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PHM prepares for the nation to go to the polls

PHM prepares for the nation to go to the polls

22 May 2017

PHM prepares for the nation to go to the polls

As Britain prepares to go to the polls on Thursday 8 June, the People’s History Museum is preparing to play its role in the nation’s affairs as the museum of democracy.  We  invite visitors to gain insight from our collections, and to take part in our conversations and debates.

Across our galleries the story of democracy is there to explore from 1819, when the desire for the right to vote and for free speech led to the Peterloo Massacre, to iconic election pieces such as Clement Attlee’s pipe.  There are also quirky artefacts such as Pank-a-Squith, a 1909 board game that represents the struggles of Emmeline Pankhurst against Prime Minister Herbert Asquith as the suffragettes sought to achieve the vote.

As it will be in this election, PHM will be gathering materials and artefacts from the campaigns of each political party to add to our collections.  Pieces from the 2015 election held in our archive demonstrate the many ways that political parties will try to get their message across.  A ‘Lib Dem Lottery’ card produced by the Labour Party asks you to ‘scratch the surface to reveal the truth’ of ‘Nick Clegg’s broken promises’ whilst the Conservative Party takes a swipe at Ed Balls with a tube of ‘PringBalls’ that state ‘Once I start spending I just cannot stop’.

There are lots of ways to get involved in the conversation at the People’s History Museum:

Digest the Election: Friday 9 June, 7.00am – 11.00am
As the world wakes up to the results of the general election what better place to watch the news and discuss the impact than the People’s History Museum.  On Friday 9 June visitors are invited to feed on the political debate as they enjoy breakfast at the museum that always puts good conversation on the menu.
Booking isn’t necessary.  Breakfast will be served from 7.00am to 11.00am by The Left Bank cafe bar with a breakfast sandwich and coffee costing £4.25.

Have your Say! Friday 16 June, 1.00pm – 3.00pm
With the dust still settling, political headlines still being written and the results of the general election starting to be felt, Mark Krantz will lead a discussion on the outcome of 8 June.  PHM staff will also be on hand to draw upon historical parallels, learnings and insights.
Places can be booked via Eventbrite.  This is a free event, for which participants are asked to make a suggested donation of £3.

**Extended Until Sunday 18 June** PHM is exhibiting New Dawn? The 1997 general election, which has been curated by Professor Steven Fielding from the University of Nottingham.  Through campaign posters (including Labour Isn’t Working), iconic newspaper front pages (including The Sun Backs Blair), famous photo-call moments (including Tony Blair with the cast of Coronation Street), memoirs, manifestos and analysis it examines the election that ended 18 years of Conservative rule and began 13 years of Labour government.

Open daily, the People’s History Museum is home to the nation’s largest collection of cross-party campaign, political and election material.  Our archive holds the papers of political parties as well as the personal papers of politicians, writers and activists and is open Monday to Friday for researchers to access.

  • Anyone who has not yet registered to vote can do this when they visit PHM, with voter registration open until 11.59pm on Tuesday 22 May.

General election interviews / filming:

The People’s History Museum’s collections, exhibitions, displays and curatorial team are dedicated to presenting the story of democracy to national and international audiences.  To film at the museum or to organise interviews in the lead up to the general election please contact: laura.sullivan@fidopr.co.uk.  Artefacts that can be used as part of a media report include ballot boxes, polling booths and posters from elections dating back to 1900.