Manchester People’s History Museum ‘demystifies’ British politics with Election! exhibit

Deciding which political party to put an X in the box for during this year’s May’s general election could prove to be a bit of a headache for prospective voters.

But the People’s History Museum in Manchester are aiming to make that choice a little easier by politically educating the general public through their new Election! exhibition, which opened on Saturday February 14.

The exhibition will grow and evolve around the 2015 campaign, and will also include collections featuring iconic objects from every general election from 1900-2010.

Museum curator Chris Burgess told MM: “We want the exhibition to engage people who might not already be engaged in the political system.

“There’s currently a lot of disillusionment with the British election system and a lot of disillusionment with democracy.

“Politics is all about the ability for everybody to get involved.”

Artist Alex Gardner was commissioned to create info-graphics in the hope of ‘demystifying’ aspects of the political and electoral system that Chris described as being ‘quite complicated’.

A series of events will also be taking place such as screenings of Question Time, the Leaders’ Debates and an election night party.

Material from a huge selection of parties will be included – not just from the big three, Labour, Conservatives and the Lib Dems.

“Everyone should be taken seriously,” Chris said.

“We’ve got information about the main political parties, but also the off-the-wall ones like the Monster Raving Looney party.

“If there’s any other parties that come up or produce interesting material, the middle section of the exhibition will be ever changing we can put stuff up as and when it comes out.”

Chris explained that it wasn’t a lengthy process to collect the material dating from historical election campaigns.

He added: “We’ve always collected election material and it was a great time to use it.

“We’ve got the second largest Conservative party material in the country and hold archives for the Labour party and Communist party of Great Britain.”

The curator explained that he was hoping to encourage people to vote on May 7 and that members of the public who hadn’t already registered to vote, could do so at the exhibition.

“We are pro-voting and pro-democracy,” he said.

“We’re encouraging people to see what’s in the exhibition and get an idea about each political party, but also go out, read newspapers, blogs, watch the news and see where your views and values fit.

“You don’t fix things by ignoring them, you’ve got to get involved by voting or writing to your MP.

“They’re there to represent you at Parliament. It’s important that you have your say.”

Image courtesy of Visit Manchester, with thanks.

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