PHM on Tour: Salford

IMG_5022-1On the first leg of our AGMA tour, we visited Barton Moss in Salford to meet some of the anti-fracking protesters who are campaigning against iGas, who are drilling in the area in search for shale gas. The men and women on Barton Moss have been camped out for over three months and have formed a camp akin to a front line, proudly displaying posters and placards supporting their cause.

We wanted to reach out to the folk on Barton Moss to let them know about our contemporary collecting campaign, in which we aim to collect objects and stories of protests, campaigns and events that are happening today, or within living memory. This will give us more relevance not only in today’s society, but will also act in preserving our contemporary heritage for the future.IMG_5028-1

Despite the cold and rainy weather, we were able to speak to a number of the Barton Moss protesters and tell them about the Play Your Part project, and make them aware of our plan to collect contemporary material such as the placards, posters and leaflets currently being used there today.

If you have material you would like to donate, please get in touch with , or to find out which AGMA district we are visiting soon, check the blog next week!

Play Your Part - resized for web

Snapshot on Education

img001The first Monday of every month brings a lunchtime Snapshot session down in the archive in the museum’s lower level. It’s an opportunity for anyone to have a look at some of the 80,000 photographs in our huge collection from the Labour Party and Communist Party archives in a friendly and informal setting.

On Monday, 3rd February, Snapshot focuses on education, from nursery school to university and adult education. The twentieth century saw huge changes, expansion and upheaval of education at all levels, so come along and have a look at how things used to be.img002

Snapshot sessions last from 12:30pm – 1:30 pm on the first Monday of every month (except January). There’s no need to book; just come along. A 15% in the museum cafe is available to anyone who attends.

We have been taken over!

‘..on the 22nd of November our school went to the people’s history museum . It was the takeover day. We had so much fun! We split up into three groups and did different jobs.’ (Hannah)

Takeover Day - St James' CofE Primary School, 22.11.2013, copyright People's History Museum (3)St James’ Church of England Primary School, Birch-in-Rusholme Year 5 class took over the People’s History Museum as part of our Takeover Day celebrations in November 2013.  Takeover Day is a national initiative which sees young people across the UK take over museums, galleries and cultural venues.

St. James’ Year 5 class took over our Exhibitions, Marketing, Front of House, Learning, Archives and Play Your Part teams! We loved having St. James join us for the day.  They helped us with everything from greeting visitors, to writing our Twitter and Facebook posts, to helping us pick our Top Ten Family Friendly activities.  It was such a busy and exciting day that we thought we’d let the students continue their take over and tell you about what happened across a series of three guest blogs.

In this first blog you can hear from the Year 5 students who looked after our exhibition displays and also helped out in our Labour History and Study Archive.

‘.. The archives are a place where you can study and find research. What we had to do was collect pictures and put them into packaging. But we had to wear rubber gloves because the sweat on our hands was corrosive to the pictures..’ Scott

‘In the archives we looked at lots of different types of newspapers and pictures of WWII. With the newspapers we had to write the different names of the newspaper titles andTakeover Day - St James' CofE Primary School, 22.11.2013, copyright People's History Museum (164) they were given out to the people who want to read them..’ Lynda

‘..In my group we went to the archives. We worked in pairs to list photos from when children were in secondary school in the late 1900’s. We had to read the information on the back to work out when it was taken and where. Then we had to put it in a protective sleeve….

Before we did that we went round the museum to check if anything was damaged, broken or out of place. We had a map to check off where things were wrong. .’ Hannah

‘In my group our guide was called Josh Butt. We split into three’s to find things that were damaged, broken or out of place. In my three we found 8 damaged things.’ Aaliyah

Takeover Day - St James' CofE Primary School, 22.11.2013, copyright People's History Museum (141)

The Power of the Press: Through the Front Pages

Our guest blogger, Helen Antrobus, tells us about her thoughts and findings when researching World War I newspapers while on her placement here at PHM.

When I first started my course in Museum and Art Gallery studies, somebody told me that the trick to handling museum objects is confidence and care, and it worked perfectly right up until I was researching the newspapers from the World War One years in the archives here at the PHM. They are delicate, damaged from age, and it’s scary even turning the page over- but, fears aside, I persevered, and you get used flaky pages eventually!

IMG_4908Newspaper headings will always catch our eye, even if we don’t want to see what is there. It is nearly impossible to ignore the bold titles of scandal, capitalised and printed in red so we can’t miss them even if we want to. If we don’t want our day to be filled with bad, sad, or shocking news, most of the time we had no choice.

Now, try to imagine the headlines if Britain were once again fighting in a World War. Imagine the front pages if the Armed Forces were living in trenches swarming with disease, fear, and lice. Imagine the anger towards the government, the anger towards the opposing side, and a nation living in terror.

Sadly, the people living in Britain during World War One did not have to imagine it- for them; it was an all too gruesome reality. The newspapers of the day express the public’s thoughts, concerns, and worse fears as they waited for any kind of news, or change. And whilst they may not have lived in an age of digital photography, the stories and images that their newspapers included were effective enough without need for it.

