The National Football Museum is a museum in Preston, England, founded to preserve, conserve and interpret several important collections of Association Football memorabilia. It was built outside Deepdale as the stadium is, as of 2008, the oldest continuously used football league ground in the world.
Located at the Deepdale stadium in Preston, the museum opened in June 2001. It is an independent charity holding the following collections:
- The FIFA Museum Collection
- The Football Association Collection
- The Football League Collection.
- The Wembley Stadium Collection.
- The FIFA Book Collection
- The People’s Collection
- The Preston North End F.C. Collection
- The Harry Langton Collection
- The Sir Stanley Matthews Collection
- The Littlewoods Collection
- The Priory Collection
At any time, around 2,000 items from the museum’s collections are on display, with a further 30,000 items held. Key items include:
- Both of the two balls used in the first World Cup Final in 1930.
- The ball from the 1966 World Cup Final.
- The replica of the Jules Rimet Trophy, made in secret by the FA in 1966 after the original was stolen, and paraded by the England players at the World Cup Final in 1966.
- The England captain’s jersey and cap from the world’s first official international football match, England v Scotland, in 1872.
- The world’s oldest women’s football kit, from the 1890s.
The National Football Museum, in partnership with the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), has launched the International Football Institute (IFI). The IFI's purpose is to "undertake research on all aspects of football and make this research available to the widest possible audience".
Many exhibits are loaned to museums in the UK and artefacts have been loaned to exhibitions in Germany, Portugal, Switzerland and Belgium. The museum has worked in partnership with UEFA to create the UEFA Jubilee Exhibition, which opened in the European Parliament in Brussels, before moving to the National Football Museum. The museum also worked with UEFA to create the world’s first exhibition dedicated to women’s football, to coincide with the UEFA Euro 2005 Women’s Championship. To mark the FIFA 2006 World Cup the museum worked with partners to develop exhibitions in Hong Kong and Germany. A special exhibition "Saved for the Nation: The Story of the FA Cup" which features the oldest surviving FA Cup trophy, used during FA Cup Finals between 1896 and 1910, was launched in May 2006. It has toured at the Discovery Museum in Newcastle and from June 2007 will be at the Milestones Museum in Hampshire.
The museum has a temporary exhibitions programme with the next special exhibition entitled "One for All: All for One" which runs from 3rd March 2007 – 3rd June 2007. This photographic exhibition highlights the work of Philip Colvin. Phil documented the experiences of disabled Crystal Palace FC supporter Samuel Burch as he travelled across the country in support of his team. The photographs show the challenges and obstacles that Samuel faces as he travels to football matches and how he overcomes them. The images also show the support he receives from fellow football fans. Phil’s photography project shows just what can be achieved by those with mobility difficulties and he hopes that it will encourage others with disabilities to discover the enjoyment of following their local football team.
The exhibition is part of the Museum’s ‘Developing Football for All’ programme. ‘Developing Football for All’ aims to celebrate the contribution of disabled people to the game of football through a programme of exhibitions and workshops and will take place at the museum between March and June 2007.
The museum is a premier visitor attraction in Preston, and with free entry it attracts football fans from across the world. Between July 2004 and June 2005 the museum attracted 107,000 visitors and had just over 19,000 children in the museum's education and outreach programmes. The museum received the award of Large Visitor Attraction of the Year, at the 2005/06 Lancashire and Blackpool Tourism Awards.
The museum has made the following publications:
- Eyewitness Football, published by Dorling Kindersley: Sold over 50,000 copies worldwide and has been revised and updated for a paperback edition
- Football's Greatest Heroes: The National Football Museum Hall of Fame, published by Robson Books: Book based on the Hall of Fame.
The museum also produces a weekly column in the Lancashire Evening Post newspaper every Tuesday.
- Sepp Blatter, the President of FIFA commented: “The National Football Museum merits my admiration as a footballer and as the President of FIFA — it is a superb realisation, a real jewel!”
- “I can’t think of a better museum anywhere in the world. Apart from the Tate. ” Sir Bobby Charlton, President of The National Football Museum
- English Football Hall of Fame which is housed at the museum
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