North-East school children and families will have the chance to explore the heritage of Newcastle United Football Club following grants from the Premier League PFA Community Fund and Heritage Lottery Fund.
Newcastle United Foundation has been awarded grants of £120,000 from the Premier League pot and almost £50,000 from the Heritage Lottery to support an extensive education and community outreach programme starting this summer and culminating in a major exhibition at Discovery Museum in 2014.
Delivered by the Foundation in partnership with Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, Toon Times will include free educational resource packs and workshops about the history of Newcastle United for every primary school in the area, family learning courses and guided tours of the stadium, volunteering opportunities and an artefacts and archives show and tell road show so community groups can get involved in exploring local sporting heritage.
The Foundation will also call for fans to get involved in the project by retracing their own family trees, searching out Newcastle United artefacts and memorabilia at home and sending in their special memories of their very first match.
Kate Bradley, Head of Foundation, said: "The news about the grants from the PL PFA Community Fund and Heritage Lottery Fund is very exciting. The grants will make the heritage of our great football club accessible to a wide range of fans, locally and across the world, and encourage young people and families to actively learn about the history of Newcastle United."
The exhibition will be on display at Discovery Museum from October 2014 and continue until June 2015. It will chart the fortunes of Newcastle United from its inception in 1881 to present day and show-case artefacts connected to the club from souvenir programmes, the signature black and white club strip to the silverware collected over the years by a club which has been in (or near) the top-flight for 80 seasons. Many of the exhibits in the display will be on show to the public for the first time.
Hazel Edwards, Manager of Discovery Museum, said: "The Toon Times exhibition will be highly interactive so that it is appeals to Discovery's core family audience and will provide unique access to the personal stories behind the club's history.
"Whether they are from the superstars such as Alan Shearer or Jackie Milburn, the teams of groundsmen who look after the pitch, the team managers or from Newcastle United's fans who come from all over the North-East and beyond, I am delighted that Discovery Museum is involved in such an exciting project and look forward to creating an exhibition which will excite and enthuse our audiences, whether they are Newcastle United fans or just looking for an interesting day out."
By partnering with Discovery Museum, the Foundation hopes to tap into new audiences and to attract visitor numbers of 360,000 people over the course of the project.
Ivor Crowther, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund North-East, said: "Newcastle has a rich sporting history and Newcastle United FC has played a major role in this and people's lives.
"The HLF is delighted to be able to offer the local community and fans from far and wide the chance to explore the history of the club and learn new skills through this project. The Foundation have teamed up with the Discovery Museum to deliver this project in an exciting and imaginative way, we can't wait to see the results."
Toon Times will kick off in September 2012.