Election! Britain votes: Call for participation

Next February, the People’s History Museum will embark on a new type of exhibition. Election! Britain Votes, will be the most experimental and contemporary show PHM has ever programmed. It will explore historical elections using our wide collection; explain how and why a nation goes to vote and what the importance is to society today.

Card001We will chart historical elections including all the memorable moments which represented a general election from 1900. As the home of democracy, the People’s History Museum is best placed to tell this history, and our collection will take our visitors on a whirlwind tour of posters, pamphlets and pipes (Harold Wilson’s pipe, to be specific) from 1900 to 2010. In each of these elections we’ll also chart key facts and issues including the winners, losers, male to female ratio of MPs and of course all the moments you may remember.

In the second part of the exhibition, we’ll also attempt to explain how the life of a vote works. Elections and all the rules and processes behind them can be confusing so this exhibition will break down the life of the election from it being called to the result being announced, explaining all the things which make a general election happen.

Finally, we hope to create a space which will reflect the changing contemporary landscape and will chart the 2015 general election as it unfolds. This area will be fluid; it will evolve with the debate and will provide an interactive space in which to connect with politics today. We are looking for people to come and use this space to debate, chat, hold a public meeting or run a session. The space will display posters and leaflets as they are distributed throughout the UK and will work as a space to reflect as well as engage. If you would be interested in using this exhibition to evoke debate and conversation amongst a group, discuss how to get issues you care about on the agenda, or talk about the election may affect your life, get in touch with the museum at harriet.beeforth@phm.org.uk .


A Land Fit For Heroes Learning Resources

A guest post by volunteer Matthew Hallsworth

As a qualified primary school teacher and volunteer in the Learning Department at the People’s History Museum I felt extremely privileged to be given the opportunity to create the self-guided resources for school groups for our World War I exhibition A Land Fit For Heroes.

A Land Fit For Heroes exhibitionI had seen the exhibition initially taking shape in the form of staff room discussion, floor plans and elevations but as the opening drew closer and the sections were constructed one by one the potential for the exhibition to be used by schools became even more apparent with every placard and banner that went up.

Conscription gameI was particularly excited to see the sections for conscientious objectors and conscription. As topics they provide such a good grounding for creative drama activities aimed at getting children to empathise with working class people and their experiences during World War I. What I had not anticipated, however, was the wonderful conscription game that had been made to go alongside the conscription display. The pinball-style contraption demonstrates the difficulty in being excused from conscription as players try to fire the ball into one of the exemption targets (as anyone who’s tried will testify!) and provides a context for discussion exploring the emotions of the men about to be sent to war. This was just one of many of the installations which help to engage learners in a unique and exciting way.

The sounds, videos and interactive sections of the exhibit all make for an inspiring learning experience and work really well in conjunction with the museum’s City Centre Trail and Living History Baddies sessions. For the self-guided materials I wanted to employ activities that fitted in with our Living History sessions, using drama techniques and creative writing methods to explore the thoughts and feelings of people at the time that could either be facilitated by any adult accompanying a group or be completed independently by the students.

School workshop in A Land Fit For HeroesAs a teacher I know firsthand how time-consuming planning and linking activities and trips to the curriculum can be, even more so with the imminent changes to the National Curriculum. As such, all the self-guided resources that have been produced contain floor plans, teacher’s notes with guidance on how to approach each section of the exhibition and links to the new National Curriculum from Key Stage 2 through to Key Stage 4 and A Level in History, English and Citizenship.

I hope you enjoy using them as much as I enjoyed producing them!

You can download the inspiring self-guided resources that Matt has created from the WWI resource page of our website. You can also find what WWI themed learning sessions are available for your group on this page.  To find out about our WWI learning offer please email learning@phm.org.uk or call 0161 838 9190

The exhibition is supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund.


St Paul’s Peel Primary School visit

A guest post by our Learning Assistant Liz Thorpe.

Build A Banner - ALFFH - St. Pauls PS 25.06 (3)On Wednesday 25 June St Paul’s Peel Primary School took up the opportunity to visit us for a free, World War I (WWI) themed, Build a Banner session as we commemorate the centenary of the start of WWI. The group explored our changing exhibition A Land Fit For Heroes: War and the Working Class 1914-1918  as part of the workshop. The group clearly enjoyed their workshop, where they learnt about symbols and their meanings, and also how and why banners are used. They then got to work creating their very own banner to take back to school.

