Last week I took first year students on BA Contemporary Art History to the People’s History Museum in central Manchester. The intention of this was to show the students an alternative site for the display of different kinds of image that was not an art gallery. Within the permanent display of there museum there are multiple examples of images that fit into different categories: political satire, political propaganda, trade union banners and emblems, reportage, and so on. Most striking for me amongst this imagery were the trade union banners that involved the use of female allegorical figures, such as liberty and justice. It was interesting to see how these longstanding symbolic figures had been appropriated by the trade union movement to encapsulate their aspirations for a better society and an improvement of their lot. Looking at these images was particularly appropriate for the first year students as we had recently addressed the subject of symbolism and allegory in one for the sessions in their current unit ‘The uses of Images’. The People’s History Museum is a great context for the consideration of visual symbolism and to see how the approach of iconography might be applied to imagery outside the usual limits of art history.