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Dr Benjamin’s first blog post!

21 September 2007 by Richard

Dr David Fleming, Reverend Jesse Jackson, Dr Richard Benjamin

I am the one on the far right with one of our many famous visitors, the Reverend Jesse Jackson Photograph © Simon Webb

Hello fellow bloggers. This is my first journey into the technical superhighway that is blogging. I will try and be as interesting as I can but bear with me ok. It might take me a while to get into the swing of things. I have been asked to keep you updated about some of the things I do as part of my job as Head of the International Slavery Museum, and also as a Leeds United supporting vegan Yorkshireman. A strange mix if there ever was one!

The first Phase of the International Slavery Museum opened on 23 August 2007 – Slavery Remembrance Day here in Liverpool. It was hectic to say the least in the weeks up to opening but it was all worth while. The libation and cultural activities events which took place at Slavery Remembrance Day at Otterspool were very successful and grow year by year. Many of the people who attended the event then came down to Albert Dock to visit the museum.

We had approximately 2,000 visitors per day for the first five days and up until today we have in the region of 20,000 visits. The feedback has been very positive and although you will not always please everyone a museum in my view should not try to anyway. We want to provoke reaction, debate and dialogue. We might not have got everything right straight away but the museum is a living and breathing one and as such we can adapt to both public opinion and indeed the changing research and information around the subject of slavery.

I want to tell you though about one of the many presentations that I am asked to give these days. It was part of the BOUND conference at Tate Liverpool on Saturday 15 September. Phase 2 of the International Slavery Museum, which will be housed in the Dock traffic Office, the old Granada TV building, will contain a research and education centre, along with public spaces and exhibition space. As a museum we want to cover many aspects of slavery, not just transatlantic slavery, although that is still at the very core of what we are about. As such I wanted to meet professionals who worked in areas of contemporary slavery, such as Anti-Slavery International and Stop the Traffik . Working alongside partners like this I hope to make the International Slavery Museum an active participant in the combating of current forms of slavery. As Dr David Fleming – Director of National Museums Liverpool (the man on the left of Jesse Jackson in the photo above) has said on many occasions – museums should not, and indeed cannot, be neutral.

I’ll sign off for now.  See you next week (hopefully I’ll be in a good mood if we beat Swansea City at the weekend!).
Richard

 

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