Pan-Commonwealth Schools Project

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  To mark the project’s official association with the Golden Jubilee celebrations, exhibitions in 2002 were entitled ‘The Children’s Tapestry of Hope in The Queen’s Golden Jubilee Year’, for which name Buckingham Palace expressed content. Her Majesty the Queen, HRH Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, and HRH the Prince of Wales viewed a small section of the tapestry and met some of the children involved after the Commonwealth Day Observance in Westminster Abbey on 11th March. The Queen has subsequently viewed larger exhibitions on two occasions.


 The Millennium Tapestry 

We have received nearly 500 letters from schools describing their experience in taking part in The Millennium Tapestry. This has been universally positive, and the schools have particularly stressed the value of the project for their children in working collaboratively, in researching their briefs and in learning new skills. The project has often been said to help bring the whole school together and to bring parents and the local community closer to the school.While looking through the web site you will see this logo in several places. When you do, then simply hover your mouse pointer over it to see some special ‘Fast Facts’.

Make sure you spend time looking at the Virtual Millennium Tapestry, where you can enjoy all the wonderful individual canvases and in many cases read how the schools made them and what the different images portray. The canvases are marvellous individually, but when you see them together in a big exhibition they are quite breathtaking.  

The travelling exhibitions have come to an end with St Paul's Cathedral and the special display for the Coronation Day Children’s Party at Buckingham Palace.

The Artistic Achievement

1,700 primary and special schools have taken part in the project, involving 370,000 children and an estimated 1.8 million people in total. 1,200 schools have completed their squares of tapestry.The vision of The Millennium Tapestry was to celebrate the times we live in from the vantage point of the millennium, but through the eyes of children, to illustrate an element of life as lived by the children in their schools, reflecting their hopes, aspirations, opportunities and the issues that affected them, local, national or global.

The individual canvases are very beautiful, sometimes quite serious in their content, but often also very witty. The whole tapestry reveals the children’s great sense of pride in their schools and communities, and their work can only inspire us to look forward with confidence to a future in their hands.


The project also formed part of the Manchester 2002 Spirit of Friendship Festival. The exhibitions in Manchester Cathedral in May and in the Liverpool Anglican and Roman Catholic Metropolitan Cathedrals in June were specially themed for this event. We mounted thirty-four major public exhibitions across the United Kingdom, in museums, art galleries, cathedrals and other buildings of national heritage.

In addition to these we took generally smaller display to a number of special events, in places like the Pump Room in Bath and the Natural History Museum, Westminster Abbey and the Commonwealth Institute in London. We held a week-long exhibition in the Houses of Parliament. Although this was not open to the general public, twenty-one school parties were able to visit it through invitations from their own MPs. Sections of the tapestry were involved in the ‘Global Issues’ open day in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, which attracted several thousand visitors.

On 2nd June 2003 we put up a large display of the Millennium Tapestry, together with the first completed canvases in the Golden Tapestry, for the Coronation Day Children’s Party for 500 underprivileged children at Buckingham Palace, which was attended by the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Earl and Countess of Wessex. 

A further important event was an exhibition in the Houses of Parliament from 22nd to 26th April, when 62 Members of Parliament, several peers and many other visitors took time to view the tapestry. 21 schools were able to arrange parties through their own MPs.All the exhibitions during 2002, which included those in Canterbury, St Albans, Exeter, Truro and St Paul’s Cathedrals and shows in Earth Centre and the Nature in Art Gallery were an official part of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee celebrations. Three exhibitions in the North West, in Manchester Cathedral, the two Liverpool Cathedrals and at the Manchester Commonwealth Games themselves additionally formed part of the Commonwealth Games Spirit of Friendship Festival, the last showcasing the entire tapestry for the first time.

The most important and enduring legacy in the United Kingdom is the broadening and deepening of the education of the children who took part, and the building and strengthening of the schools’ links with their local communities.

While looking through this section of the website you will see this logo in several places.  When you do then simply hover you mouse pointer over it to see some very special "fast Facts" about the Millennium Tapestry.The Millennium Tapestry has additionally served as a model for other projects, both within the United Kingdom and elsewhere in the world. Many local schools’  projects have made use of the networks built for the Millennium Tapestry. The Golden Tapestry involves schools across the whole Commonwealth. A similar project is now planned in the United States.



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