Hunt for a home in Portsmouth continues as interest grows in first ever National Education Museum
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The city has been earmarked as the ideal location for the ‘significant’ heritage site and a team of trustees has raised £140,000 out of an initial funding stream of £250,000 to kickstart the project.
While trustees have been working hard to source more funding and find a suitable venue in Portsmouth to act as a base, they have been receiving welcome offers of support and donations to be housed in the collection. As part of an awareness drive the museum trust has also been offered space at this year’s Victorious Festival to spread the word further.
‘After the restrictions of Covid we are now getting lots of interest shown in our project which is so heartening,’ said Jean Roberts, director of operations and secretary to trustees.
‘We have had invites to meetings and offers of artefacts. And the prospect of a stall at the Victorious Festival is really exciting. Fundraising is still the key but meeting those interested is also very important, particularly in Portsmouth. And the hunt for a premises continues.’
The National Education Museum is seen as a celebration of the evolution of teaching and schools from their infancy to the modern day. The trustees chose Portsmouth as the ideal location as it is already steeped in historical attractions, has a top-ranking university and was the home of John Pounds, the teacher and altruist responsible for Victorian ‘ragged schools’ which provided free tuition in reading, writing and maths for poor children.
In recent months trustees have been preparing a Heritage Lottery bid for funding, held discussions with the History of Education Society UK and visited the Novium Museum in Chichester and Bedales independent school near Petersfield to discuss ideas of working together.
‘We are now receiving a lot of correspondence from people around the country wanting to donate artefacts and get involved in our project. It is fascinating seeing the variety of treasures we are being offered,’ added Jean.
The trustees had looked at the old records office in Museum Road as a possible home but the building would require a big investment to bring it into use.