People’s History Museum

The People’s History Museum in Manchester tells the story of the past, present and future of democracy in Britain.

two community members looking at archive photos
People’s History Museum

The People’s History Museum (PHM) aims to explore, and inspire people to get involved in, ideas worth fighting for. These include equality, social justice, cooperation and a fair world for all. PHM does this by working alongside the communities whose stories the museum tells. Their collection includes the largest trade union banner collection in the world, and key objects linked to particular events and groups include Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, and Black Lives Matters. Over 125,000 people visit the museum every year. They run a vibrant learning programme for schools and community groups on topical issues linked to their mission. 

PHM aspires to be a national leader in representing the history of disabled people’s rights and activism. Since 2017, they have worked with a steering group of disabled people to explore how disabled people have been represented in the past and the challenges they face today. In 2021, PHM applied to us with plans for a bold exhibition called ‘Nothing About Us without Us’. It explores the history of disabled people’s activism and the ongoing fight for rights and inclusion. PHM explained why this exhibition and their outreach programme are needed now. They highlighted how the pandemic and economic situation were disproportionately affecting people with disability. This makes it even more important that disabled people have the opportunity to tell their own stories in their own words.  

We are extremely grateful to Garfield Weston Foundation for their support for our Nothing About Us Without Us programme. The funds have enabled us to invest in core costs to support the development of this landmark programme, which has been entirely co-curated, working with people who have lived experience of the issue. The funding has been central to being able to do this work with the care, consideration and authenticity it requires.

The project’s budget included capital costs to improve disabled access to the museum’s building and a reasonable contingency. They had a thorough delivery plan including community engagement and learning programmes. PHM had already secured around half of the total project cost when they applied to us. We were happy to make a grant to support this important exhibition and activity programme. 

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