Plans for a Brexit museum have become significantly more concrete after the organisation behind it secured charitable status.
The Charity Commission confirmed the Brexit Museum had passed the major threshold yesterday, enabling the trustees to start raising funds.
The funding target amounts to £650,000, with the initial £400,000 financing the purchase of premises for the museum. The remaining £250,000 will pay for the collection.
The most iconic item on the list is the symbolically ‘pro-European’ jumper worn by Margaret Thatcher during the 1975 referendum campaign. The pen used to sign the 1957 Treaty of Rome – which Britain was not a signatory of – is another big collection target.
And while Remainers are known for exploiting Mrs Thatcher’s famous jumper, the museum’s focus will be on portraying events from a patriotic perspective by “telling the story of the Eurosceptic Movement and its people across the decades.” Big Brexit voting areas are preferred locations with Boston and Dudley rumoured to be among the front runners.
One of the Trustees, Alex Deane, a passionate campaigner during the referendum, said he is worried that over the longer term, contrary to the old saying, the history of Brexit will not be written by the victors.
“There is a tremendous story behind this that deserves to be preserved. 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,” said Deane.
“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.”
Former chancellor, Nigel Lawson agrees the moment needs to be seized, less than half a decade after Britain voted Leave and while the nation’s historic departure from the bloc remains fresh in people’s minds.
“The debate about the United Kingdom’s evolving relationship with its neighbours, and its place in the world, has been of critical national significance,” said Lord Lawson. “We need to capture those records and stories for posterity.”
Former foreign secretary Lord Owen added: “This is an important initiative recognised by the Charity Commission, and I encourage everyone to contribute.”
The Trustees are targeting “high net worth” individuals who supported Leave campaigns during the referendum. A crowdfunder will also be set up to give all Brexiteers an opportunity to support the exciting venture.