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What do you want to see on display at World Museum?

13 August 2013 by Lisa

Girl touching an animal skull

Visitors exploring the Clore Natural History Centre

Here’s Donna Young, Curator of Herbarium at World Museum to talk about why we need you to tell us what you think of the museum…

“I always like browsing through the visitor comments on the World Museum Facebook page – it’s great to hear that people have enjoyed the museum but it’s also good to have feedback about improvements too. After all, World Museum belongs to the visitors – so it’s only right that you all should have a say in what we have on display at the museum!  

Recent comments have included:

“Great Museum, been more than 6 times and going back again today with my 4 year old son to help him with his homework.” – Carla Hassan

“A good mixture of exhibitions and shows on different elements of culture, history and science suitable for all the family” – Nicola Barnes

That’s why I think it’s great that World Museum is taking part in a UK-wide project funded by the Arts Council England to find out what visitors want to see in the galleries and displays at the museum. This study will help us learn more about what visitors like or dislike about our displays.

There’s such a lot of variety at World Museum that I’m sure visitors will have a lot to comment on.

Space gallery at World Museum

Space gallery at World Museum

You can see everything from fish in the aquarium, to Ancient Egyptians, to the stars in the sky at the planetarium! Not to mention our hands-on interactive centres, covering both natural history and world cultures.

Researchers will be visiting the museum to interview visitors, as well as conducting a survey online.

I hope you’ll be able to take a few minutes to complete this short survey – by filling it in you’ll be in with a chance to win £50 of shopping vouchers of your choice. Those aged under 16 will require an adult’s permission to enter the prize draw for shopping vouchers.

This survey is being conducted on the museum’s behalf by independent researchers and all your responses will be completely anonymous. If you have any questions about the survey please email sarah@jenesysassociates.co.uk”

  1. Kevin Walsh says:

    I would love to see the space section renovated and updated. More science based displays would be great, i am trying to get my 3 year old into physics and science.

    • Lisa says:

      Thanks Kevin – it’s great to start getting children into science as soon as possible, we hope that the gallery will help as it is, but I’ll pass your comments on to our museum director. Hope you’ll be able to fill in the survey as we’d value your feedback: http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/1330183/World

      • Steve Judd (Director World Museum) says:

        Thank you very much Kevin for taking the time to reply to our blog. We are very keen for World Museum to become a centre for excellence for science education in the north of England and have some very ambitious plans for the venue in the future. We are very conscious that our Space and natural science galleries need re-vamping and we are also keen to develop new dinosaur related displays and a new life science gallery. So please be re-assured that we are fully in agreement with your comments.

        The small budget that we have this year is devoted to general maintenance projects and we face a big challenge in the future to find the funding to realise our ambitions for World Museum.

  2. Sarah Kelly says:

    I would like to see the Pre-Historic displays updated. The dioramas and how the dinosaurs and other such exhibits are displayed has not been updated, unlike the lower floors. The ‘fish with the eye’ has been a constant part of the museum display for well over 30 years and that to me represents the lack of update for this floor. The space gallery also requires an update. The diorama of the man behind the glass case is beginning to look rather worn and the exhibits are not updated for a 21st century audience.
    I do not believe in updating for updating’s sake, however, it feels like the top two floors have been somewhat neglected in comparison to the lower floors.
    I would like more temporary exhibitions. I remember in my childhood (1990′s) there was always an excellent temporary exhibition, for example Creatures of the Deep. These were large exhibitions and provided such a buzz within the local area, it seems a great shame that there are not as many temporary exhibitions and the ones that are there are much, much smaller.
    However, I really like the Egyptian/Greek/Roman exhibitions, but think much, much more could be done with the space, especially in the entrance area.
    Since the major developments, when I visit, I now feel I have missed something, then look at the map and realise I have not. I am just wondering if there are areas which are now no longer used which could be re-opened to the public for more exhibitions, both temporary and permanent.
    As one of the only National museums outside of London, I think there should be more human history artefacts, such as arms and armour, coins and other such pieces that represent the history of this country.

    • Lisa says:

      Thanks for taking the time to send us this detailed feedback Sarah, I’ll be sure to pass this on to our museum director. If you’ve got a spare couple of minutes it would be great if you could fill in the survey online so we can capture your thoughts there as well: http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/1330183/World

      • Steve Judd (Director World Museum) says:

        Thank you very much Sarah for such a considered response – much appreciated.

