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We’re 30!

12 May 2016 by Lucy

If you’re from Liverpool, you’ll know that the museums and galleries in this city have been around for a long time…165 years to be precise! However, we can still lay claim to celebrating our 30th birthday, because it was actually 30 years ago in 1986, that we were established as a national museums service.

This means, that Liverpool’s museums and galleries were transferred to the ownership of the nation, due to the national importance of their collections.

That’s right, the museums in this city had collected works of art and objects of historic and scientific interest of such high standards and quality, that in 1986 their significance was recognised to such a degree that they should be protected for the nation and future generations to learn from and enjoy.

It all started in 1851, when the Derby Museum opened in Duke Street, Liverpool, to display its natural history collection. The Museum moved to William Brown Street in 1860, where World Museum still exists today, welcoming some 700,000 visitors through its doors each year.

The Walker Art Gallery also opened on William Brown Street in 1877, and our group of museums has continued to grow over the past 165 years with the addition of the Lady Lever Art Gallery and Sudley House. The nationalised era began in 1986 with the opening of Merseyside Maritime Museum, one of the leaders in the renaissance of Albert Dock.

And that’s where our celebrations begin. On LightNight we will be marking 30 years of Merseyside Maritime Museum, with lots of activities and even an 80s disco. We’ll be continuing to mark our birthday throughout the summer months, and you can spot objects in our museums and galleries that we have chosen especially to highlight the past 30 years.

Our online timeline also charts key milestones, including objects we’ve acquired, key exhibitions, the launch of our award-winning dementia awareness training, and the opening of two new museums; the International Slavery Museum and Museum of Liverpool.

In 2015/16, we received more than 2.8 million visitors; an impressive 7% increase from the previous year’s figures, which is a fantastic reason to celebrate, as we continue to attract people to Liverpool from all over the world to visit us.

We hope you’ll join with us in celebrating some of our highlights and thanks to everyone who has been part of the journey so far, including all our visitors. We look forward to seeing you at one of the museums and galleries soon.

  1. Karen Baker says:

    Thank you Liverpool – I was a teenager 30 years ago and you inspired and ignited a life long interest in history through visiting the museums in Liverpool with my Dad as my Mum shopped. And a fascination and passion for art that has been passed on through to my children of pre raphelite art from Lady lever art gallery! Although I now live in Cardiff we come back to Liverpool as family and visit the fantastic galleries and museums together.
    Ps. My mum will never know how much she missed out, we managed to take her to the galleries on Sunday’s when the shops were shut ! 🙂

    • Lucy says:

      Thanks so much for your comment Karen. Really lovely to hear that you and your children have been so inspired by our collections!

  2. john Middleton says:

    I often visit Liverpool, having sailed from there during the 1950’s,
    mainly to visit my favoruite pubs of yesteryear i.e. The Caernavon Castle,White Star, Pig & Whistle,
    and The Crown, but if time allows a visit to your Museum is a must, many memories
    of the Cunarders CPR and P.S.N.C, so many memories come flooding back

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Welcome to the National Museums Liverpool blog! Written by our staff and volunteers, we’ll give you a peek behind the scenes of our museums and galleries.

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We try to ensure that the information provided on our blog is accurate and that appropriate permissions to use images have been sought. The opinions in each blog are very much those of the individuals writing.