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Harold Wilson’s visit

26 March 2010 by Lisa

Black and white photo of interior of museum after being bombed

The museum after being bombed

This week we were looking back into the World Museum archives to celebrate our 150th year and we found a record of an especially important visitor from 25 March 1966…

Prime Minister Harold Wilson opened the first phase of rebuilding the museum after large parts were destroyed by a bomb in 1941. A headline from this day read ‘Museum Ceremony A Pleasant Respite, Says Wilson’, with the following article:

‘Mr Harold Wilson yesterday took an hour off his election campaign to open the £280,000 first phase of the rebuilding of Liverpool’s museum, blitzed in 1941.
Mr. Wilson was presented by Alderman William Sefton (leader of the city council) with a replica, made in the museum of a bronze plaque from the palace in the Nigerian city of Benin.’

The museum’s annual report also covered the event:

‘The great event of the year was the opening of the first phase of reconstruction on March 25th 196[6] by the Prime Minister.  This is a relatively small part of the whole museum as it will eventually be. The Aquarium, covering fresh and salt water, as well as tropical fish, was included as a highly popular display which always fascinates visitors. Local history in the form of displays on various facets of city life helps to put the changing character of Liverpool into perspective and an outline history of the development of the ship shows something of the knowledge and experience which led to the growth of our great shipping industry. An exhibition of choice specimens from the primitive, applied and decorative arts gives objects to be enjoyed for their intrinsic colour and beauty and a geological portrayal of life before man gives a proper sense of time, starting as it does some five million years ago.  In every gallery the aim has been to provide aesthetically attractive displays which are yet informative and interesting.

The second phase of building is already well under way structurally, and will include new features in the transport and astronomical galleries, and the planetarium; plans for the rest of the new building are being prepared.’

We’re still working on making our museum even better for our visitors, with several new developments happening recently, such as the refurbished Ancient Egypt gallery and the new Ancient Greece display. There’s always work to be done!

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