4 August 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the British Red Cross. Since 1870, we have been providing support to those who need it most, no matter who or where they are. Through 150 voices of people from around the UK and 150 objects from our museum and archives collection, this online exhibition celebrates key moments and people in our incredible history of connecting human kindness with human crisis. During the First and Second World Wars, we gave relief to sick and wounded members of the armed forces, prisoners of war and civilians. Our peacetime work began following the outbreak of the 1918 influenza pandemic, and we have since provided a range of health and social care services and supported the NHS since its creation in 1948. Our staff and volunteers have sprung into action when natural disasters have hit, both in the UK and overseas. Today, the British Red Cross not only ensures that people get the help they need in a crisis but also works towards building resilient communities. We continue to assist refugees and asylum seekers, people facing loneliness or healthcare inequalities, and those affected by emergencies. In 2020, we are supporting the most vulnerable people affected by the coronavirus pandemic in the UK and around the world. With the help of our dedicated volunteers, staff and supporters, we are determined to continue spreading the power of kindness. Lead Curator: Mehzebin Adam Volunteers from London, Manchester, Edinburgh, Cardiff, and Birmingham Cataloguing: Charlie Burns Audio production: Digital Drama Object photography: Karolina Heller
Launched in 2018 to mark the centenary of women’s suffrage, EmpowHER was a youth-led three-and-a-half-year programme founded to inspire and empower young women and girls between the ages of 10 and 20 to lead change in their local communities. It was also formed to address the worryingly low levels of well-being among young women and girls, challenge limiting perceptions, and engage those who had never previously had opportunities to participate in meaningful social action. Projects included working with food banks and homeless charities, raising awareness of mental health issues and creating campaigns. Inspired by the Changi quilt made by women internees held in Changi prison during the Second World War, a group of EmpowHER participants and Youth Workers designed and created patches representing what they felt it meant to be a woman or girl in 2021. Individual patches were sewn together to create a large quilt with 66 patches. The quilt is covered in inspiring messages of hope, strength, and encouragement, and the stories behind the patches are uplifting and empowering. Credits: EmpowHER quilt creation by seamstress Alice Farrell with participants and Youth Workers of the EmpowHER programme. Stories collected by Georgia Allen (EmpowHER Intern). Online exhibition curation by Mehzebin Adam-Suter (Museum and Archives Curator). Thank you to all the amazing young women and girls, Role Models and incredible Youth Workers that made EmpowHER possible. All images © British Red Cross Museum and Archives. EmpowHER was funded by Spirit of 2012 and #iwillFund and was delivered in partnership by UK Youth, British Red Cross and the Young Women’s Trust.
Since the 18th century, vaccination has become a vital tool in the fight against infectious diseases. While there is a long history of opposition to vaccination, mass immunisation programmes have helped eradicate smallpox globally and significantly reduced the rates of many other diseases such as polio, measles, and tetanus. This online exhibition features objects related to the history of vaccination from its initial discovery and its impact on public health and disease prevention, while also highlighting the history of misinformation around vaccines. It shows the Red Cross's life-saving work in supporting mass vaccination campaigns during outbreaks, from smallpox to Covid-19, in the UK and around the world. Exhibition curator: Mehzebin Adam
Throughout the history of the British Red Cross, Black people have made huge contributions to our life-saving work both in the UK and overseas. Despite this, often Black history is underrepresented in the history of the British Red Cross and British history in general. With the launch of this exhibition, we want to show our long-term commitment to researching and celebrating our black volunteers, staff and notable humanitarians who have shaped the world we live in today. Can you help us identify some of the individuals in the images? Do you know of any Black people who worked with the British Red Cross? Email: email@example.com Curated by Mehzebin Adam and Olivia Cummins.