Do you have any materials you could donate to the Museum of Brexit?

Do you have any materials you could donate to the Museum of Brexit?

The word “museum” is one of the delights of etymology. It comes from the Greek word Μουσεῖον, meaning the home of the Muses.

In number they were nine. Over the past year, two have been loitering with intent around the Museum of Brexit project – Melpomene, the Muse of Tragedy, and Thalia whose specialism was Comedy. Calliope, associated with epic verse, is occasionally seen at a nearby bus stand looking at her watch.

Where is our promised institution, recording an epochal shift in our nation’s fortunes? The unvarnished truth is that the Museum of Brexit project is collateral damage to what has happened politically. Just as Brexit has been delayed, so too has our timetable been disrupted.

A big part of that is simply down to the number of hours in a day. Everybody involved has been kept busy by the fact that we are also Brexit campaigners, and have been forced to remain so. Our first priority quite rightly has been to make sure that there is something to have a museum about. In the meantime, the roller coaster ride of the past three years just means that there is an extra room of stories that will need telling.

And what a story it is. Let’s be honest, the saga of what happened after 2016 collectively looks like a proverbial dog’s breakfast. It’s almost as if rogue MPs and a medley of anarcho-legal activists have been implementing every scenario we came up with for our Brexit the Board Game and then went out to design additional blister packs packed with outlandish hashish-inspired scenarios. There have been more twists and turns distracting us than a trucker faces on the Death Road in Bolivia.

Even so, and stepping back, the referendum result remains arguably the biggest geo-political shock to the continent’s political order since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Once delivered, Brexit destroys the monopoly that the doyens of the EU project have long asserted as the inevitable, sole destiny for the countries of Europe. It reclaims the principle of international cooperation, based on accountable national systems and familiar democratic structures, that lie closer to the citizen and are therefore inherently more stable over the long term. 

Brexit was never the story of a moment in time, and certainly not of what happened on a single day one wet June. It was the culmination of a referendum battle that was itself but a stage in an enduring fight by generations of campaigners, on both sides, many of whom never saw the final ballot. As the longer handle for our project explains, it is about setting up a Museum of Sovereignty, wrapped into issues of national identity, and the complex relationship over millennia between these islands and the great continental powers. Whatever happens next to the Boris deal, that story is a never-ending one. It is also a process that eurosceptic campaigners within the EU27 and the EEA states themselves will remain wrestling with, observing our fortunes as trailblazers.

Let me reassure you of one thing though. The museum project, despite Brexit’s own stuttering lot, is alive – and in this phase we will need your help over the coming months in two priority areas.

Firstly, if you are having any clear-outs, or sifting through photo albums or tea chests and you spot something that might be of interest, from output of all political denominations, do still hang onto it. We still need it and want it. Our critical concern is to ensure that when we can finally get into the business of centralising the collection, there will still be rare items out there that haven’t gone to the tip during Brexit’s ‘injury time’.

Secondly, and of critical importance, we are after more volunteers to help out as interim county drop-off points. We need a good geographical spread of volunteers who can be contacted by donors who live nearby, so that leaflets, books and unique mementos can be dropped off and stored transitionally in a shed or attic. The task won’t be onerous, but might get you reintroduced to some old fellow campaigners you haven’t seen for a while! 

You can find out more about our wider plan here along with our contact details. The task continues, in this as in delivering Brexit itself. Can you help locally?