National Football Museum opens in Manchester

July 6th, 2012



The new museum is set to become a new national and international visitor destination, taking over the whole of the city’s landmark Urbis building. A world-class home for the greatest collection of football memorabilia ever assembled the National Football Museum is set to become one of the biggest visitor attractions in the UK.

Using football to tell the cultural story of modern Britain, the museum has been carefully put together to give visitors of all ages a unique experience – football fan or not!  Everything from the entrance to the museum, which is free to enter, to the terraces that house the collection, to the impressive FootballPlus interactive experiences has been designed to take you on a journey through the great game. 

National Football Museum Director Kevin Moore said: “We’re proud to be opening an international visitor attraction in the heart of this footballing city.  Our new museum will provide visitors with a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with the most impressive collection of football exhibits ever assembled.”

Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said: "The National Football Museum is going to be a must-see for anyone, of any age, with even a passing interest in the beautiful game and the culture around it. Indeed, having had a sneak preview I can say that even those with little interest in football will find much to enjoy in these amazing displays. It will be a magnificent addition to Manchester's range of tourist attractions and we can't wait for the first visitors to see what's on offer in this absorbing and involving museum."

The National Football Museum has been part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) – Sir Howard Bernstein, vice chair of the North West ERDF Local Management Committee said; “The opening of the National Football Museum in Manchester is an important occasion. An attraction of this calibre has the potential to have a huge positive impact on the local and regional economy – it will draw visitors to the city from far and wide”.

Enter the museum through a tunnel and turnstyle to the cheers of the crowd into the vast Hall of Fame atrium and immediately be struck by the awe of this remarkable building and its terraces. 

The Hall of Fame features an LED curtain with images that celebrate the achievements of individuals chosen for their contribution to English football.  From ‘pitch level’ visitors are whisked to Level 1 which is dedicated to the history of the game. 

Here, the journey begins with the first ever ‘laws’ penned by Ebenezer Cobb Morley in 1863 and the Museums first XI exhibits including a shirt from the world’s first international (England Vs. Scotland) in 1872.  This level then tells the remarkable story of the game told not through a chronological series of dusty cases but through themes that engage the visitor such as; ‘Fans’ and what it means to be a true football fan; ‘Players’, a look at player diversity from the first black players to their elevation as modern day cultural icons and ‘Stadiums’, their appeal and transition following times of tragedy including the Hillsborough Disaster. 

Visitors are continually stimulated with audio and visual interactives and given a chance to engage with exhibits.  This floor also houses a unique ‘Peppers Ghost’ ghost film, ‘Behind the Scenes at the Museum’, featuring Gary Lineker and Sir Geoff Hurst and a specially commissioned short film, ‘Our Beautiful Game’ shown in a giant 10x3m immersive cinema.

Level two continues the journey and concentrates on the skill of the game.  This level also features the lion’s share of the museum’s FootballPlus experiences.  Take a penalty shot at an original Wembley goal against a virtual keeper in Penalty Shootout, put your ball skills to the test with Pass Master or lift your choice of silverware in Lift the Trophy.

Level three is home to an ever-changing programme of temporary exhibitions.  At launch, visitors can see ‘Moving into Space:  Football and Art in West Africa and Homes of Football, a look at the amazing football photography of Stuart Roy Clarke.

The museum will also provide an education suite on level four and offer host of commercial opportunities, from event partnerships to exclusive branding spaces, on and offline. The museum will offer event spaces for a range of venue requirements, and play host to a distinctive retail, cafe and restaurant offer that will compete with Manchester’s best. 

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