Dedicated museum celebrates women

By Natalie Vincent - Thu 1 February 2018, 10:12 am

A permanent museum showcasing women's history will open opposite Barking Abbey at the end of 2019, as part of the Barking Wharf regeneration.

The march forward to 2019; image courtesy of East End Women's Museum, 2018

First established in 2015 to challenge the opening of the controversial Jack the Ripper Museum on Cable Street, the East End Women's Museum has operated as a 'floating' exhibition, organising events, workshops and pop-up exhibitions with the help of local partners.

The new museum will highlight the stories of pioneering women with connections to Barking and Dagenham, which include Mary Wollstonecraft, Sylvia Pankhurst, Mala Sen, Mary Driscoll, and Hannah Billig.

In addition, it will explore everyday local history from women's perspective, aiming to challenge gender stereotypes and offer new local role models.

The 2019 opening was announced at a launch event held at Barking's Broadway Theatre on 24 January, attended by Helen Pankhurst, the great-granddaughter of suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst; Sade Bright, Barking and Dagenham Council's cabinet member for equalities and cohesion; council leader Darren Rodwell and developer BeLiving's managing director, Vinny Bhanderi.

Sara Huws, co-founder of the East End Women’s Museum, outlined its importance: "Women make history too - but without their voices and experiences, the history books are only telling half the story.

"We believe Barking and Dagenham is the right base for the museum and we’re excited to start working in the borough this year. 

"Everyone we've spoken to has had a story to share: about a woman from their family, their street, or their community, and we know there are many more still to be told."

The museum will hold a series of events throughout 2018 during the construction of its permanent home, including a mobile exhibition and a volunteering programme exploring the long-running campaign for equal rights and pay in the workplace.

To see the 2018 programme, click here

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