Pioneers Museum set for summer reopening
The Rochdale Pioneers Museum, birthplace of the modern-day co-operative movement, is to reopen this summer. The Museum is housed in the original building at 31 Toad Lane, Rochdale, where, on 21 December 1844, 28 Rochdale workers opened their co-operative grocery business for the first time. The store sold pure food at fair prices, using honest weights and measures, and was run democratically by its members. The Pioneers’ method was followed by hundreds of communities setting up their own co-operatives, and the building where they started still receives visitors from across the world today.
New Museum Manger Jennifer Broadbent is already in post, and will be joined by Museum Guides Clare Hirst and Jonathan Priestley. As visitors enter the Museum they will be welcomed by the Museum Guides and see a recreation of the original store of the Rochdale Pioneers in 1844, with the simple shop furniture made from barrels and planks and the basic foods they sold – butter, sugar, flour and oatmeal.
The rear room on the ground floor has displays which show the origins of the Rochdale Equitable Pioneers Society and the development of the co‑operative movement in the UK. The first floor has thematic displays illustrating the development of the movement historically and internationally. The large display cases on this floor include examples from the Museum’s co‑operative banner and artefact collection.
The newly reinstated mezzanine floor is a learning space, where co-operative, educational and community and groups are able to take part in co‑operative workshops, watch co-operative films, have handling sessions with collections or hold meetings and events. The space can seat 36 people for workshops and up to 70 in theatre style for presentations.
One of the two toilets in the building is wheelchair accessible and the access tower at the side of the Museum includes a modern staircase and lift, so that with the levelling of the front entrance, the entire building is fully accessible for the first time.
For the latest news on the Museum, and to browse memories, resources and a timeline of co-operative history, visit www.rochdalepioneersmuseum.coop.
The Museum is taking group bookings, and welcomes visits from schools. To find out more call 01706 524920 or email email@example.com.
Published On: June 20, 2012
Written By: Natalie