The National RL Museum: your questions answered

The National RL Museum: your questions answered

Our Heritage Manager Brigid Power took questions about the planned National Museum of Rugby League on Wednesday to mark National Sporting Heritage Day.

The museum will open at the George Hotel, Huddersfield,  in the next few years and will tell the wonderful story of the sport, from its creation at The George in 1895 through to the modern day.

Construction work on transforming the George Hotel began this week when contractors moved onto the site and RL Cares, Kirklees Council and the University of Huddersfield are working hard to deliver what will be a world class facility.

Here are some of the questions we received with responses from Brigid:

Question from Paul Parkinson – “Will the museum just be in the basement at the George like it used to be?”

BP – “No it won’t Paul. Space hasn’t been finalised yet but we’ll be taking up at least two floors of the building, so plenty of space for our exhibitions and collections. Thanks!”

Question from @Mickeyb1974 on Twitter – “Was the museum inspired by the Football museum in Manchester?”

BP – “We are very conscious that we are the only major sport in the UK without its own museum – so we were definitely a bit jealous of them! We worked with the National Football Museum in the early stages of the project and their experiences and how they do things have informed our thinking about what we’d like to do.

For example, they have a fantastic volunteer programme, which includes all members of the community, something I’d really like to emulate.”

Question from Pete Stevens – “It’s a great shame that the Rugby League Hall of Fame has been homeless since the pub at Rothwell where it was originally hosted closed many years ago. Will the museum have a dedicated place to celebrate the Hall of Fame?”

BP – “Thanks Pete, this is definitely in our thinking. It would be great to have a permanent home for it, somewhere people could visit and learn about the greats of the game.

We have a lot of work to do around space and galleries but enough people have said they want it so watch this space!”

Question from Mrs T Spencer: “I live in Cumbria and will struggle to get to Huddersfield: do you have any plans to take the museum collections on the road?”

BP – “Yes! We understand that the museum needs to reach everyone who can’t get to it and we very much have ideas to take collections and activities to people who would like to see them. Any ideas of how we do this are very welcome.”

Question from @Mickeyb1974 on Twitter – “Hi, as a passionate RL supporter from Australia would this museum appeal to an overseas audience and would be an international collection.  Not only Aus or NZ but countries such as PNG and also maybe about the History of French RL during WW2 would be good to see.”

BP – “Definitely. Telling that story of how RL spread from the north of England to far flung places such as PNG will be central to the museum.

And as you say, the Vichy France story is incredible. It shows how much adversity the sport has faced, yet managed to overcome

We very much anticipate that this will appeal to international audiences. We understand how big RL is in Australia and NZ, and that in some ways, visiting the very place where the sport started will be a pilgrimage for many people. And our collection needs to reflect that.

We have a lot of tour material and will be consulting with potential oversees audiences about what they would like to see. So any suggestions are very welcome! We’ll look forward to seeing you in a few years!

Also, we’ll have a strong online presence so that people can connect virtually with our collections and activity. You’ll be definitely included in everything we do!”

Question from John Whitworth – “I’d love to help tell the story of our great sport: will there be opportunities to volunteer at the museum?”

BP – “Hi John, yes there will! We envisage volunteers being a key part of all our plans, from back of house collections work to front of house welcoming and working with visitors.

We want to provide as many inclusive opportunities as we can.

We’re at the start of our journey and we’ll be putting in proper plans when we have our volunteer policy and we would be delighted to hear from you when that time comes.

We think working with as many members of our community as possible will help the museum thrive. And we’d love to hear any ideas about how you’d like to volunteer. Thanks!”

Question from Amy Collins – What plans do you have to tell the story of women’s Rugby League?”

BP – “We know that there are gaps in our collection about women’s role in the sport, both on and off the pitch.

As we work to develop content in the next couple of years, we will be actively collecting stories and collections that tell that story.

We are keen to hear about anyone who wants to share their story and hopefully build on the great work done by Julia Lee at – there are some amazing stories here.”