Sports historian helps define exhibition of England's 1966 legacy

A De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) academic helped define a new exhibition dedicated to the most famous match in English football history –  The 1966 World Cup Final.

More than half a million people are expected to see the exhibition at Wembley Stadium during its run this summer, with similar numbers predicted at a tandem showcase at the National Football Museum.

INSET cup1

The exhibition – which includes the ball used in the final and the Jules Rimet trophy – also features objects donated by people who shared their stories about celebrating English football’s finest hour.

Professor Jean Williams and colleagues from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU)’s International Centre for Sports History and Culture (ICSHC) worked on the exhibition and supported the successful lottery funding application.

The ICSHC team were special guests when the exhibition opened in the National Football Museum, which co-incided with the unveiling of the first Football Walk of Fame.

DMU’s academics had worked on the walk of fame shortlist for the museum before it was opened up to an online public vote for favourites.

inset CUP2

Prof Williams who previously worked on A History of the World Cup in 24 Objects, said: “The World Cup has grown into one of the great sporting mega events. However the social and cultural history is now being analysed to a greater extent than ever before.

“Hosting tandem exhibitions at Wembley and the National Football Museum in Manchester will enable a wide international audience to see some really exciting items of memorabilia.”

With stories from the people who made the games, played the games and watched the games that made the 1966 World Cup such an iconic tournament, the exhibition celebrates England’s success and looks at the legacy of that win.

Themed around the music, decor and design seen and heard in a 1960s home, the exhibition will celebrate England’s finest football achievement, but also the relevance of 1966 as a bookmark in English cultural history. 

For the first time ever, new immersive technology will give visitors a “seat” at the 1966 World Cup Final action. Every visitor is given a “smart guide” with 360-degree video and augmented reality to allow them to re-live key sporting and music moments whilst exploring the iconic ground.

It all culminates in a huge event at The SSE Arena, Wembley, on the actual anniversary date – Saturday 30 July. The story of the England’s finest football day will be recounted minute-by-minute through current reflections and historic footage, with the entire event broadcast live on BBC Radio 2, red button and into cinemas nationwide.  

A huge part of the project is dedicated to collecting and sharing memories of the tournament through the Sporting Memories Network.
The exhibition, which is being run with The Football Association, was awarded £302,500 by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
"We are thrilled that the 1966 World Cup Exhibition is returning to Wembley in the month leading up to the day when Bobby Moore lifted the trophy back in 1966," said FA chief executive Martin Glenn.

Exhibition curator Andy Pearce added: "The 1966 World Cup Exhibition is designed to mark the 50th anniversary of the tournament by enabling visitors to learn about the wider heritage of the event, to examine its continued legacy as a key moment in England’s recent heritage and to explore its meaning and significance in terms of football history and wider society. “
Posted on Tuesday 19th July 2016

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