One of the world’s leading museum professionals has been commissioned to lead a feasibility study into plans for a permanent home for Rugby League’s rich collection of heritage and archive material.
Dr Kevin Moore, the director of the National Football Museum, is leading a working group that will look into all aspects of a proposed National Rugby League Museum, including location and funding options.
The project has been commissioned by the sport’s charity, Rugby League Cares with the aim of delivering a world class National Rugby League Museum that preserves and celebrates the sport’s heritage at all levels.
Rugby League Cares General Manager Chris Rostron said: “Rugby League is the only major sport that does not have a dedicated national museum and this project will hopefully address that.
”We are delighted that Kevin has accepted our invitation to lead the feasibility study: his experience and expertise will be invaluable.
“One of the pillars of Rugby League Cares is our heritage because as a sport it’s something we are massively proud of.
“We have been working on this project since last summer, when thousands of people across the country helped rugby league celebrate its 120-year anniversary. The proposed National Rugby League Museum allows us to build on the interest in, and passion for our history that is shared by so many people.”
Rugby league has had support from the Heritage Lottery Fund on a number of initiatives in the last few years whilst Rugby League Cares has funded, or co-funded 15 projects linked to the sport’s history, including a touring heritage exhibition and the statue that was unveiled at Wembley Stadium on the day of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup final, in 2015.
Dr Kevin Moore said: “It is clear that there is a game-wide passion for Rugby League’s heritage and a national museum will bring to life the characters and events that have helped shaped this great sport over the last 120 years and before.
“We are looking at developing a high-quality museum that eclipses all other sports museums in the world, a facility that is immersive, interactive and educational and which contributes to the strategic objectives of the game.”
The working group is liaising with local authorities to find the best location for the National Rugby League Museum and has been charged with creating a revenue plan to meet the goal of opening in 2020.
The location will be announced later this year when work will start in earnest to source funding to help build the museum. Between now and 2018 the design and construction process will hopefully get underway as Rugby League Cares assembles and refines its collections for display, preservation and exhibition.
The National Rugby League Museum could also provide a home for the RL Hall of Fame, which currently features 25 of the game’s greatest legends.
The Rugby League Cares touring heritage exhibition of rugby league memorabilia is currently on display at the National Football Museum in central Manchester. Admission is free.
Rugby League Cares supports the development of rugby league, provides targeted health and wellbeing support to the sport’s community, protects the game’s rich heritage and, through the RFL Benevolent Fund, supports players enduring hardship.
Membership of Rugby League Cares costs just £20 per year or £2 per month – to help us make a difference to the lives of all the people involved in rugby league visit www.rugbyleaguecares.org/register