Brexit museum registers as a charity and begins £1m fundraising campaign

The Museum of Brexit, which was granted charitable status in January, is looking to raise funds for a building and the hiring of staff

(Photograph: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photograph: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP via Getty Images)

An organisation set up to build a museum dedicated to Britain leaving the European Union has been granted charitable status and launched a £1m fundraising drive. 

The Museum of Brexit was granted charitable status in January, according to the Charity Commission's online register

The museum is yet to be built, but is expected to be located in a predominantly Leave-supporting region outside London. 

Trustees are aiming to raise an initial £400,000 to find a property for the museum to reside in. 

There will then follow a fundraising drive for a further £250,000 to set up the museum, including costs such as recruiting staff. 

A third target will then be to raise £350,000 for “the long-term strategic reserve", says a recently published museum brochure.

The museum was granted charitable status only after promising it would tell a politically balanced story, according to The Guardian newspaper. 

A statement on the museum’s website says: “The making of Brexit is more than just about what happened in a few months in 2016. 

“It is about the deeper story of our country and its institutions, democratic traditions, and grassroots rebels – a saga going back 2,000 years.

“[The museum] explains not just about what happened in 2016 (it would be quite boring if that’s all it did), but the deeper historical context and how the UK came to be the way it is.”

The site describes the three main functions of the museum as:

  • A public-facing museum that displays items and tells the story to inform and educate people.
  • A library and archive collection to ensure academics have easy access to a comprehensive catalogue of material, to facilitate research but also assist with academic balance.
  • An outreach point for those seeking informed but apolitical support on matters relating to Brexit, especially within the EU itself.

The three trustees of the charity listed on the Charity Commission's website are Lee Rotherham, Alex Deane and James Reynolds, who all worked on the Leave Campaign in 2016.

Deane said it was important to get the museum under way as soon as possible. 

“There is a tremendous story behind this that deserves to be preserved, he said. “Unless we act fast, much of the material from the referendum will be lost.

“Gaps will then be filled with misperceptions, fake news, and myth. 

“Our objective is to plug that gap at the time when it is easiest – right now, while memories are fresh, attics are still filled with treasures, and before items and stories get lost”.

In earlier plans for the museum, it was called the Museum of Sovereignty, according to an old version of its official website that has since been taken down.

The museum lists the businessman John Mills, the Labour peer Baroness Hoey and the crossbench peer Lord Owen among its supporters, all of whom were prominent Brexiteers during the 2016 referendum.

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