A guest post from Individual Giving Manager Kim Gowland
I joined the People’s History Museum in early October this year as Individual Giving Manager and things have been very exciting and fast moving since then!
I’ve always loved the People’s History Museum, and feel that it has a unique place in the museums world, telling the story of democracy and representing real working people, rather than kings, queens and so on. So I was delighted to be commissioned by the museum to turn the huge support and goodwill it already has into financial support and funding. This is really important at a time when funding cuts threaten museums like PHM and we all need to find new ways to be resilient and carry on the good work museums do.
Last week, we launched the People’s History Museum’s new fundraising campaign, which is called ‘Join the Radicals’. The Radicals in question are the heroes of the museum and its collection, who progressed democracy, equality, peace and welfare in our country. They are men and women who believed in ideas worth fighting for. They dared to challenge convention and believed in the spirit of fairness, co-operation and people power. They were pioneers who changed history and made life better for ordinary working people.
The ‘Join the Radicals’ campaign aims to harness the power of these radical thinkers and doers and to ensure that the museum continues to flourish and tell their stories.
The campaign was launched on Monday 17 November at a reception at the House of Commons, with a special guest of honour, the Rt Hon Alan Johnson MP. Individuals, groups and organisations were invited to sponsor one of ‘100 Radical Heroes’ whose stories are uniquely told by the museum.
Our list of 100 heroes includes politicians, union leaders, suffragists, campaigners, workers, footballers and writers who all made a difference. Tom Paine…Emmeline Pankhurst …William Wilberforce…Viv Anderson… George Orwell…Karl Marx… Disraeli, Bevan and Churchill.
The launch event was attended by over 60 guests, and the sponsorship campaign has already succeeded in attracting a number of pledges from attendees. These included a pledge from Alan Johnson for his own personal radical hero who wasn’t on our list – Scottish trade union activist, orator, politician and journalist, James ‘Jimmy’ Reid. Reid was famously one of the leaders in the Upper Clyde Shipbuilders Work-in and also a great supporter of Scottish independence. This pledge takes the number of Radical Heroes to 101 but who’s counting!
Over the coming months, we want to sign up 100 people or organisations to sponsor a Radical Hero as part of our broader ‘Join the Radicals’ campaign. Sponsorship will cost £3,000 and the funds raised will go directly to support our collections, exhibitions and ongoing learning programme, and to ensuring that the museum continues to flourish in these challenging economic times.
In return for their support, sponsors will receive a range of benefits including having their name displayed in the Museum alongside their chosen Radical Hero, a one-to-one behind the scenes session with a museum expert exploring the collections relating to their Radical Hero, and invitations to exclusive events.
And if you don’t have £3000 to spare, then don’t worry! The Radical Heroes sponsorship campaign is just one of the ways people can get involved in supporting the museum. The museum has a Supporters scheme which costs only £30 a year, and we also welcome one-off donations. The next few months will also see us launch a Patrons scheme which will be similar to the Supporters Scheme but with added benefits.