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A new exhibition shining a light on the history of women’s football is opening in Manchester, The Manc

A new exhibition shining a light on the history of women’s football is opening in Manchester

Manchester City Council is teaming up with the National Football Museum to uncover more of the hidden history of the game first played professionally 141 years ago.

A brand-new exhibition that’s shining a light on and charting the history of women’s football is coming to Manchester city centre.

To help kick off a summer-long celebration of the beautiful game as Manchester prepares to play its part as one of nine host cities for UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 tournament matches, Manchester City Council is teaming up with the National Football Museum to uncover more of the hidden history of women’s football in what will take a closer look at the game – which was first played professionally 141 years ago – and its players, and communities.

As well as recording more of the stories of the pioneering women and girls involved, and tracing the roots of the women’s game from its early nineteenth century beginnings, through to the 21st century, a unique “contemporary collecting” project is also planned.

The ‘Football Heritage Collection’ project will see volunteers go out into local communities to speak with people and collect their memories and stories about the game and the women involved, along with any artefacts relating to the game or the women who played it. 

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The project will work directly with community and grassroots partners, and will be accompanied by interactive sessions and resource packs about the history and importance of the women’s game, as well as family activities in the fan-zones.

A selection of the objects, oral histories, and stories that are collected will be showcased on the National Football Museum website.

A new exhibition shining a light on the history of women’s football is opening in Manchester, The Manc
Manchester City Council is teaming up with the National Football Museum to uncover more of the hidden history of women’s football / Credit: Flickr (David Lisburn)

Manchester City Council and the National Football Museum hope this project will help reveal even more insights into the long tradition of women’s football in Manchester – which dates from humble origins, through to the great Manchester Corinthians’ ground-breaking international tours in the 1950s, and right up to the present-day era, led by Manchester City Women and a growing number of female clubs, teams, and coaches. 

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The National Football Museum says it has been improving its representation of women’s football across its collections and exhibitions over the past few years, and this brand-new large-scale exhibition will add to that.

Aiming to celebrate and document the history of the women’s game, the exhibition will go on display at the museum from June – December, as the city prepares to welcome the UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 tournament. 

It will be supported by an exciting range of activities and events to celebrate and capture the tournament.

A new exhibition shining a light on the history of women’s football is opening in Manchester, The Manc
The exhibition will take a closer look at the game, its players, and the communities / Credit: National Football Museum

Speaking ahead of the exhibition’s opening next month, Belinda Scarlett – Women’s Football Curator at the National Football Museum – said: “From the Manchester Corinthians’ ground-breaking international tours in the 1950s, to being home to two WSL teams and grassroots teams like Manchester Laces, Manchester has played an important role in the history and development of the women’s game.

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“The National Football Museum has been improving its representation of women’s football across its collections and exhibitions over the past few years, culminating in our exhibition to celebrate the UEFA Women’s Euros 2022.”

“We’re thrilled to be working with our UEFA Women’s EURO Host City partners and The National Lottery Heritage Fund on this unique programme,” said Baroness Sue Campbell – UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 Board Member and Director of Women’s Football.

“Together we will bring to the fore incredible stories of the pioneers of women’s football who have helped shape the women’s game we have today. 

“The programme will also capture and tell, for generations to come, the profiles and stories of current and future England players, ensuring fans are better informed than ever before [and] with the UEFA Women’s EURO coming to England this summer, this really is the time to celebrate our past and look forward to a very exciting future.”

Featured Image – National Football Museum

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