History Museum in a way not normally possible every day; to go behind the scenes with a tour of The Conservation Studio, handle some of the objects from the collection and discover some of the treasures of the archive.
Open house at PHM! is a day for all the family that will include craft activities, interactive music and story sessions, Living History performances and more.
Booking is not required for the Open house at PHM! All the events are pay what you feel at the event, with some activities offered on a first come first served basis.