UCLan history students share untold stories of Preston during World War One
Hidden stories of how the First World War affected the people of Preston are being brought to life through a pop-up museum at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).
The Great War Pop-Up Museum is the brainchild of three third year history students; Connor Gillespie, Miriam Kohler and Sarah Pearson and shares untold stories of soldiers, suffragettes, conscious objectors and other Prestonians during the First World War.
The trio have created the museum for a final year exhibition design module and have worked with Lancashire Museum Service on the project. It features never-before seen personal artefacts that the students have sourced, including so-called trench art and medals that Connor’s dad found in the 1960s, alongside other items donated by the Museum Service.
We wanted to share how the War affected local people here in Preston and some of the courageous and amazing things people did. Hopefully some of the artefacts on display will really help bring their stories to life.
Sarah commented: “We wanted to share how the War affected local people here in Preston and some of the courageous and amazing things people did. Hopefully some of the artefacts on display will really help bring their stories to life.”
The exhibition looks in detail at suffragette Selena Cooper, solider Henry Barrow-Etherington and Joseph Garstang, a socialist and conscious objector who was sent to prison during the War and went on hunger strike.
“There were so many interesting stories to tell it was hard to choose which ones to share” Connor said. “We’ve all found researching for this project really fascinating.”
The students are keen that their exhibition is interactive and are inviting visitors to contribute by using plasticine to make their own pieces of memorabilia that will go on display towards the end of the exhibition.
The Great War Pop-Up Museum is open in the SU
We’re also filming people sharing the stories they’ve been told about family members during the First World War to make it as personal to Preston as possible.
Mirium added: “We really want the museum to be interactive and engaging so that people who visit can contribute to it. We’re also filming people sharing the stories they’ve been told about family members during the First World War to make it as personal to Preston as possible.”
The Great War Pop-Up Museum is open in the downstairs area of UCLan’s Students’ Union until Friday 25 November before it moves to Livesey House until Friday 2 December. The exhibition is open to all.
The project was run by UCLan’s Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching by senior enterprise and employability lecturer Gaynor Wood on behalf of the history department. The aim of the module is to build on the knowledge and skills the students have learned and apply them in a practical and hands-on way.
You can find out more about the project on Twitter: @1916Preston