Easter 2017: The idea of a National Education Museum is agreed by a small group of educators from the National Union of Teachers and the Association of Teachers and Lecturers meeting at the last Conference of the NUT in Cardiff before its amalgamation with the ATL to form the National Education Union. The key aims were set:
• to inform, educate, enlighten and entertain the general public, including those pupils and students in education.
• to include a history of the important role and influence of education trade unions, as well as the development of those unions.
• to include the international dimension of teacher trade unionism
• to be an independent charity
• to have a museum housed in a building and fully resourced online
• to collect, store and display relevant materials such as general education artefacts, paintings, photographs, documents, banners, books, and pamphlets.
Autumn 2017: The first trustees are recruited, a constitution is drawn up and application made to the Charity Commission for Registered Charity status. Author and educator Gervase Phinn and Rebecca Oberg from Eureka Children’s museum speak to a small but enthusiastic audience at a Conference in London in November. An artist is commissioned to design a logo. There is a good feeling that the project will succeed.
Spring 2018: The National Education Museum is registered as a charity in England and Wales. A bank account is opened and a website and email account established. The collection of artefacts, books, medals, furniture begins with items released by the NUT/ATL amalgamation. Awareness raising stands are taken at the last ATL and NUT Spring conferences. Detailed planning begins.
Summer 2019: The project features again at the education union conferences. Trustees begin to explore the museum city of Portsmouth, home to the first Ragged School as a base for the museum. An open day is held for children and residents in Portsmouth. In September the trustees spend two days intensive planning assisted by a professional consultant.
Autumn 2019: Trustees Hank and Jean Roberts begin a successful fund raising tour of England and Wales. The project begins recruiting Honorary Patrons – Baronesses Morris and Blower, Jim Al-Khalili and Gervase Phinn. The trustees begin to set their sights on Arts Council accreditation.
Winter and Spring 2020: A Founder Patron scheme is launched seeking £2500 donors and a target of £250,000 is set for a premises fund. Items of Victorian school furniture are purchased at a knock down price. But where to store them ? Space is rented in Portsmouth. Covid-19 strikes and meetings have to go online. Times are tough, but progress is being made.
Summer 2020: A formal Collections Policy, essential to achieve Arts Council accreditation for the museum, is finalised and adopted together with a range of operating protocols and a skills audit programme for the recruitment of more trustees. Over £40,000 has been raised. The search for premises begins.
What’s next ?
- audience research and impact assessment
- social media blitz
- website development
- profile raising programmes
- leafletting and support group meetings
- Founder Patron promotions
- expanded trustee and executive structures