        World Museum received a very extensive injection of funding some ten years ago now which resulted in huge improvements to the building by 2005 – a new street level entrance, new internal circulation routes, toilets, etc, new World Cultures and Bug House galleries, a new aquarium, two new hand’s on centres, a new cafe and shops + new behind the scenes collection stores.

        So lots of really good changes have taken place and we have followed these up with additional improvements such as our new permanent Egypt display. But the bottom line is that there is still so much more to do, as you point out and please believe me we are very aware of this. We are currently working on plans to improve our Ancient World gallery and will be looking for ways that we can attract funding to achieve this.

        Over the last 8 years we have had a very successful programme of temporary exhibitions, some of which we have designed in house, we have also run a very popular programme of family activities. Our visitor figures have been a t record levels (in the 700,000s) but we know we have a lot of work to do to keep them at this level and to increase them still further.

  3. Susan Anderson says:

    Firstly i would like to say that myself and my children (Age 3 and 8 months) all love visiting the World Museum and the many wonderful things it has to offer. The only thing i would like to see more of is things that younger children of toddler age can get involved in. The Museum of Liverpool has done it with ‘Little Liverpool’ and i think that is a great success as younger children get to play and learn all at the same time. It would be nice to see something interactive for younger children at the World Museum to. Although both my kids appear to have a great time when we visit each week.

    • Lisa says:

      Thanks Susan, it’s great that your family have enjoyed visiting the museum and I’ll pass on your comments about having an area for younger children to our museum director. I hope that you’ll also take a minute to fill in the online survey as we’re collecting feedback there as well: http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/1330183/World

    • Steve Judd (Director World Museum) says:

      That’s a very fair comment Susan and we would like to have an under 5s facility one day at World Museum.

      It’s good to hear that your children enjoy Little Liverpool at the Museum of Liverpool – have you also been to Big Art at the Walker? – just up the road from World Museum. It’s another excellent facility for young children.

      We do try to ensure that younger children are catered for in our temporary exhibition and interactive spaces + they have their own show in the Planetarium and our living displays are also very popular.

      I hope you continue to visit World Museum as your children grow up – we’d like to think that there is something for everybody here.

  4. Adam Benton says:

    I’m studying human evolution at the University of Liverpool and have been volunteering at the World Museum for nearly 2 years now. I spend most of my time in the Weston Discovery Centre talking to people about human evolution, using the display they have there.

    During this time I’ve thought of many ways this display can be improved and updated, most of which can be done very cheaply and easily. In particular, many aspects of human evolution can be hard to describe with words. Adding a few pictures or diagrams to the display would drastically increase the amount of information it contains whilst also making it much easier for most people to understand. Things like a map of the route our ancestors took out of Africa, or a timeline of human evolution (it’s awfully hard to describe our rather complex family tree just by waving my arms at guests) and so on.

    There are also many artefacts related to human evolution scattered throughout the museum and I think consolidating them would really help improve the display. For example, on the other side of the Weston is an example of the tools made by Homo erectus. Placing that next to Homo erectus, rather than on the opposite side of the room, would improve the display of both items.

    If you were feeling a bit more adventurous, there’s a display next to the exhibit on pottery. it doesn’t get much attention from visitors and I’ve heard some staff criticise it. It’s just a bit too unfocused to really function as a good display. If I could I’d remove it and use the extra space to expand the human evolution part. As I mentioned, there is loads of related material around the museum but just not the space to currently consolidate it.

    In fact, even some of the stuff currently in the display isn’t very visible. Tucked away at the bottom is a human, chimp and Neanderthal pelvis. Although very popular, almost nobody notices them unless I point them out to them. With a bit more space they could be made much more visible.

    If you’re looking for a major renovation, this display is not it. Even my most extreme suggestion would require very little time and effort compared to some of the excellent suggestions made by others, like adding a section for 5 year olds. However, the small changes to human evolution would drastically improve the quality of the exhibit and so I think would be well worth it.

  5. Steve Judd (Director World Museum) says:

    Adam

    First of all, thank you very much for volunteering in our Weston Discovery Centre – your help is much appreciated

    Thanks also for your detailed comments and yes we would like to improve the quality of our human evolution displays.