St Paul Peels CofE PS @ People's History MuseumWe asked that they write a blog about their experience here but what we did not expect was a delivery of beautifully illustrated letters from each of the children, telling us about how much they enjoyed themselves!

Here are some of the things they shared with us …


 ‘I learned today that the eye meant ‘The eye of the God and the dove meant peace, the holding hands meant friendship and the bees meant workers.’


 ‘To make the all seeing eye of god I had to make a template of an eye on pink card and when I had done that I stuck the card of white sticky card. Then we had to put black sticky paper for the eye lashes. I also used the same black paper for the pupil. Then we covered the eye in blue card and the eye was finished.’


 ‘I had so much fun I wish I could go again I am going to ask my mum if I can go again.’


 ‘I never knew what the symbols meant before they were explained. The bee hive means working hard, the dove means peace, and the eye symbols god is watching over you.’


St Paul Peels CofE PS @ People's History Museum  (1) ‘Most of all we really enjoyed the banner workshop, we made a banner and decorated it with pictures of the eye of god, poppies and white doves.’


 ‘I am amazed that you have managed to keep the banners clean for all of those years.’


 ‘My favourite part was making our own banner with bees and poppies. I think I’d give it a ten star rating. The phrase “work together for peace” was a brilliant idea …’


 ‘Pauline was very kind and kind because she showed us all of the museum and explained what everything was about.’


If you would like to bring your class in for a free workshop in the next academic year we are offering pARTicipate: Build a Banner sessions for primary schools and Living History: Baddies – Conscience & Conflict during World War I for secondary schools.

One free session per Greater Manchester district.

Offered on a first come, first served basis. To find out more please email learning@phm.org.uk or call 0161 838 9190

The exhibition is supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund.


Family Friendly Highlights over Easter

If you follow our blogs, you’ll know that in November 2013, year 5 from St. James’ Primary School in Rusholme came to the People’s History Museum and took over our jobs for the day. They got involved in front of house duties, exhibition checking, evaluating our shop displays and much more!

As you may also know, we’ve recently launched a new aspect of our collections website, our Collection Highlights, and over the next few months, we hope to update our Takeover Day - St James' CofE Primary School, 22.11.2013, copyright People's History Museum (135)highlights page to include many different themes. The first of these is our Family Friendly Highlights, chosen by none other than our Year 5 class from St. James’- who better to test our interesting interactives, fun dressing up areas and immersive displays! The group were given half an hour on each gallery to inspect, test and evaluate what they most preferred, and what they wanted including in our new Family Friendly Highlights.

We then came down to our offices and (after a lot of working out) we decided on our highlights. Year 5 then went on to the marketing department to tweet about what they’d been doing. On their return back to school, they very kindly wrote us some blogs telling us about their time at PHM.


Ellie decided to share the objects the group decided to be in their highlights in her blog:

“We have just finished judging the top ten family games. Here they are:

  1. The co-op shop
  2. Football display
  3. Life boxes
  4. 1945 living room
  5. Wheel of fortune
  6. Build a bridge/ picket line
  7. Hannah Mitchell’s kitchen
  8. Match box making
  9. Badge making
  10. Dress up”


Aman described his morning at the museum:

‘…On Friday I went to the Peoples history museum and we wrote a twitter we all thought which part we liked in the museum. There was a co op shop and a football display and a TV that showed football..’


Maham also liked the Coop shop:

‘.. The history is very interesting and its only 10 minutes till lunch we saw a co-op shop was very fun for children to play in, that would be fun admit it. ..’


Zain told us about his favourite part of the day:

‘..In our group we decided the top ten “Family Friendly Activities.” It was so fun!

My personal favourite was defiantly the “Build A Bridge”’

You should visit.”


Finally, Larry gave some sound reasons for visiting PHM!

Hi, my name’s Larry, and I recently went to the Peoples History Museum with St. James Primary School, Rusholme. Me and my class, Year 5 went for National Takeover Day, an idea by Kids In Museums on 22nd November 2013. We had quite an eventful day…

My group were mainly involved in marketing, but did do a certain part on the Top Ten Family Friendly Activities, the top three being:

  • Pre-WW2 Co-op Shop
  • Football Displays
  • Life Boxes

It was a very exciting day altogether, and checkout the P.H.M. website for more information! I have one more quote, and it’s on the Family activities

“I was impressed, and if you want to see more, then come to the Peoples History Museum!”


We’re really excited to have our PHM Family Friendly Highlights chosen by St. James’s Primary School. Check the collections page on our website over the Easter holidays to find out more about their expert choices!

