The People's History Museum tells us about the changes, movements, rebellions, and hard work of the average bod throughout the UK's history. The mash up of quiet stoicism, tolerance, intellect, explosive indignation, wit, humour, strength and much more which has led to the working classes managing to gain the vote, better hours, security... and very specially, this museum also helps you see what injustices still reside in our country today.
The decision has drawn a lot of political attention, with many suggesting the museum has been targeted, as it tells stories the government are perhaps disinterested in, or even actively don't want to hear.
Whatever your thoughts on why the cut is being made, Len McCluskey makes a solid point in The Guardian:
If we want to understand where our society is going in the future, our best chance is to look at how we got where we are today.
If we loose the People's History Museum, we loose the strongest voice for exploring the majority who made that history.
I have had some folks say to me "It can't be that important or good, I've not heard of it." or "I've not heard of it, so they obviously don't market effectively" or "If it's that good, they should be able to get funding, or more donations".
The museum has been shortlisted for or won multiple awards, from within the museums sector, marketing sector, tourism - including some European wide awards. It is much loved by all who have crossed it's threshold, and runs extensive community projects. It hold many wholly unique artifacts and an extensive archive - available to study at - as well as a conservation team working visibly on site. It has a wide ranging educational program, and is free for visiting educational groups (indeed for anyone).
The People's History Museum imparts information in an engaging and accessible way, which helps mold and shape how we think of ourselves as individuals and a society. The voices and artifacts here are directly from the working classes through the ages, speaking their wants, needs and intentions in their words.
It is viewed by some as a niche museum. It's not about a solid 'thing' like football, or art, or the local area. It's hard to explain to people that a concept, a whole slice of society, is not only a valid, but an engaging and vital subject to spend time with. It's easy to see why it would be overlooked by those visitors after "ooh look, it's a mummy!" experiences. Marketing it without alienating areas of potential visitors must be a constant balancing act.
Raising awareness for a regionally based museum is never easy, so couple that with it's 'niche' subject, and see what issues they face. Many very good museums find it hard to get their profile out there, so cut them some slack.
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