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Main Gallery Two

Main Gallery Two

Main Gallery Two is on the second floor and starts in 1945 at the end of World War II

20 January 2018 — 13 January 2019

Banners section, Main Gallery Two @ People's History Museum

Every year the majority of the banners on display in the galleries are changed.  For one week each gallery is closed to allow for the changeover to take place.  Come and visit to see a new selection of banners – some on public display for the first time.


Citizens section, Main Gallery Two @ People's History MuseumThe first theme of Main Gallery Two is all about politics and protest post 1945.  Rather than being revolutionaries, reformers, workers or voters, have we become citizens?

This theme looks at Britain after the vote has been secured for all.  Politics from 1950 to 1979, then 1979 to almost the present day.

Politics moves to being more issue based rather than about political parties – war and peace, equality, gay rights, green issues, strikes and migration changes as a result of the end of empire.

Time Off?Time Off? section, Main Gallery Two @ People's History Museum

This section covers how time off was won as well as what people did in their new leisure time.

Displays include information on working class leisure activities such as football, including items from the collection of the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA), plus music and the Musicians’ Union. Time Off? also includes information on The Co-operative, which was formed in Greater Manchester by the Rochdale Pioneers, friendly societies and the ‘saving for a rainy day’ philosophy.


Banners section, Main Gallery Two @ People's History MuseumThis area of Main Gallery Two is double height especially to showcase some of the museum’s most impressive and significant banners.  Some of the banners are displayed showing both sides which gives a unique view.

An audiovisual show helps to create the atmosphere of the culmination of a march or protest with crowds of people, lots of noise and banners fluttering in the wind.

This is where you also have the opportunity to take a look into the country’s only Textile Conservation Studio dedicated to the conservation and preservation of banners and textiles.  From the Textile Conservation Viewing Area you can see the conservators working on some very delicate and often beautiful textiles and banners.

Visitor Experience

  • The colours: Many of the historic items in the museum used colour to represent ideas and the gallery colours are inspired by this; red for courage and revolution, green for reform, blue for loyalty, purple for dignity, pink for peace, white for purity and gold for ambition.  Each theme in the galleries has a different, and appropriate, background colour.
  • The light: The light levels in both galleries are set low to protect the delicate textiles and papers on display.
  • Interactives: Throughout the museum galleries there are a range of interactives to help bring the story to life.  These include ‘life in a box’; boxes containing items related to a person’s life that you can look at, read and interact with.  They are based on real historical people.  There are timelines located at various points throughout the galleries; click onto these to find out what other big events were happening in the country at the time.  Follow our families throughout the last 200 years and see how their lives have changed.  Find out what kind of house they lived in, where they worked, how much leisure time they had and how they spent this time.  The galleries have curved corners; we’ve made the most of these by using them as speakers’ corners.  Listen to some of the most impressive speeches made in recent times.
  • Objects: Almost 1,500 historic objects are on display in the main galleries; ranging from large iconic objects such as banners and posters to smaller items such as minutes from meetings, ceramics and badges.
  • Interpretation: The interpretation panels in the museum are written in a different style to some other museums and galleries.  This way of writing information is called Ekarv and it is designed to make providing information to visitors as easy and accessible as possible.  For visitors without much time there are introduction panels that give an initial idea of what the section they relate to is about.

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