Over the years People’s History Museum (PHM) has grown in its size, reach and vision as the national museum of democracy. We’ve carved out a unique role for ourselves in our dedicated exploration of British democracy, past, present and future, and in doing so we’ve led the way in co-creation, community engagement and inclusivity.
We were forged, somewhat against the odds, in the 1960s by those who believed in the power of democracy and collective action for the good of all. Building a museum dedicated to democracy wasn’t an easy path, and it wasn’t until we made our home in the radical city of Manchester that our future was really set. We now occupy both a historic landmark of Greater Manchester and alongside it a striking new building in which over the last ten years we’ve delivered bold programmes of activity, grown a collection that represents the stories of those who have championed rights and equality for all, and worked with an amazing array of communities and individuals to help shine a light on their stories.
The challenge of Covid-19 has hit us hard. We rode the storm at first thanks to our amazing team, our supporters and our own resources. However, the ongoing lockdowns and regional restrictions continue to devastate our important income channels, placing our survival as we go into 2021 in a very precarious situation.
It feels ironic that in a time when democracy globally has been such a hugely important focal point, that Britain’s own national museum of democracy should be under threat. It’s a situation that no-one could have foreseen, but we are also very hopeful, and believe that collectively we can secure the future of PHM.
So, we are asking our friends for help. If you love PHM as much as we do and value the work and role we play, then please support our Crowdfunder campaign, Secure our Future. A small donation or a share of our campaign could make all the difference.
People’s History Museum
People’s History Museum (PHM) is unfortunately unable to open its doors to visitors as Greater Manchester is to be placed into Tier 3 of the government’s Covid restrictions from Wednesday 2 December. We will reopen when we are able to and very much look forward to welcoming people back to the museum.
In the meantime there are lots of new online activities to enjoy and you can now explore the galleries yourself via a 3D online tour, or join our Head of Collections & Engagement, Jenny Mabbott, on a Google ‘Art for Two’ tour with actor Alfred Enoch.
PHM Shop which is stocked with brilliant books and gifts inspired by our collections, will be open Monday and Thursday, 11.00am – 3.00pm from 3 December until Christmas. And if you cannot visit us yourself, we are also offering a personalised gift service.
Behind the scenes our work continues, with a focus on contemporary collecting to reflect the unprecedented events of 2020. When we reopen our programme will focus on the theme of migration and how it has shaped modern Britain.
At this time your support is valued more than ever, and there are many ways that you can help support the unique work that we do as the national museum of democracy.
We hope to be able to welcome you back to the museum very soon.
In line with the national lockdown announced by the government, People’s History Museum (PHM) will close its doors from 5.00pm on Wednesday 5 November, reopening on Thursday 3 December 2020. The spirit of the museum will continue to be very much alive during this time, with lots of ideas, inspiration and experiences available for you to explore.
In addition to PHM’s online programme of events and activities, Ideas Worth Exploring, this month also sees the launch of some of the museum’s recent exhibitions and contemporary collecting on Google Arts & Culture, along with the opportunity to take a 3D tour of PHM’s galleries.
The next few weeks will be difficult for many people, communities and organisations, who will all be in our thoughts.
We very much look forward to welcoming people back to the national museum of democracy, and in the meantime, we’ll continue to share updates via our regular e-newsletter and blog, which you can subscribe to, and across our social media channels: Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
And if you are able to add your support at this time, it would be greatly appreciated.
Museums are places to escape the everyday to explore different worlds, lives and experiences, and as the national museum of democracy the importance of the stories we share has never felt more powerful. Our galleries are full of treasures representing the ideas of those who have fought for rights and representation over the last 200 years; from the Peterloo Massacre to recent global events. We proudly stand at the heart of Manchester, a city that has always been a hotbed of radical ideas and progressive movements.
Katy Ashton, Director, People’s History Museum
People’s History Museum (PHM) is looking forward to getting back to what it does best; welcoming visitors to explore the museum’s fascinating collections and unique building. We are planning to reopen on Tuesday 1 September 2020 and we can’t wait to see you at the national museum of democracy.
The wellbeing of our staff, volunteers and visitors is our top priority, and PHM is not rushing to reopen until we can do so safely and responsibly. The team are hard at work behind the scenes, reviewing the best available public health advice and sector guidance. You will find PHM introduces clear safety measures so that visitors can enjoy the best possible experience of PHM’s stories, objects and archives that illuminate the world of the revolutionaries, reformers, workers, voters, citizens and radicals who championed, then and now, for change, rights and equality.
