National Education Museum ? What is this ? It is an idea which has turned into a project and it is going to be a Museum. We intend to make it unique in ways which match its subject, full of inspiration with a passion for knowledge and for the liberating power of education. Rooted in the culture of teaching and learning, the National Education Museum will be a celebration of education as the means by which we acquire awareness and understanding of our world, of ourselves, of our communities and of our society.
Grand ambitions. How can this be done ? It can be done because teachers themselves are providing the inspiration for this project. The idea began with Hank Roberts, a lifetime teacher and campaigner for education accessible to all, a man who has repeatedly demonstrated his passionate commitment to the idea of education, to the belief that the communication of knowledge and understanding provides us with the means to keep striving for a better fairer world in which no-one is denied a good education and the chance of a good life.
Why a museum ? Aren’t they just dusty old places with boring old books and things in glass cases? Not any more. A man called Emmanuel Arinze was the President of the Commonwealth Association of Museums. This was his view of museums – “Museums must be agents of change and development: they must mirror events in society and become instruments of progress by calling attention to actions and events that will encourage development.” In these words museums and education combine to have the same purpose. An institution which tells the story of education itself educates and excites. We aim to transform reactions to the words “museum” and “education” so that they are received with enthusiasm and an eagerness to engage.
Don’t we already have one ? There are great, fascinating local school museums and general museums with education related items in their collections. The NEM idea is to work and cooperate with all. We’ll build our own collection and we’ll aim to provide opportunities for others, if they wish, to promote and seek to share their education collections ultimately with a national identity under a shared umbrella.
We are going to site the Museum’s HQ headquarters initially in Portsmouth. The city is developing a reputation as a destination for visitors with a range of existing, wonderful museums. Additionally, and importantly, it is where in 1818 John Pounds began his pioneering work on education for the poorest children, recognising the power of education to change lives for the better and inspiring the Ragged Schools movement.
Sounds really good ? Where is it ? At the moment it is everywhere. Learning and teaching take place indoors, outdoors and increasingly online with virtual experiences. The Museum will reflect the policies and practices, some highly contested, that have shaped the history of education in England and Wales. It will actively stimulate a better understanding of the purpose and value of education and promote debate for improvement and change.
Our concept of the National Education Museum is that it is a movement as much as it is a place to see, touch and feel. We intend to deploy all the original and creative ideas of a 21st century museum making best use of the available technology to combine physical and virtual experiences.
I really like this. How can I be involved ? How can I help ? There will be many ways to contribute as the project evolves. The top priority now, way above all others, is that we have to acquire some premises from which to manage the project, house the artefacts we are collecting and start telling the stories we’re discovering. It’s too early to set a fixed timeline, but we’ll open up those premises as soon as we can with small beginnings leading on to big things.
Click here to find out more about how you can support right now.
And if you are able and you’d like to be remembered as one of the people or organisations who really set this great project on its feet, go to the Founder Patrons page to find out how.