National Football Museum to launch first major exhibitions on women’s game ahead of Euro 2022

2nd from left, Lily Parr team captain and Forward for the Preston Ladies Football Club explains tactics on a table top football pitch to her team for an upcoming match ball during a training session on 27th May 1939 (Photo by Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images).

On the eve of the UEFA Women’s Euro kicking off in Manchester, the National Football Museum will be opening its first two exhibitions entirely dedicated to women’s football, past and present.

July 5th sees the launches of “Crossing the Line” and a new photography collection by This Fan Girl, marked by a public celebration in collaboration with the Football Supporters Association.

The FSA will also be capturing fan portraits on the night for a new art project. My Country, My Shirt, is inspired by their ongoing My City, My Shirt initiative to celebrate the diversity of football fans and communities.

Free tickets to the launch party event at the National Football Museum can be grabbed via Eventbrite. Tickets also include lightning talks, exclusive tours, as well as live DJs and a bar.

The exhibitions will be open to the public from July 6th until December 31st, 2022.

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Changing the game

The displays are part of an ongoing enterprise to increase representation of women across the museum’s collections and public outreach.

In April, NFM Community Producers partnered with MIC Media to release an original podcast, Quite Unsuitable for Females. The five-part series “uses the museum’s extensive archive to shine a light on untold stories, tracing over a century of the game’s history up to the modern day.”

Crossing the Line, which will take up residence in the Score Gallery, is a two-part exhibition. Its objects and stories chronicle the history of women in football from its earliest records. This includes periods throughout the 50-year ban, and toward the present resurgence of the women’s game.

Participation of visitors is highly encouraged. The museum hopes to collect personal accounts from players and fans at the event and via social media to further document the continuing growth and appreciation of the women’s game.

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Upcoming events

Alongside the exhibitions, the National Football Museum is also organising a series of free talks and events. These will dive deeper into past and present issues concerning women’s football and ongoing efforts to make it more inclusive.

On July 1st, NFM x Trafford Presents: Manchester’s History of Women’s Football invites visitors to join a discussion of local women’s football with historian Dr Gary James and players from the Trafford area.

Next, on July 19th NFM X Fare: On the Rise – Ethnic Minority Women & Football provides an afternoon of workshops, discussions, and networking opportunities. These come in celebration of “the role and contribution of ethnic minority women in football in England and across Europe.”

With more events due to be programmed over the next six months, it’s an exciting time to be involved in the cultural and community efforts being made to uplift voices in women’s football.

As hosts of Euro 2022, England have a golden opportunity to exponentially increase interest in women’s football nationwide. The NFM is just one institution participating in the buzz.

This summer is sure to be an unprecedented time for the publicity and celebration of the women’s game in England.

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