What is interesting about the newspapers of the time is, like today, they took sides. Whilst many of the newspapers reported news from the front and were diligent in supporting the efforts of the nation against the forces of Germany and her Triple Alliance, some were decidedly not. The Daily Herald was a notoriously left-wing newspaper during World War One, and became a staple of the anti-war movement.

Englishmen, do your duty and keep your Country out of a wicked and stupid war.’ This was the headline in the Daily Herald on August 4th, the day war broke out. This would mark the paper’s campaign against Britain’s involvement in World War One, and would be followed by more graphic front pages, designed to make an impact on the reader.

This front page (pictured), taken from the early days of the war is a clear example of this sort of anti-war propaganda. There are several striking features of this front page- the portrayal of dead soldiers piled up carelessly; the blunt caption accompanying it. What is most interesting is the lack of indication as to who the soldiers are. They are not English. They are not German. Through this, the Herald’s message is simple. The cost of war is life, no matter whose life it is. This was the beginning of their campaign for peace- throughout the war, they supported conscientious objectors and were outspoken against the treatment of the men who chose not to, or were unfit to serve.

The Daily Herald was angry at the government for entering into a ‘stupid and wicked’ war, just like pro-war supporters were angry with Kaiser Wilhelm. War had made the nation angry- they just couldn’t agree on who they wanted to take it out on. Newspapers were a huge influence on the public, as the media is on our opinions today.

Inspired By My Museum

As part of our Play Your Part programme of events, we are running two creative courses open to members of the public this coming February.  Catherine has already blogged about them here – make sure you get in touch to book your place.  Linked to the creative writing is the following opportunity that we have been asked to share with our visitors and blog readers.

The Inspired By My Museum competition is being run by sampad and The British Council with support from the Museums Association and because of the high level of interest in it, the deadline is being extended.   Further information is below and visit the main Inspired By My Museum for all the terms and conditions.

Inspired by my Museum

An encounter with a museum can be a life-changing experience, a realisation of the past or an inspiration for the future. If you have a poem, short story or reportage inspired by a museum you have visited, tell us and your words could be selected for publication.

It could be the space, architecture, design, an object or objects in the museum or even the museum/exhibition curator who has inspired you.

  • Further to the overwhelming response to the launch of the competition, we have now extended the age limit so that any writer from anywhere in the world from the age of 16 upwards can take part.
  • Entries can be up to 400 words.
  • Only ONE entry is allowed per person
  • BEFORE accessing the online form and entering the competition, you MUST read the Rules document and Frequently Asked Questions document, both of which are PDF downloads available on this webpage (clickable link)

If you prefer to enter by post, send an email requesting information on how to do this to:

The Inspired by My Museum competition is a partnership between sampad and British Council. The competition has received kind support from the Museums Association.


FC United: Exhibiting a community

Whilst our new Play Your Part pop up exhibition is all about FC United, it’s about more than just a football club.  I’ve been working with the club for a couple of months to develop the exhibition and I’ve been bowled over by their enthusiasm and commitment to the community of the club; both the community of fans and co-owners who make up the club, and their engagement with the wider community.  Surprisingly, in most of our meetings football itself was barely mentioned!  It was more about how they could highlight projects such as their annual Big Coat Day, which collects coats for the homeless.

The club did a call out to the fans to bring in their photos and memorabilia, and on Sunday 12 January we brought it all together to decide what to display.  12 January 2014, FC United display workshop @ People's History Museum (6)Harriet had dug out some of our football collections, so we rummaged through some of the photographs and programmes before Vinny Thompson and Peter Gleave brought out their fantastic memorabilia collections.  12 January 2014, FC United display workshop @ People's History Museum (19)Unfortunately we didn’t have room to display everything, but we did select some great items including the obligatory football boots and the more unusual bottle of beer.  There’s also some stunning photographs from photographers Matt Wilkinson, Mick Dean, Mark Lee, Richard Searle and Alastair Adams.

FC United exhibition @ People's History Museum (2)You can see more photos of the workshop and exhibition on our Flickr page.

The exhibition will be on display until Sunday 23 February.

Come to our Radicalism, football and co-operatives: FC United City Centre Trail on Sunday 26 January.


We want your stuff: Contemporary Collecting at People’s History Museum

Play Your Part - resized for webRegular readers of our blog will be aware of our exciting Play Your Part project. The project aims to make the museum more relevant to today’s audiences, by responding to current events, linking them to campaigns of the past, with the hope of inspiring activists of the future.

A key part of the project is to collect contemporary material, so that visitors of the future can learn about what was happening now.  The museum is keen to collect objects from campaigns and demonstrations within living memory.  This could be anything from posters, placards and banners to ticket stubs, badges and anything else!

We’re specifically looking at getting our extensive Peace Collection up to date and collecting material relating to the tuition fees protests in 2010 and other recent student campaigns.

If you would like any further information or have any objects that you’d like to donate to the museum then please get in touch with Catherine O’Donnell on 0161 838 9190 or email