Deliberately designed to decay, the rusted facade of the former Pump House which is home to the People’s History Museum is as brave architecturally as those whose struggles the museum chronicles.
It’s fair to say that people in Manchester are never far from a reminder of the price paid by previous generations in securing universal suffrage.
But few places in the city bring that story to life so vividly as the People’s History Museum is able.
Starting with the Peterloo Massacre, it traces 200 years of democracy in the making, following the mantra that: “There have always been ideas worth fighting for”.
The main story of the museum is told in two purpose built galleries located on the first and second floor.
The galleries have been divided into seven themes and roughly follow a chronological order over the last 200 years. The story starts in 1819 with Peterloo and ends in the present day.
In addition to the Main Galleries, there is a Changing Exhibitions Gallery (approx two exhibitions on show per year) and a Community Gallery.
Is it really a place for kids?
It’s fair to say that the People’s History Museum lacks the buzz of MOSI.
However, visit on the right day and there are fun things for kids to make and do. On days we’ve visited, we’ve been able to design screen printed bags and construct paper butterflies.
Kids will also enjoy learning how very different their lives might have been only 200 years ago.
The great tapestries carried by trades unionists are also an impressive site.
Importantly, with a general election looming large early in 2015, the museum is a place that might help older children grasp the importance of engaging with the political process.
Let’s face it, explaining politics and protest to kids can feel a little like explaining Poundland to a Premier League footballer – they kinda know it’s massively important to many millions of people, but they’re not really interested.
What the People’s History Museum does so well, however, is reveal the stories of the real people who made a stand and a difference.
Getting there to the People’s History Museum, Manchester:
People’s History Museum,
Left Bank, Spinningfields, Manchester, Lancashire M3 3ER
0161 838 9190
How much?: Free, with a decent cafe.
Website: Click here
Picture Credit: https://flic.kr/p/dJd8iH