Y12 People's History Museum Trip
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Wednesday 29 June 2022
On Wednesday 29 June, our Year 12 History class went to the People's History Museum, to get a more interactive experience of their paper 1 content.
We met up outside the People's History Museum and were given a quick debrief by a Curator of the Museum. The Museum boasted an informative timeline on voting rights called "The Battle of the Ballots", which is linked into the British history of when the right to vote was given to different demographics. It was a very clear and informative visual of the political issue of voting and many of us crowded to take pictures of it, as it was relevant to the content we were learning in class.
Our group was excited to enter the room on the first floor. Immediately the posters and pictures greeted us and began to tell a story of political liberation. We saw a diverse array of fact files about people who were involved in different political ideas, ranging from the late 1700s to the early 1900s. As we walked further along, there was a dressing up station where we were able to explore the fashion of men and women in the 1900s. We saw how conservative people dressed compared to today, and we were allowed to try on the clothes and hats available. The Museum boasted a kitchen set from a real suffragette and our group explored the items of expectation in a 20th century kitchen and the differences of women being the only people in the kitchen, compared to today.
The People's History Museum was extremely interactive, with faux rooms to explore and different drawers and doors to open and read about. There was a myriad of personal accounts, documents, speeches and videos for us to learn from and use as part of our school work. As we travelled to the second floor there were more banners the Museum was able to show off. All of the banners were originals from the 20th century. Banners about immigration, equality in gender, workers unions and rights, all decorated the walls and were amazing to look at. A large area displayed giant banners, which were looked after and cared for by trained staff. Restoration and preservation technicians allowed for these banners to maintain their colours and remain as best as they can stay.
After looking at the banners, we moved onto more immediate societal functions, like sport and music. The Museum had a television playing scenes from the 1966 World Cup, and a jukebox playing songs by famous bands like the Beatles.
Once we regrouped, we went to the bottom floor to view the special exhibit. It was a migration exhibit which told the stories of people from different races, genders, ethnicities and their experiences that they had to face. There was a wall in which visitors of the Museum were able to write their own stories of migration on too. Much of our Year 12 group has multi-ethnic origins and some chose to share stories, while others did not. We were all respectful in listening and writing as we understand that there is much to learn from other people.
We ended our day in the gift shop, where we were able to buy merchandise to remind us of our day.
There were many benefits that came from this trip. Not only did this Museum focus on our paper 1 content, there were also links to our paper 2 content as well, such as the two oil crisis’ in the 1970’s. As said previously, this Museum is very interactive and hands on learning is a good revision tool. For example, there were little ballot boxes spaced around the two rooms in chronological order and on top they had a specific act that was passed around the vote and inside, the number of votes inside increased with each act. This was a good way of revision as it was a good visual representation of information that is important for our papers. The Museum’s collection of items from the 20th century, from the banners to personal letters from people in this time period, is a benefit as they were from the time and were made by people who were fighting for rights that we have today and issues that we are still struggling with today, such as the women’s movement.
Personally, I enjoyed all the interactive activities, such as the videos and the jukebox that played popular music from the 20th century, including ABBA and Oasis. I think that this trip was very useful to me as I learnt about new acts that I hadn’t before known, such as the 1928 Reforms Act, which allowed all men over the age of 18 and all the women over 21 to vote. I also gained knowledge on the Peterloo massacre, which I had never heard of before despite the fact that it occurred in St Peter’s Square in Manchester town centre, a place I visit very often.
Rajvinder Kaur (12ATR)