Located in the heart of Manchester, the People’s History Museum is the only museum of its type in the UK, charting and exploring the world-changing events led by the ordinary working people of Britain.
At the end of January the museum learned that the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) will support its proposed One-Site Project. The news was announced by Tessa Jowell, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, at a major heritage summit in London entitled Capturing the Public Value of Heritage. Speaking at the summit, she said:
“I am very pleased that the People’s History Museum has been successful in securing Heritage Lottery Fund support. It’s important that Lottery money directly benefits the people who actually buy tickets, so a museum which celebrates real people’s lives and tells their stories from the last two centuries is very deserving of an HLF grant.”
Anne Robinson, broadcaster and journalist, who opened the museum’s Celebrity exhibition in 2003, said:
“I’m delighted to hear that the People’s History Museum in Manchester has received news of support from the Heritage Lottery Fund. I visited the museum in 2003 to open an exhibition and was struck by how relevant the displays are to modern life and how much we tend to take things like the vote for granted. Their plans to bring all activities together can only be a positive move and will benefit all those interested in the story of ordinary people.”
Manchester City Council provided the museum with an initial development grant £150,000, enabling the necessary work to submit the grant application, and has provided the land on which the extension will be built. The HLF has earmarked a grant of £7.18 million for the museum of total project cost of £10 million. The museum is hoping to be awarded £1.5 million by the North West Development Agency and has raised a further half a million from various other sources. Staff members are now working on filling the funding gap of just under one million and are optimistic about reaching the £10 million target in the near future. The Association of Greater Manchester Authorities, who has generously supported the museum in this way since 1988, has also promised its ongoing support.
The support from HLF, North West Development Agency and various other donors will enable the museum to consolidate its current two sites into one, as well as modernising its already popular exhibitions and educational facilities.
A new larger, single site will enable the museum to improve the quality of experience for visitors, display more of its impressive collections, increase access to the Archive and Textile Conservation Studio and raise its profile in Manchester and beyond.
The proposed plan is to build an extension adjacent to the current museum galleries, in the Pump House on Bridge Street, Manchester. It is anticipated that the museum will close at the end of 2007 to allow for the
re-development with the new museum opening in the summer of 2009.
The project gives the museum an exciting opportunity to rethink and redisplay the main galleries, giving us more space to display recently acquired material. A number of themes will recur throughout the interpretation, providing logical, consistent and recognisable threads in the stories the museum tells and making the displays accessible and engaging to the breadth of audiences that the museum attracts. The four core themes are;
Growth of Democracy
Self Help and Community
Leisure and Domestic Life
Work and Migration (a theme that will be informed and developed from the work the museum has done with Worklab in the past).
These themes will enable the displays to include the contemporary as well as the historic and allow the introduction of national and international elements.
Nick Mansfield, museum Director said “we are delighted that our HLF application has been successful. This is an exciting time for the museum and we are looking forward to finalising our plans so that we can tell the story of ordinary people in an inspiring and engaging way to appeal to as many people as possible.”
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People’s History Museum, The Pump House, Bridge Street, Manchester M3 3ER
Tel 0161 839 6061 Fax 0161 839 6027 Web www.phm.org.uk
Entrance to the museum is now free for everyone.
Registered as National Museum of Labour History, Charity no. 295260