Trip: People’s History Museum

While on my visit to Manchester I visited the People’s History Museum. As the name suggests the exhibits were mostly of historic content however at one point they were all current affairs so I felt the visit provided inspiration appropriate and relevant to the theme.

The exhibit most memorable for me was probably the ‘Pink Pussy Hat’ knitted by activist Caroline Myers. The humorous take on feminism was a visual representation of the outcome produced in anger. I feel it is so powerful because of the strength behind the message. While watching a display of utter disgrace and outrageousness (President Trump’s inauguration), the hate fuelling the production enabled Myers to create a garment that wasn’t threatening or unkind but seemingly quite pure and sweet. This is so important because of the quality of protest. She didn’t need to produce an outcome of violent nature, or of any negative content for that matter. Simply knitting a kitten shape in pink wool was enough to speak her thoughts. She is therefore much stronger in her actions because she didn’t need to be vile to make a statement. The cat like shape references Trump’s phrase of ‘grab her by the pussy’ and further heightens the appeal of the piece to a feminist audience. ‘Pussy’, a modern (highly informal) synonym for female genitalia is an objectifying word used in a generally belittling sense and is not in any way right, or appropriate for the President of a superpower to be associated with using. This issue is very much a current affair today and is one which seems to have been almost ‘swept under the carpet’ with Trump still in power and shaping an ever patriarchal society. Are we really evolving or has this move from American perspectives shown that we are truly degenerating in our existence.

Further into the museum was information on other activists of the city, figureheads from movements historically and inspiring content relating to the uprising of lower and middle class families in Manchester. Some exhibits were concerned with a more present time whereas others focused on and around the industrial revolution and the revolt against aristocracy. The right to vote and the working class appeared very much the centre of each exhibit which I found to be fitting as it tied the museum together with its name. The vibe was very much ‘power to the people’ and was genuinely very inspiring.

I’ve collected a lot of primary imagery to do with historical presentation of current affairs which is naturally very useful for supporting my earlier research. There was also an old style press printer which was so interesting to experience in the flesh. As I have researched it and understand the workings and how it benefitted society I quite honoured to be seeing it ‘in the flesh’.

Overall I found the visit informative and relevant to the theme however knowing what my research has been about wasn’t as specific to my outcomes as I’d have liked it to have been. In addition I am very close to the end of unit 10 so almost need to focus on the areas I’ve chosen to look into. However, I think I can definitely take some of this imagery forward for future projects and am glad that I went to visit.

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