Visitors will be able to explore the two main galleries, see the 2020 Banner Exhibition and discover the recently launched augmented reality (AR) experience exploring radical history makers on strike. PHM’s shop and The Left Bank cafe bar will be open, with space also available for those who want to bring their own food and drink.
PHM will continue to shine a light on migration, the museum’s headline theme for 2020-2021. This includes our work with the Community Programme Team, six people whose own lives have been shaped by migration, which will unfold following the reopening, with ideas and activities to inspire action. Contemporary collecting continues to be an important focus for PHM, as we ensure that the museum’s future collections reflect the unprecedented events and collective action of 2020.
Sign up to receive the e-newsletter to keep up to date with all the details on how to plan your visit.
Those who are unable to visit the museum can continue to take part in Ideas Worth Exploring, featuring events, activities and resources produced during lockdown to connect people and share hope, conversations and creativity.
The work and role of PHM has never felt more important and we have ambitious plans for how we engage people with the museum’s stories of ideas worth fighting for. If you are able to add your support to help PHM reopen, it will make a real difference.
People’s History Museum (PHM) has been closed to the public since March 2020, though our teams have remained busy planning, creating, amplifying and connecting with communities. We are also working towards a time when it will be safe to open the museum doors again to visitors, and will share further news when we are able to.
Public events usually taking place at the museum have found a new life online, including those focused on PHM’s headline theme for 2020; migration. Discover Ideas Worth Exploring at home and online, for a range of activities you can participate in remotely.
In the last few weeks we’ve stood in solidarity with people around the world united behind the call for change led by #BlackLivesMatter. One of our first actions has been to actively collect materials from the anti-racism events and protests taking place locally, nationally and internationally.
The museum has also started documenting and collecting around some of the campaigns in response to the Covid-19 pandemic; migrant health workers and the NHS, the experiences of disabled people, PPE shortages, and the role of key workers.
If you would like to contribute to the collection of the national museum of democracy in any of these areas you can contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Look out for updates on this website, sign up to our regular e-newsletter, subscribe to the blog, and find us on Twitter @PHMMcr, Facebook @PHMMcr, and Instagram @phmmcr. The work and role of PHM has never felt more important, so if you are able to add your support it would be greatly appreciated. We look forward to welcoming you to the home of ideas worth fighting for when we are back open.
#BlackLivesMatter is more than an idea worth fighting for; it is a human right.
People’s History Museum (PHM) believes in a fairer world for all, where people are inspired and motivated to take action against inequality and injustice.
We stand in solidarity with communities in Minneapolis and around the world who are making their voices heard in order to bring about change.
Like the rest of the world, People’s History Museum (PHM) is having to do things very differently at the moment as we all collectively seek to minimise the impact of Covid-19. During this time the museum stands in solidarity behind the message #StayHomeSaveLives.
To continue our exploration of the world of radical heroes that PHM brings to life, the team has curated a selection of fun activities and learning opportunities that can be enjoyed online. Ideas Worth Exploring is a digital doorway through to our events programme and learning projects and includes some PHM favourites that have been taken online for the first time, digital learning resources and brand new initiatives. There are ideas for those with little ones to entertain, ways to add creativity to home schooling and inspirational home learning for adults all brought to you by the PHM team and the freelance artists that we work with.
Alongside this we are continuing to look at new ways of approaching the museum’s headline theme for 2020; migration. This is being co-created with a Community Programme Team that is made up of people whose lives have been shaped by migration experiences. Some of this activity will be delivered online and some will take place at the museum when it is able to re-open.
We will continue to share updates and hope that you will continue to stay in touch; look out for news on this website, sign up to our regular e-newsletter, subscribe to our blog, and find us on Twitter @PHMMcr Facebook @PHMMcr, and Instagram @phmmcr. In these difficult and challenging times for all, our work has never felt more relevant, so if you are able to add your support it would be greatly appreciated. We look forward to welcoming you to the home of ideas worth fighting for when we are able to open to the public again.
We are all having to do things very differently at the moment, as everyone seeks to minimise and overcome the impact that coronavirus (COVID-19) is having across the globe. The museum is joined in solidarity behind the message #StayHomeSaveLives.
People’s History Museum has been closed since Thursday 19 March 2020 and the team are now working remotely, exploring new ways of inspiring people with the stories of ideas worth fighting for.