    I don’t know what days you are in the building but perhaps we could meet up for a quick chat – it would be good if you could send me an e-mail with some possible times.

    • Adam Benton says:

      I’m on holiday in Thailand at the moment but will be returning to Liverpool next week. From then on I’ll be volunteering in the Weston every Saturday from 12.30 – 4/5. If that isn’t a good time for you I can come in on another day. My university schedule isn’t very full at the moment so I am very flexible and could probably come in at any time on any day after next Tuesday (the 17th).

      I don’t know your email address, but I’ve had to enter mine to leave this comment so I assume you have it. Feel free to send me a message.

  6. Rupert Nye says:

    I only read about this on Facebook today!
    Having seen many specimens from your extinct bird collection in 2012, I think a temporary display of some of these birds would make an interesting & eyecatching display, & so visitors get an idea of some of the wonderful specimens held within this collection!

    • Steve Judd (Director World Museum) says:

      Rupert

      I’ve passed on your comments to our Zoology staff.

      Rupert

      We don’t have any plans to permanently display any more ouf our bird material at the moment but I can arrange for you to see our research collection of birds, if you are interested.

      Please contact me with your e-mail address.

      Steve

  7. Paul says:

    Firstly for the most part I love the museum. There is one part though always disapoints.

    I refer to the natural history displays. As a child I remember a behind the scenes tour and being amazed at some of the things in the collection. Why cant we see them. Compared with Berlin displays they are poor. Maybe thats understandable. Compared with Sheffields displays they are poor too, thats less understandable and a little dispointing.

    Surely some kind of sponsorship between the museum and say Knowsley Safari Park and Chester Zoo could fund an upgrade of these tired and lacklustre displays. Something as simple as funding a new display case a s year – in return for promotion materials in the museum. I’d like to see a room similar to Berlins room. http://www.naturkundemuseum-berlin.de/en/ausstellungen/evolution-in-aktion/ Thanks

    • Steve Judd (Director World Museum) says:

      Paul

      First of all I’m really pleased to hear that you love the museum.

      Our World Habitats gallery is nearly 40 years old now and we know that it is looking really tired. We did spend some money refreshing displays in 2006 and we also put in the Endangered Planet graphic panels to make it more relevant.

      Our long term plans include the creation of a new life sciences gallery and biodiversity/ conservation displays but I’m afraid that this isn’t going to happen in the next year.

      We do have a lot of items in our Clore Natural History Centre which re-opened in 2005 and are continually displaying cases there.

      I’d be pleased to arrange for you to see our ‘behind the scenes’ collections – just send me your e-mail address.

      Steve

  8. Cathy says:

    I love how educational the museum is, but my children don’t just learn by looking! We love the areas where you can “join in”- picking up the different weight wood, looking at things through microscopes, touching real skulls, watching the movement of ants and listening to bug noises, then discovering beautiful huge butterflies in the display drawers- fantastic!

    My 7 year old touches everything- a nightmare in shops, but it demonstrates that he loves interacting through touch and movement…so more touching, picking up, trying out( loved an ancient game we played once, and weaving)

    My 10 year old sometimes feels things aimed at children are too young for him- he loves using real microscopes and learning about the science behind things- so more for the 10-13 age group maybe?

    p.s.Any chance you could put noitces on the lifts that they are intended for people who are unable to use the stairs? As someone with limited mobility it is really annoying to wait ages for a lift ,to find it full of able bodied people!

    • Steve Judd (Director World Museum) says:

      Cathy

      It’s really good to hear that you and your children enjoy the interactive parts of our museum – we have tried to make our dislays as engaging and family friendly as possible . Did your son visit the ‘Inside DNA’ exhibition when it was at WM? That was aimed at a slightly older audience and proved very popular – I think he would have enjoyed it.

      We also staged a very popular series of ‘Meet the Scientist’ days earlier in the year which featured scientists from the University of Liverpool talking about their research in an engaging and popular manner. They brought along displays, experiments and activities for people to see and take part in. We hope to repeat this programme next year – so please do look out for it being promoted on our web site.

      The lifts at World Museum are the cause of much frustration for our visitors and for us. We do have signs on every floor asking people to give priority to wheelchair users and families with prams.

      I hope you and your family will visit World Museum again soon – look out for our next temporary exhibition called
      ‘Magic Worlds’, which opens on 18 October.

      Best wishes

      Steve

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