Statements and responses

30 March 2021

People’s History Museum (PHM) is delighted to be introducing a new food and drink offer to the national museum of democracy.  Our reopening on Wednesday 19 May will coincide with the launch of Open Kitchen at People’s History Museum.

Chosen for their ethical approach, environmental credentials, passion for good food for all and commitment to inclusivity, a partnership with Open Kitchen is the perfect fit for PHM.  The innovative partnership also means that Open Kitchen at People’s History Museum will be the first museum cafe and bar in the country to use a mix of beautiful food intercepted from becoming waste and locally and sustainably sourced ingredients to create delicious, ethical seasonal menus.

The Open Kitchen team will be transforming the museum’s cafe and bar, with a refit that will feature upcycled, recycled and reclaimed materials, as well as offering catering for events at the museum.  By day it will offer an all-day menu for museum visitors whilst by evening it will switch the ambiance with table service drinks and small plates available.

Open Kitchen has evolved into Manchester’s leading conscious catering company.  It works alongside a range of food businesses to source perfectly edible food that would otherwise go to waste, purchases ingredients from a sustainable food chain and supports other ethical business and social enterprises.  The menu will be largely vegetarian and vegan, showcasing a smaller selection of meat dishes using Pasture for Life reared, locally sourced meat.

17 March 2021

The Peterloo Massacre (16 August 1819) represents the shared history of all, and the Peterloo Memorial in Manchester city centre should be a symbol of democracy and equality for all.

That it should instead be highlighting the inequality that disabled people are met with so often, and the ongoing day to day fights they face to achieve equality, is very disappointing.

The calls from the community for the issue of access to be addressed began in 2019 and continue today.  People’s History Museum will be following the activists’ campaign, documenting and sharing their story and helping to amplify their voices.

15 March 2021

People’s History Museum (PHM) is planning to reopen from Wednesday 19 May 2021, in line with the government’s latest roadmap.

We are very much looking forward to welcoming people back to PHM.  Our museum team have really missed the vibrancy that visitors bring and the opportunity to share ideas and conversations in our spaces.

When we open our doors we will have a number of new exhibitions on show as part of our migration programme.  This will include More in Common: in memory of Jo Cox, with the Jo Cox Memorial Wall on public display for the first time since it was created following the tragic murder of Jo Cox MP in 2016.  Shortly following this (from Saturday 29 May) we are delighted to host A British Museum Spotlight Loan, Crossings: community and refuge, which will tour the Lampedusa cross around the UK for the first time.  Made from remnants of a boat carrying refugees that was wrecked off the coast of the Italian island of Lampedusa in 2013, the Lampedusa cross and the messages it carries of kindness, community and indifference are hugely symbolic.  The piece is tremendously poignant to our work as the national museum of democracy and we’re delighted to be part of its tour.

We also have a number of exciting news announcements to make in the weeks ahead of our reopening.  We’ll continue to share updates through our e-news and across our social media channels: TwitterFacebook and Instagram.  The opening hours for the museum when we reopen will be Wednesday to Sunday (10.00am to 4.00pm).

Katy Ashton
Director, People’s History Museum

26 February 2021

People’s History Museum (PHM) is looking forward to reopening its doors as soon as we can after 17 May 2021.  Keep up to date with our reopening plans by signing up to PHM’s e-newsletter.

In the meantime we have lots of  Ideas Worth Exploring at home and online, with creative activities and learning experiences put together by our brilliant team to reflect the museum’s stories, collections and archives.  PHM is proud to be an independent museum, committed to continuing to share and celebrate the diverse stories that PHM represents as the national museum of democracy.  If you love what we do and would like to become a part of PHM’s radical journey then please consider making a donation or Join the Radicals.

We look forward to welcoming you back to the museum, and in the meantime you can find updates across all our social media channels: TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

26 January 2021

As we start the new year we’ve been uplifted by the warmth and strength of the messages of support we’ve received through our Crowdfunder, which set out to safeguard People’s History Museum’s future at this difficult time.  We greatly appreciate all of the very generous donations we have received.

People’s words and sentiments have clearly demonstrated how much value is placed in us as the national museum of democracy and the important work we do.

We celebrate the actions of people who have helped to create positive change for the many.  We use these stories to inspire more people to speak up, share their voice, and champion ideas worth fighting for.  We believe every single person has the power to change the world.

As we continue to face challenges and uncertainty, we are arming ourselves with this positivity and welcome anyone who wants to stand with us, to Join the Radicals and become a part of our future.

Katy Ashton
Director, People’s History Museum

15 December 2020

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.

Thank you.

Katy Ashton
Director
People’s History Museum

27 November 2020

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.

Sign up to PHM’s e-newsletter for information about reopening as we have it; and keep in touch through our social media channels: TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

We hope to be able to welcome you back to the museum very soon.

2 November 2020

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.

22 October 2020

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

29 June 2020

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.

17 June 2020

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: collections@phm.org.uk

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.

1 June 2020

#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.

#BlackLivesMatter #BeTheChange

5 May 2020

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.

31 March 2020

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.

18 March 2020

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.

27 January 2020

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.

19 September 2019

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.

13 March 2019

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.

3 July 2019

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.

14 June 2019

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.

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