The Peace Museum, located in Bradford, is something quite special. With over 7,000 items in its collections, it’s a member of the International Network of Museums for Peace and the only accredited museum of its kind in the UK.
From its website:
Our vision is to be seen as a national resource that educates and inspires people for peace, using a unique collection of artefacts and stories.
We asked the Peace Museum’s Marketing and Press Assistant, Sarah Bartey, to tell us what goes on at the Museum and what it’s like to work there.
How did you land this role, Sarah?
I started as a volunteer two years ago. After that, I took on a paid internship via Bradford Council, sharing my hours between the Peace Museum and the Bradford Playhouse, and then I stayed on as a Museum Assistant. I’ve been in my current role since May.
What’s the best thing about your job?
Because it’s a small museum, I can get involved in everything that goes on. In two years, I’ve assisted with collections, events and marketing and helped to plan for exhibitions. It’s a really nice team to work in, and the Museum is unique.
Which project that you’ve worked on has had most impact, would you say?
We recently launched Protest! In Our Time, a new permanent exhibition, and it’s been the most successful project I’ve worked on so far. Our aim was to expand the collection and bring it up to date. Previously, our exhibits were mostly historical – WWI-related, or from the eighties. I contacted people who’ve protested more recently to ask them to donate items for the exhibition and we now have more objects from this century. I’ve also made videos of a few protestors talking about their experiences and their donated objects. We’re showing those as part of the exhibition, and I want to gather more videos like this.
What’s your personal pick from the Protest! In Our Time exhibition?
My choice is the Girl Power banner made by a 13-year-old girl who took part in the Shipley Women’s March, which was held in response to sexist comments from Trump and local MP Philip Davies. The stick had been used before for banners at other protests.
What other work does the Museum do?
The Museum works with school groups and we’ve just launched a new schools programme, run by Shannen Lang. We can now go out to schools so that classes don’t have to get to the museum building. Shannen is booking in schools in the Bradford District and the wider region, and we’re looking forward to working with schools even further afield. (More information and contact details for the education programme.)
Jude Wright goes into schools nationwide as part of our Choices Then and Now project, which is funded by Prevent. Jude gets participants to think about personal choices and values – for example, she talks about two Bradford brothers in the Second World War – one is a conscientious objector, and one fought in the war. She asks groups what might have influenced these brothers’ choices and then brings the focus back to ethical choices in the present day.
In the Museum, our visitors include individuals and also groups such as U3A and Woodcraft Folk, and we also offer tailored visits – tours or workshops.
We mark Hiroshima Day on 6th August each year in partnership with Yorkshire CND.
Recently, we worked with some young volunteers from the Impressions Gallery in Bradford, who were taking part in a project using photographs of women in the First World War – they were creating a publication for schools. They came to view some images at the Museum as part of their research.
When the art organisation Brick Boxes created its Wild Woods venue in the old M&S premises on Darley Street, we had a display.
We’re always looking for new ways to engage with people and to gather more resources to secure and expand the Museum’s activities.
What’s coming up next?
We’re just about to launch our next temporary exhibition, a collection of peace-oriented political cartoons, some of which are very funny. There’s a preview on Wednesday 18th October, to which everyone is welcome.
Thank you, Sarah!
Want to keep in touch with the Peace Museum? Got any questions of your own for its staff?
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PLUS – read our post on past peace and protest exhibitions in Bradford and Liverpool.