Campaign! at the Thackray Museum

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The history of contraception is a fascinating yet largely hidden story.  Emma worked with the Thackray Museum to bring its collection of objects, books and ephemera out of the closet and reveal the impact that medical and social developments relating to contraception had on people's lives.  


Funded by the British Library through its Campaign! Make an Impact programme, Emma and Thackray education staff worked with 50 Year 9 students at Primrose High School to uncover the battle led by early 20th century pioneers to make contraception socially acceptable.  People such as Marie Stopes challenged the stigma surrounding contraception, successfully arguing that people should have access to knowledge that would enable them to limit the number of children they had. This knowledge changed people's lives. The students then found out about the impact the contraceptive pill had in the 1960s and discovered the impact that the new and frightening illness of HIV had on contraceptive use two decades later, giving the humble and much-maligned condom a new lease of life.  


After studying the many different ways in which contraception has been the subject of campaigns, students then chose their own topics to campaign about.  They worked in groups with artists, animators and drama specialists to produce campaigns about racist bullying, crime in the local community, antisocial behaviour and children's rights.   


Find out about the exciting (and occasionally gruesome) Thackray Museum at

There is further information on the Campaign! Make an Impact programme at


Museums have the power to inspire and engage people in learning at every stage of their lives. We can help you discover creative ways of using your collections and knowledge to create exciting new opportunities for everyone to get involved in learning.