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Summer on a grand scale at People’s History Museum

People’s History Museum has a series of must-see spectacles to enjoy on a grand scale and of a grand age this school summer holidays. A visually stunning art installation of 100 pairs of ceramic feet, a moving display of Charlie Mackesy’s 5ft tall thank you card to the nation and the 200th birthday of the oldest banner in its world-renowned collection are just some of the highlights awaiting discovery at the national museum of democracy.

Counter-flow: the movement of cultures from one place to another – Wednesday 21 July 2021 to Sunday 10 October 2021

Visitors to People’s History Museum will find themselves standing alongside 100 pairs of ceramic feet each individually decorated with textile patterns that make different global references to collectively symbolise demographic shifts across the world and the spread of cultural identities. Every piece in Counter-flow is a work of art in its own right, with all created by artist Eva Mileusnic to reflect individual stories, beginning with that of her parents who came to Britain as refugees from Hungary. Counter-flow art installation is one part of this exhibition, which looks at cultural and national identity through different art forms. In National Relics the depiction of identity through vintage costume dolls that were popular between the 1950s and 1970s is one route and in Inter-National Grid a patchwork grid of national costumes is superimposed onto a vintage map of England and Wales to create a multicultural fabric of British society in modern day Britain. This celebration of diversity is part of the museum’s migration programme and continues until Sunday 10 October 2021.

Entry to the museum is free with a suggested donation of £5. Opening hours are Wednesday to Sunday, 10.00am to 4.00pm.

Counter-flow Family Friendly workshop: identity feet – two sessions every Wednesday of the school holidays beginning on Wednesday 28 July

Inspired by the artist Eva Mileusnic’s art installation Counter-flow, families will have the opportunity to decorate a pair of plaster cast feet with a design that reflects their own identity. An array of materials will be available to use and experiment with including painting, printing, drawing and decal transfer application. The activity is Family Friendly and designed to be suitable for all ages.

Workshop tickets are priced at £6, £2 and free (plus booking fee for paid tickets) and all the details, schedule of dates and booking information is here.

A national Thank You card for Thank You Day – Sunday 4 July 2021 to Wednesday 4 August

Charlie Mackesy, author and illustrator of the highly-acclaimed book The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse, has come together with the Together Coalition to create a Thank You card from the nation to all those who have helped in so many different ways during the Covid-19 Pandemic. The result is a card that stands over 5 foot tall, carries an illustration created by Charlie featuring his much-loved characters on the outside and the words and contributions from schools across the country. The card has been produced for national Thank You Day on Sunday 4 July, but will be seen for the first time at The Championships, Wimbledon; where it will be unveiled on Sunday 27 June before its journey to People’s History Museum, where it will be on display to the public until Wednesday 4 August.

Standing in the museum’s Foyer the Thank You card from the nation will be an unmissable sight for visitors to the national museum of democracy, who will be able to read the comments and have pictures taken besides the card, which carries with it a heart-warming message of love and hope.

Entry to the museum is free with a suggested donation of £5. Opening hours are Wednesday to Sunday, 10.00am to 4.00pm.

200th birthday of the Tin Plate Workers Society banner – on permanent display in Main Gallery One

As the oldest banner in what stands as the world’s largest collection of trade union and political banners, the Tin Plate Workers Society banner has a special place at People’s History Museum. Created by William Dixon for the celebration of the coronation of George IV (19 July 1821) it has a flag like configuration and uses oil on linen meaning it is very fragile. The imagery, which includes the Union Jack, the figures of hope and justice and the all-seeing eye, was intended to inspire pride, hope and justice.

The Tin Plate Workers Society banner is featured as part of the museum’s fun I Spy activity, which gives eagle-eyed families the chance to discover some of PHM’s treasures as part of this self-guided quiz. It might be an object that you have to spot or an interesting aspect of an artefact that requires some further investigation! Votes for Women, the Peterloo Massacre and workers’ rights are some of the stories of change makers that form a backdrop to I Spy.

Entry to the museum is free with a suggested donation of £5. Opening hours are Wednesday to Sunday, 10.00am to 4.00pm. I Spy is a free Family Friendly activity.

Migration: a human story – Wednesday 11 August 2021 to Sunday 24 April 2022

Set for a mid-summer launch are a series of interventions that will challenge the way in which migration stories are told at People’s History Museum. These are being staged by the Community Programme Team, a group of individuals whose lives have been shaped by migration that the museum has been working with since 2019. An important part of the project is a new banner, inspired by the classical imagery and design of historic banners like the Tin Plate Workers Society banner, but also subverting, challenging and reinventing. Designed by textile artist Seleena Daye it represents migrant workers, whose hard work and cheap labour has been so often unrecognised, overlooked and erased. Also expect short animations, trails and more, with plenty of Family Friendly content as part of the activities to be discovered throughout the museum’s galleries.