By Kevin Moore
The new National Football Museum will open in Manchester next year and everyone who works for the Museum is of course very excited about this fantastic opportunity.
Preston had provided a home for the Museum since 2001 (our collections stores and research facilities will continue there), but thanks to funding from Manchester City Council
and the European Regional Development Fund
we will now be able to showcase our outstanding collections to a much wider audience, within a space that is more than twice as big as the Preston site.
We aim to be not just a national museum but also an international visitor destination and, by taking over the whole of the city’s landmark Urbis
building, we can ensure a world-class home for the greatest collection of football memorabilia in the world.
We are all enjoying getting to know vibrant Manchester and there is lots of enthusiasm around the city for the project which is now well underway. Plans have been drawn in consultation with focus groups.
One of the things we were keen to do right from the start was to give the building a clear identity and to ensure that visitors had a clear route round the displays and exhibitions.
Our collections team is being kept busy selecting objects to appear in the displays while new ones are coming in on a weekly basis. We look after more than 140,000 objects, works of art and photographs, with the FIFA
Collection being one of the highlights. Some unique objects that visitors will enjoy include an England jersey from the world's first international match played in 1872, the 1966 World Cup Final ball and the shirt worn by Maradona during the infamous 1986 ‘Hand of God’ World Cup quarter-final match between England and Argentina. We are also to become the new home for photographer Stuart Clarke’s renowned ‘Homes of Football
’ collection of images.
While the design and collections teams are being kept extremely busy with the practicalities of making the new museum a hit with visitors, we also saw this move to a new location as the ideal time to refresh our brand identity and our website (artistic types can currently have a go at ‘doodling’ on our holding site
We’ve recently entered into a partnership with a company who will run our café and restaurant and provide a full hospitality service for high-quality corporate events. We realise that part of a great museum visit includes great food and great facilities for everyone. We’ve seen real improvements in the museums sector in recent years, and now more than ever it’s important that we’re a professional organisation which can work with and provide great opportunities for sponsors and commercial partnerships. This seems particularly important given the current economic climate, but also given the amazing potential football has to attract people from across society and engage with both business and creative sectors.
We’re confident that the Museum will become one of Manchester’s - and indeed the country’s - ‘must see’ attractions, with four floors of objects, stories, ‘hands on’ interactives and changing exhibitions.
Our nationally recognised Hall of Fame event, where legends of the game are inducted at a prestigious awards ceremony, will now take place exclusively at the Museum. And, while football is one of the first words that people connect with Manchester, we will show that football can be the starting point for lots of other conversations about art, fashion, history and media.
There is lots of hard work still to do before we open the doors next year, but we’re very much looking forward to welcoming over 350,000 local, regional, national and international visitors when we open in 2012. Kevin Moore is Director of the National Football Museum