The Brexit referendum of 2016 was one of the key historical turning points of our lifetimes and the Museum of Brexit project is calling for Brexit memorabilia to be donated to its growing collection.

Have you any Brexit books, diaries, photos, pamphlets, stickers, beermats, campaign rosettes, costumes… taking up space in your home? If so, the Museum of Brexit would love to take them off your hands.

The museum is having a big end of year push to get people to donate items to their growing collection.

The museum is after material from both sides and all sides of the debate. “We can’t explain events and explore arguments unless we set out the full story, as viewed from the many angles involved.”

The Museum received charitable status last year and has been setting up a nationwide system of drop off points so that people across the counties can hand over items much more easily. The system won’t be live for long so right now is the right time to rootle.

Museum organisers say:

“There is a tremendous story behind this that deserves to be preserved. Unless we act, much of it will be lost. Gaps will then be filled with misperceptions, fake news, and myth.

“Our objective is to plug that gap at the time when it is easiest, right now while memories are fresh, attics are still filled with treasures, and before items and stories get lost.

“The museum is the heart of the proposal and its main public space. It explains not just about what happened in 2016 (it would be quite boring if that’s all it did), but the deeper historical context and how the UK came to be the way it is – including areas that tend to get skipped on the national curriculum.

“In time we hope to set up a collection process for digital archive: watch this space if you have film and video records.

“The material could include items from other countries, from Remain campaigners and pro-EU groups, and material from the EU itself (eg the Raspberry Ice Cream War). We want to tell the full story. It’s a big one.”

The team are after items not just to put on display and act as story pegs, but also for their library and archives for future academic study. The museum plans to go well beyond simply talking about what happened in the 2016 referendum, but to map out the complex relationship between this country and the continent across the centuries as nations separately developed, and then as conflicting ideas about “Europe” clashed.

Did your EEC or EU-related campaign have inspirational or reference material on the wall? Perhaps it might be appropriate for the Museum of Brexit. If so, please include a note detailing their history so we can credit and explain.

That means not just talking about slogans on red buses or Margaret Thatcher’s handbag, but covering everything from Magna Carta to Decimalisation via Charles de Gaulle and Alfred the Great. Importantly, the intention is to approach things in a fair and balanced way, so everyone can feel welcome to visit and better understand the views of the other side across what has been a heated political topic.

Do you have any original speeches, either from the podium and the speaker’s hands, or just generally from the day of delivery? The one below is from an attempted ‘reset’, which framed the UK’s different starting point and strategic goals. The archives beckon!

The project’s chairman Dr Lee Rotherham, who as both an historian and someone who was personally involved in many of the campaigns has long had an eye on the big picture. He contrasts the very small scale ambitions of the museum with the tens of millions regularly spent by the corporate EU on its own European history projects. But key to its success will be collating a range of items from the various movements and campaigns around which to set out the narrative.

Details on how to find and make use of drop off points can be found at https://www.museumofbrexit.org/ and examples of the range of items collated can be seen on their twitter account @MuseumOfBrexit


TO DONATE ITEMS:

Each item donated needs to come with a donation record – CLICK HERE. Just print it out, fill it in, and put it with the items. If there is more than one item and story to tell, then please fill out more than one form. The museum wants to capture as much of the history as possible.

The following list is not exhaustive but might give you some ideas of what to look for in your loft;

  • Relevant photographs
  • Unique items, for instance, a draft speech from the Maastricht debate
  • Symbolic items like placards, badges, posters, and campaign rosettes
  • Personal items that come with a story
  • Items associated with an event, such as a folding desk and associated street stall display from a specific campaign visit

Archives and printed literature, some of which would be important enough to go on display, could include

  • Personal correspondence
  • Diaries
  • Books on the EU
  • Pamphlets
  • Campaign literature
Protest can use striking ways to draw attention. That includes costumes. The museum would love to set up display cases covering the best known examples of historic EU protests. If you no longer need your suit or props, please do pass them on to us (well bagged up!).

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