This includes rethinking and reshaping our approach to the museum’s headline theme of migration for 2020, which is being co-created with a Community Programme Team made up of people whose lives have been shaped by migration, and features many community-led projects and exhibitions.
We are certain the challenge of continuing to deliver a programme of activity will bring creative solutions and we are currently exploring alternative ways as a team and with our freelance artists of shining a light on stories of migration, sharing ideas and engaging in conversations.
Please do keep in touch and support us how you can; look out for news and updates on our website, sign up to our e-newsletter, subscribe to our blog, share on social media, make a donation if you can, and visit us when we’re back open again.
People’s History Museum in Manchester has, like other museums and organisations across the country, closed for a period of time following the UK government’s announcement of measures to try and combat the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19).
This is an unprecedented situation for all, and we will continue to follow government and Public Health England instructions and do everything that we can to assist in the interests of staff, visitors and the wider public.
We will keep in touch via social media channels and this website as to when we will re-open, and we hope to welcome you all again soon.
People’s History Museum (PHM), the national museum of democracy, has been following the story of Brexit as it has evolved.
In 2016 the museum unveiled an interactive installation The Euro Tunnel, which aimed to engage people with the referendum and encouraged them to use their vote. PHM has been actively collecting Brexit material from the leave and remain campaigns, both before and since the referendum, for the museum’s object and archive collections. This has included the acquisition of the Jo Cox Memorial Wall, which will go on display in summer 2020 as part of a wider community project entitled More in Common. And this year within its headline theme of migration, PHM will reflect on life for migrants living in post-Brexit Britain. All material in PHM’s collection is available for research and will be used to inform and inspire future programmes.
On Friday 20 September 2019 People’s History Museum, the national museum of democracy, is joining the Global Climate Strike by carrying out an #ArtStrike.
Exhibits in the Disrupt? Peterloo and Protest exhibition will go on strike for the day in support of those demanding action to prevent further global warming and climate change, sharing the message ‘You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone’. The #ArtStrike initiative is led by the UK Student Climate Network.
Disrupt? Peterloo and Protest tells of those protesting for rights and representation 200 years ago. The exhibition has been chosen as the focus for the #ArtStrike so that People’s History Museum can stand in solidarity with a campaign that is seeking to secure significant change for a common cause in today’s world.
Alongside the historical artefacts featured in Disrupt? Peterloo and Protest sits the very contemporary Protest Lab; conceived as a space for individuals and community groups to create and share details of current campaigns.
After two years of negotiations between Britain and the EU, Brexit is scheduled to take place on 29 March 2019 and as yet, there is no agreement in place. The Museums Association has warned of the “highly damaging impact on: the communities that museums serve; the people who work in and with museums, and the sharing of collections, ideas and expertise across European borders”, particularly in the event of a ‘No Deal’ Brexit. In planning our programmes for the years ahead and in our work as the ‘go to’ place for democratic engagement, People’s History Museum (PHM) must echo these warnings.
People’s History Museum is the national museum of democracy, and we have deep concerns about the impact of leaving the EU on our work as a cultural organisation, on the nation’s vibrant democratic engagement, and at this time of division, on the negative effects there could be on cohesion amongst communities.
These are defining times for our nation, which in years to come will be reflected through PHM’s archives, collections and programming as we record and inspire our nation’s democratic journey through history.
In the coming weeks we urge the nations elected officials to reach a resolution that brings the best possible outcome for all.
People’s History Museum supports the ongoing fight for equality through our work with the community and activists campaigning for disabled people’s rights.
Peterloo represents the shared history of all, so in the year of the 200th anniversary of this milestone it is important that every aspect of the way it is marked is inclusive and accessible to all.
We hope that through peaceful protest and discussion, the voices of the disabled community are heard and that the Peterloo Memorial is representative for all.
People’s History Museum (PHM) recognises the climate crisis as defining issues of the present day. PHM’s commitment to environmental care, responsibility and action continues through all streams of our work. PHM is a member of the Happy Museum Project, committed to being active stewards of people, place and planet. We have joined the Culture Declares Emergency campaign and are passionately committed at all levels of the organisation to embedding sustainable practices into the museum’s day to day operations. The museum places audience engagement at the heart of its sustainability approach; we believe the greatest impact we can have in addressing the climate emergency is to engage audiences to inspire action, whilst also working towards our own target of becoming a zero carbon museum by 2038.