The Pankhurst Centre will be reopening in summer 2021, and when the doors to the birthplace of the suffragette movement open again a new permanent exhibition will be revealed; At Home with the Pankhurst Family.
Three key funding successes will result in the transformation of the small museum at the Pankhurst Centre and ensure its short term survival in what’s been an exceptionally challenging year. The reopening marks an important step forward as the Pankhurst Trust continues its long-term campaign to restore and conserve the Pankhurst Centre.
Thanks to funding from AIM Biffa Award History Makers, as part of the Landfill Communities Fund, the visitor experience at the Pankhurst Centre will be reimagined. At Home with the Pankhurst Family will explore the story of the radical family that once lived at 62 Nelson Street and the legacy they forged from the house where the suffragette movement began. Standing in the place where history was made, a new generation of activists and change makers are set to be inspired.
Expected to open in summer 2021, At Home with the Pankhurst Family will focus on the lives of Emmeline, Christabel, Sylvia, Adela and Harry Pankhurst in the setting that was not only their home, but was also a place that would see the gathering of many of those who shared their desire to achieve Votes for Women and where Emmeline would first declare the immortal words “Deeds, not words”.
A second project will focus on the Pankhurst Centre archive, up until now a neglected resource of radical women’s history. A grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund of £87,617, thanks to National Lottery Players, will support Rooms of Our Own: The Herstory of the Pankhurst Centre which will connect the past of the Pankhurst Centre with young people of today. Opportunities stemming from the project will include sessions introducing young people to skills such as archiving and the recording of oral histories and creative workshops.
Tessa Chynoweth, Curator of the Pankhurst Centre, says, “Thanks to AIM Biffa Award’s History Makers Programme and The National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Pankhurst Centre is about to embark upon two projects that will be truly transformative, marking the beginnings of our ambitious vision for the Pankhurst Centre.
“It is our role to protect, share, learn from and inspire others with the story of the Pankhurst Centre, the legacy and people that it represents. The funding of these projects will give us the opportunity to do this.”
Whilst an exciting future lies ahead for the Pankhurst Centre, in the short term, like all cultural organisations, it has faced the unprecedented challenge of Covid-19. Thankfully The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Heritage Emergency Fund has provided the Pankhurst Centre with the essential funding towards its running costs for the next few months. With work set to begin on At Home with the Pankhurst Family it is impractical for the Pankhurst Centre to reopen its doors in the short term, so instead it will be putting all its efforts into ensuring that its reopening in summer 2021 is a very special occasion. In the meantime, the emergency funding makes it possible for the small staff team to continue development work whilst the museum is closed, including the resources needed for them to work from home and for support work to be put in place.
Gail Heath, CEO of the Pankhurst Trust, says, “We are hugely grateful to the funders and all those who have donated and supported us. Having secured the funds to begin what we see as being the first step in the transformation of the Pankhurst Centre, the challenge of Covid-19 could have been a huge set back, so we are extremely thankful for the support shown to us by The National Lottery Heritage Fund. Our continuing focus is on the long term conservation and development of the Pankhurst Centre. Therefore, to give the Pankhurst Centre the best possible opportunity of achieving the future we believe it deserves, and supporters everywhere want to see, we won’t be opening our museum doors to the public until summer 2021.”
You can add your support to the work of the Pankhurst Centre by making a donation or becoming a Friend of the Pankhurst Centre. For further information visit www.pankhursttrust.org/pankhurst-centre