World Cup Countdown: Football and Museums

Written by Claire Messenger, ITP Manager

A week today – Thursday 14 June – will be the start of the 21st  FIFA World Cup.  The competition will ‘kick-off’ with Russia, the hosts, playing Saudi Arabia and over the following month, 32 teams will compete to take part in the final on Sunday 15 July.

I know many of you will be looking forward to seeing your countries represented – and for any of our 2018 ITP cohort who are football fans, we will make sure we include suggestions for where to watch matches in your Welcome Packs.

‘But what is this to do with the BM’s International Training Programme?’, I hear you cry!!

Well at the British Museum we’re delighted to have Egyptian footballer Mohamed Salah’s golden boots being displayed alongside a pair of 3,300-year-old ancient Egyptian sandals until the World Cup final on 15 July.

Mo Salah's boots

But we also thought it might be a good opportunity – or perhaps excuse – to introduce you all to the National Football Museum – England’s national museum of football, which is based in the Urbis building in Manchester city centre and preserves, conserves and displays important collections of football memorabilia.

The Museum, whose aim is to ‘look after football’s past, present and future’ is a publicly funded national museum established in 2001 and, like the British Museum, entrance is free.

national football museum

The Museum states that ‘the National Football Museum explains how and why football has become ‘the people’s game’, a key part of England’s heritage and way of life. It also aims to explain why England is the home of football, the birthplace of the world’s most popular sport.

The Museum is for everyone, regardless of age, gender, disability, sexuality, religion or any other factor.  It is not just for those who are interested in or passionate about the sport. The National Football Museum aims to be the first point of contact with football for non-fans and an introduction to wider aspects of culture and history for football fans.  It has a particular focus on those sections of the community that do not usually visit museums and galleries.

The Museum has a long-term mission – to protect football’s heritage and culture for future generations as well as current audiences’.

The National Football Museum has a collection of over 140,000 items and is a Designated Collection, recognised in 2013 by Arts Council England as a collection “of outstanding importance and value, that deepens our understanding of the world”.

The National Football Museum holds the world’s finest collection of football artefacts and archives and includes the following collections:

The FIFA – Langton Collection
The Harry Langton Collection
The UEFA Library Collection
The Football Association Collection
The Football League Collection
The Homes of Football Collection
The People’s Collection
The Football Clubs Collection
The Priory Collection
The Neville Evans Collection
Kicking & Screaming Archive
The Littlewoods Pools Collection
The Sir Stanley Matthews Collection

As well as its permanent displays, the Museum has a fascinating range of events and exhibitions as well as learning and ‘age friendly’ programmes.

Currently, online, you can enjoy The Game: 30 Years Through The Lens Of Stuart Roy Clarke whose photographs document football since 1989, capturing the ever-changing face of football over the past three decades and the 1966: World Cup Exhibition.

If any of our ITP alumni have visited the National Football Museum on their travels around the UK, please share your thoughts, memories and photographs with us.

Or if you’d like to know more, then go to their website at