People's History Museum GCSE Trip
On Friday 26th January the GCSE History students got to take part in a trip to the People’s Museum in Manchester which is a museum all about protest and change throughout the past couple of hundred years in Britain. Once we arrived, we were split up into our teaching groups and my groups first stop was a re-enactment of the Matchgirls strike of 1888. There was just one woman performing who did an amazing job of showing us how much courage and determination it took for that group of women to go on strike, without being protected by a trade union. After the performance, we were given 45 minutes to go around the 2 main galleries on our own, trying to fill in the booklets we had been given which had a number of questions. The answers were in the galleries somewhere. The 2 galleries were absolutely brilliant! Each floor was like a timeline with key information on the events we had been studying in class, each with artefacts from that particular event. We were told that the museum had one of the largest collections of political banners in the world and some of them were really quite amazing!
After our time looking through the two floors on our own, we then had a guide who went through the galleries with us, giving us more detailed information about certain events. This was extremely beneficial as it meant that we could ask any questions we needed to and could fill in the rest of our booklets. What the guide was telling us was really interesting because it really expanded our knowledge on the events that we had been learning about in school and the fact that it was like a timeline, really showed us how they all linked together.
The next part of the day was visiting the archives at the bottom of the museum which was personally my favourite part. There were 2 big tables covered in old newspapers, letters, articles, photographs and so much more, mainly from the First World War, all of them in their original form. One particularly interesting letter was one written by a young, unmarried girl who had written to a senior officer in the army requesting that the father of her child could be sent home early because she was pregnant. This must’ve taken a lot of courage for the girl to do this because marriage out of wedlock was really looked down upon back then. This again, was another chance for us to ask any questions about the sources we had in front of us and it was valuable to be able to see the evidence first hand instead of seeing it photocopied in a text book.
Next it was lunch time for our group and we could have a look around the gift shop as well if we wanted. Then for the last 30 mins or so we could have one final look around the galleries and really make the most of the information being given to us. There was an old-fashioned shop counter with things you could dress up in and a juke box that was playing music too! Then it was time to get back on the coaches and go back to school.
Overall, I had a really enjoyable and beneficial day and I’m sure everyone who went would agree with me in saying that it definitely helped our Power and the People topic, and we learned a lot of extra information that will hopefully really help us with our GCSEs. Also, a big thank you to Mrs Thelwell who organised the trip and the other teachers who came with us!
Charlotte Hughes 11S