We’ve been taken over! Part 2

Takeover Day - St James' CofE Primary School, 22.11.2013, copyright People's History Museum (71)‘I like the stick on moustaches because you can go and trick your friends and go and say that I have grown a moustache when you haven’t.’ Leah

As you might recall from one of our earlier blog posts, St James’ Church of England Primary School, Birch-in-Rusholme  Year 5 class took over the museum for a day in November 2013.  They have been continuing their take over by telling us about what the day in a series of three guest blogs.

In this second blog you will hear from the group who took over our Front of House team.  These Year 5 students had a busy morning: they chose their Top 5 favourite shop items (by democratic means of course), picked out stock that they thought we should sell in our shop and created a beautiful Christmas display.  The students then helped our Gallery Assistants to greet visitors, write up events on our notice board and look after our gallery spaces.

Top 5 favourite shop items (chosen by St. James’ Year 5 class)

  1. T-Shirt maker
  2. Tin yo-yo
  3. Plastic cup (beaker)
  4. Moustache’s
  5. Note Book (pad)


Individual Top 5 Shop Items

You can find out what the Year 5 students chose as their Top 5 items to buy:

1] Tin yoyo because lots of people like yoyos and you can do lots of tricks.

2] Fake moustache because they’re really funny.

3] T-shirt markers .


 Takeover Day - St James' CofE Primary School, 22.11.2013, copyright People's History Museum (10)

Top 5 things to buy in PHM gift shop

1)            stick on moustaches

2)            plastic cups

3)            melty beads

4)            tin yo-yo

5)            wooden skipping rope

I like the plastic cup because they have a massive curly straw which goes right round the cup.

I like the melty beads because I like sticking them on the spiky thing. I forgot its name and then you have to iron them and they melt.

I like the tin yoyo because I like to have a competition how many times it bounces before it all gets tangled.

I like the wooden skipping rope because I love skipping. I always see how many jumps I do.


Top 5 favourite shop items @ People's Hisory Museum

Top 5 things to buy in PHM Gift Shop

  1. Polystyrene      Plane
  2. Desktop Bowling
  3. Tin Yo-yo
  4. Seed Bomb
  5. Sky Divers 

I liked the Polystyrene Planes because they flew, they were easy to handle, and were pocket-sized. I liked the Desktop Bowling because if I get bored when I’m doing my homework I can take a short break and play a quick round with it. I liked the Tin Yo-yo because it didn’t look like it would break easily because most of the time when I buy a plastic yo-yo it breaks really quick.

Mohammed Ayman

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)

Our visit to the People’s History Museum by students from Broadgreen International School, Liverpool

A guest post from students from Broadgreen International School, Liverpool who visited the museum in July

Broadgreen International School, Liverpool

On Thursday 4th July we went to the People’s History Museum (PHM) in Manchester with Mr Windle and Miss Eyres to learn more about solidarity, how to get along with people and to produce our own banner for International Evening.  This involved working with John Halligan from the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and Annette Cobley, the museum’s artist.

 Broadgreen International School, Liverpool 2Broadgreen International School, Liverpool 3

The first thing we did when we got to the PHM was to go to the Learning Studio where Annette gave an introduction about the museum.  We then had a tour of the museum galleries and learnt about banners, why they were there, and what the symbols on them mean.  Some of the banners we looked at were made by the bricklayers’ union, the Labour Party and George Tuthill.

After our tour we went to the museum’s café for a cake and a drink, before going back to the Learning Studio to make plans for our banner.  We worked together and all got our points across about what should go on our banner.

Broadgreen International School, Liverpool 4 Broadgreen International School, Liverpool 5 Broadgreen International School, Liverpool 6

Going to the PHM was a very good experience because we learnt how to all work together, how to get our points across better, how to make a banner and how solidarity can help our careers.   Before our visit to the PHM we worked with Mr Windle to learn about solidarity in Cuba and with Jay McKenna from the TUC to learn about what trade unions do.   Our visit to the PHM was also funded by a trade union called Unison.

Our plans for the future are to carry on working with the TUC and Unison because we want to learn more about trade unions, take part in a community radio project and hopefully even go to some places around the world like Cuba or Nigeria so we can see how other people live.

Broadgreen International School, Liverpool 7

Peace and Love!

You can find out more details about our Learning Programme on our website. Alternatively you can contact the Learning Team on 0161 838 9190 or by emailing learning@phm.org.uk