In a compelling series of events designed to both inspire and educate, the People’s History Museum (PHM) is providing visitors with a rare and enlightening experience this September. The museum is set to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1973 Chilean military coup on 9 September. This will be followed by a celebration of Heritage Open Days on 16 September, during which the museum will open its Conservation Studio to the public for the first time.
The Chilean military coup remains a dark chapter in global history. Under the leadership of General Augusto Pinochet, the Chilean military orchestrated the overthrow of the democratically elected government of President Salvador Allende. What followed was a brutal regime characterised by political suppression, torture, and murder that lasted until 1990. The People’s History Museum holds what is believed to be the UK’s largest collection of archive material from the Chile Solidarity Campaign (CSC), an influential advocacy group that sought to raise international awareness of the regime’s human rights abuses and to spur global leaders to action.
The archive open day on 9 September promises to be a significant event, offering a deep dive into the materials gathered during the time of the Chile Solidarity Campaign. Included in these archives are letters from Hortensia Bussi, the wife of President Allende, as well as meeting minutes, photographs, posters, and newsletters that bring the era back to life. The event will run from 11 am – 3pm, with tickets priced at £10 (concessions available for £6 and some free spots).
But the museum’s commitment to education and preservation doesn’t stop with the commemoration of the Chilean coup. On September 16, PHM will participate in Heritage Open Days by opening the doors to its Conservation Studio. Usually closed to the public, this world-renowned facility specialises in the intricate and time-consuming work of conserving historical materials. The studio will host workshops from 11 am – 12 pm and from 1pm – 2 pm, where participants can examine the critical role of wool in the historical narrative. These workshops, which are free of charge and suitable for ages five and up, will even allow participants to take home creations made from wet wool felting.
The People’s History Museum’s regular opening hours are 10 am – 5 pm every day except Tuesdays. The archive is open from Wednesday to Friday from 10 am – 4 pm. Entry to the museum is free, although a suggested donation of £10 is encouraged.