The story of the UK’s battle to regain its sovereignty is being set up at a new museum – and it needs your help.
The objective is to establish a museum that tells the history of what we know today as Brexit. It’s the story of how the UK – in official terms – ‘pooled’ (or surrendered), and then reclaimed, our sovereignty.
The site says: “Brexit didn’t happen overnight. Nor did it happen because of a few months of concentrated campaigning. It was the consequence of decades of events, decisions, debates and controversies.
“Some of these even preceded the UK joining the EEC in the first place. And sadly, a number of those involved in the campaign are no longer with us. We want to honour their memory as well as those who strove so hard, for so long, and so thanklessly. We want to do so fairly, honestly, and honourably.”
The museum will consist of several sections: A public collection that tells the story of the Eurosceptic Movement and its people across the decades (and countries); An accessible collection that preserves the hidden or personal story and an accessible collection that preserves the printed literature and an outreach resource providing ongoing support in post-Brexit issues, especially to Eurosceptics abroad.
There are a lot of possible models for achieving these which have yet to be decided upon. Depending on how extensive the collection turns out to be, these options will all be explored. In any event, the goal is to create something that will be still be around to reflect back on the 100th anniversary of the UK joining the EEC – in 2073.
Will the EU still be around by then? Maybe, but if it is, it’ll be in a form that justified our leaving.
Organiser Gawain Towler has set his team an ambitious task. It will take a number of years for the museum to happen. They also believe that it is proper to allow some time for the country to heal politically as, they say, “a little bit of a time gap will help the nation put Brexit in a more balanced perspective”.
The task right now is to start to build the collection, the archive and the library. That is why they are launching an appeal and bringing together as many willing partners as possible to help achieve as diverse a record of these decades as possible.
The plan is to bring together memories, stories and items that can help preserve our nation’s history; a collection that will recall, for future generations, the story of the struggle for the United Kingdom’s independence.
You can help. The team is asking for a range of items that might be held by Brexiteers, although it is stressed that the list is not exhaustive. Do you have:
- 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;
- Books on the EU;
- Campaign literature.
In time it is hoped to set up a collection process for digital archive so if you have film and video records, hang on to them. 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).
If you want to donate, you need to fill in a donation record. You can find that 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 site lists a number of do’s and don’ts:
- Bag items to help preserve them: ideally, in a transparent thick heavy duty (‘industrial’) plastic bag.
Fill in a donation record, so the full story behind each item can be recorded for posterity – one for each plastic bag or item of high significance.
- Be patient! This is the work of volunteers with day jobs (including actually making 100% sure Brexit does happen as promised).
- Fill in the online contact details on the website. That way you can be kept informed about how the project is developing.
- Offer to volunteer if you have spare time. Regional collectors may well need a helping hand at some stage, such as in logging bag contents to limit the risk of multiple identical donations, or helping with collections.
- Send leaflets and books if they are pro-EU: the museum plans to record that viewpoint as a part of our country’s history too.
- Send lots of identical items. If you think there might be a good reason to do so, contact the museum first.
- Send a massive collection – such as the complete 40 years run of a review – without first checking with the museum.
- Expect anyone to rock up at your garage tomorrow with a van. Please liaise with the regional points of contact to work out an arrangement: it might mean working out a drop off point nearby where someone might be passing by with a car in a few weeks’ time.
- Expect the museum to be up and running any time soon. It will take years. But getting the wheels turning now allows it to capture the key artefacts, memories and stories before they are lost to time.
- Lend items. The museum is not set up to manage loans and at this stage can only accept outright donations of items. Only once the museum is up and running and the collection’s IT and logs are established can loans be considered – and that won’t be for a while yet.
Send any money – yet. At this stage the organisers are working on what the collection itself will look like, which will help narrow down the options on displaying it. However, there may soon be a donation mechanism on the website, depending on feedback.
The Museum of Brexit will have collection centres in all regions of the UK. As new centres are established the site will be updated with its details. To find out your nearest centre have a look at the map by clicking here.
Additionally, the following organisations are signed up nationally to the collection scheme;
The Freedom Association
If you are a member of any of these groups, you can contact it in advance of any public meeting that you see is being held locally, to liaise over a possible drop off.
They then chuck it in the boot of a car and take it back to their head office, for later drop off centrally. And make sure you have attached the record sheet to your donation found here.
As more collection points are set up they will be added to the map.
For further information contact the Museum of Brexit at Info@museumofbrexit.uk or on 07879 339509.