At this time of remembrance, the Museum of Brexit is calling for your souvenirs
Do you have any items which help tell the story of Brexit?
Montage © Facts4EU.Org
A guest article for Facts4EU.Org by the Museum of Brexit’s Chairman, Dr Lee Rotherham
As the country remembers the life of Queen Elizabeth II and her extraordinary service and dedication over seven decades, it is perhaps an appropriate time to reflect on one of the defining moments in British history which occurred during her reign.
That moment was the EU Referendum and the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from almost five decades of servitude to the European Economic Community, which later became the European Union. For many, this is a “moment” which has dragged on endlessly – and unnecessarily for the most part. Nonetheless, now is the time to ensure we record the events for posterity.
Below we are publishing a guest article by the Chairman of The Museum of Brexit – a project which we believe will be of interest to all readers.
The Museum of Brexit needs your memorabilia
By Dr Lee Rotherham, Chairman, The Museum of Brexit
Brexit was a critically important event. It shifted the political tectonics of our continent. Regardless of whether you were in favour, or against, or a floating voter grappling with the huge complexities, the referendum was important and the consequences are considerable. So it needs to be recorded for posterity.
Not just the referendum though, but what wraps around it too. What frames the issue is the wider story of this country’s relationship with the continent - across society, trade, conquest, democracy, and belief.
Britain and Britishness
What defines our national identity, or Europeanness? How does our history and that of our neighbours intertwine? The context first needs to be set. So in our museum blueprint we start by telling the story of Britain and Britishness over many centuries.
Next we move on to the ‘building of Europe’ – the battle of ideas after 1950 that led to the EU on the one hand, and Euroscepticism on the other. That second part of our story takes us down to 2015.
Only then do we finally turn to the referendum campaign itself. So in this way, when we find people arguing their case based on say Magna Carta or taking back control or European conflict, the visitor already understands the background, and also has a basic idea how the systems work.
Right now we need to push on with our collection of exhibits
However, there’s a key aspect to this. We need to push on with our item collection. After a lot of work, we’ve been able to set up over 50 county drop off points (DOPs) across the country. Having sites nearer to people with items to donate makes it more likely people will be able to hand things over. There’s a fairly decent spread and you can find them listed by town on our website to find the nearest to you.
However, those ‘DOPs’ won’t be there forever. Right now is the time to make use of them, before we start to collapse them into our two main storage sites in London and Dudley. After that point we’ll still take donations, but it will be less convenient for people to get them to us.
So what we’re asking is for people who have been involved in the ‘European debate’ over the years to check their garages, their lofts, and their dusty cupboards, and take the opportunity to pass on items of interest over the next few weeks, while it’s easier
The system’s straightforward. Find the location nearest to yourself on our website. Then drop them a line to work out a time that’s mutually convenient. Then hand a box or bag over with a cover note. We’ll centralise everything later.
Note that our ‘DOPs’ are run by volunteers so please be patient. Note too that we are after material from all sides of the argument, from across the range of groups, and from across the decades.
Not only a museum, but also a library and archive
We are setting up an archive and library as well as a museum, so we are not only seeking display pieces but also printed matter, correspondence, annotated photos, alternative media such as cassettes or videos or DVDs, or electronic records collated onto memory sticks. And all of course accompanied by a cover note explaining provenance and context.
Feel free while doing it to take a selfie which we can share via our Twitter account, to encourage more people to follow suit.
Meanwhile, in tandem, the work of the team goes on, in terms of concept development, conversations with potential donors, and site location. There are a daunting number of dominos that need to be lined up and - as we always said - this was a project that won’t happen overnight.
The big call for your memorabilia
The priority now is the chase for items. We already have some great material donated and more pledged. We have some fantastic and unique pieces that allow us to talk around heavy issues in an engaging way. But there are major gaps still, and we need to capture as much as we can in the remaining time available.
Cash in the attic? Well if it’s something to do with Sir Bill Cash, we’d love it. Or Jimmy Goldsmith, Nigel Farage, Ted Heath, Jacques Delors …? Bring it down.
Dr Lee Rotherham (@DrBrexit) is Chairman of the Museum of Brexit, a registered charity. You can sign up to their newsletter via their website.
As the most prolific researcher and publisher of facts relating to Brexit and the UK’s relationship with the EU for the past seven years, Facts4EU.Org will of course be providing material for the Museum of Brexit.
In addition we will tell the story of our valiant efforts to bring the fragmented pro-Brexit groups together. Whilst we failed to unite them, we were able to lead a campaign which was endorsed by 15 of these groups – something no-one else had been able to achieve.
Many readers were kind enough to tell us they found the resultant leaflets and ‘one-pagers’ invaluable, on market stalls and in door-to-door campaigning.
As we continue to reflect on the life of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, it is worth remembering that for the vast majority of her reign the UK was part of the EEC/EC/EU. The Museum of Brexit aims to capture that story for generations to come.
Meanwhile the Facts4EU.Org Brexit Index proudly continues to be the largest repository of Brexit information in the world.
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[ Sources: Dr Lee Rotherham ] Politicians and journalists can contact us for details, as ever.
Brexit Facts4EU.Org, Wed 14 Sept 2022
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