The People’s History Museum in Manchester
A Manchester museum dedicated to celebrating democracy, radical and working-class politics has been shortlisted for a top prize.
The People’s History Museum is one of five venues in the running for the Art Fund Museum of the Year 2022 award.
The venue, located near Salford Central station, has been recognised after spending much of 2021 exploring the subject of migration with an ambitious programme of exhibition and events.
The team has spoken of its delight at being nominated for one of the biggest prizes of its kind to be handed out anywhere in the world.
What is the Art Fund Museum of the Year 2022 prize that the People’s History Museum has been shortlisted for?
The Art Fund Museum of the Year prize celebrates innovation and creativity at museums and art galleries across the UK.
Alongside the People’s History Museum the shortlist is made up of the Horniman Museum and Gardens in London,Derby Museums, the Museum of Making in Derby, The Story Museum in Oxford and Tŷ Pawb at Wrexham.
This year the prize is particularly looking to recognise venues whose achievements tell the story of museums’ creativity and resilience, and particularly focuses on those engaging the next generation of audiences in innovative ways.
The decision on the winning museum will be made by a judging panel chaired by Art Fund director Jenny Waldman which also includes director general of the Imperial War Museums Dame Diane Lees, artist and educator Harold Offeh, cultural historian and broadcaster Dr Janina Ramirez, and BBC Radio 6 DJ and broadcaster Huw Stephens.
The winner will be announced at a ceremony at the Design Museum in London on Thursday 14 July and will receive £100,000, with the other four shortlisted museums each getting £15,000.
What is the People’s History Museum and how did it end up on the shortlist?
The People’s History Museum styles itself the national museum of democracy and its collection features banners, posters and photographs that all help to tell of the ongoing struggle for equality by workers, reformers, voters, revolutionaries and citizens.
The museum explores many key moments in history which have happened in Manchester, including the Peterloo Massacre, the work of the suffragettes campaigning for women to be able to vote and the fight for LGBT+ rights.
In 2021 the museum decided to focus on the topic of migration and put together an ambitious programme to discuss the issue.
A community programme team, made up of people who have experienced migration themselves, was recruited to work alongside the museum’s staff to develop exhibitions and events designed to challenge narratives around the topic and the role migrants have played in shaping activism and rights in the UK.
This included family trails, a Passport Trail, artist workshops, interventions and the visitor experience Migration: a human story.
The museum also encourages people to take a stand on issues and uses its voice to join with those sharing its belief in a caring community and society.
In recent months it has stood Together With Refugees, and the international development charities, refugee groups and cultural organisations that make up the coalition, to campaign against the controversial Nationality and Borders Bill.
What has the People’s History Museum said about being shortlisted?
Katy Ashton, director at People’s History Museum, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be shortlisted for Museum of the Year 2022, which is such amazing recognition of the brilliant work of the whole museum team.
“I’ve always been incredibly proud of our museum and truly believe there is something very special about it and the work it does in collaboration with communities; celebrating people’s stories, sharing our collections, bringing people together and playing an important role as a space for social action and change.”
Bernard Donoghue, the chair of the museum, said: “This is a huge honour and means so much to our staff, volunteers, supporters and stakeholders.
“As an activist and campaigning museum we live our values and take inspiration from our collection and the stories they tell.
“We are about ‘ideas worth fighting for’ and that’s never felt more relevant or urgent than now.
“We are very grateful for this recognition; it will spur us to provide more opportunities for individuals and communities to tell their stories and inspire change.”
What has the Art Fund said?
Jenny Waldman, director at the Art Fund, said: “An abundance of applications to be Art Fund Museum of the Year 2022 shows the creativity and resilience of museums right around the country, despite the immense challenges of the last two years.
“The five superb finalists are all museums on a mission who are tackling the vital issues of today – from combating the climate emergency to improving literacy or exploring migration – and reaching diverse communities as they do so.
“Each is working hard to encourage the next generation to get involved, both to inspire them and to equip them with essential skills.”