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Going green in Bursa

21 May 2009 by Richard

dancers in traditional Turkish costume performing energetically

Civic welcome in Bursa, Turkey

Hello there

As you can see from the photo, I’ve been travelling again, this time to Bursa in northwestern Turkey, a three hour plus minibus ride (plus a ferry crossing) from Istanbul. The reason for this exciting venture was that the International Slavery Museum had been shortlisted for the very prestigious European Museum of the Year Award, awarded by the European Museum Forum to a museum which offers an excellent example of innovation in museums.

Well I will not keep you in suspense; we did not win the top prize, which went to Salzburg Museum in Austria. There were also three museums who were specially commended, one of which, the Museum of Life Stories in, Speicher, Switzerland I thought particularly worthy. The artist involved in the project, HR Fricker, explained to me that in the public areas of a home for seniors, their lives are shown around them, through exhibits and documentation. This might well challenge people’s view of what a museum is, which I think is a good thing. Of course I was disappointed at not even having been commended (by the amount of people who came up to me afterwards I think we were one of the favourites) but if success is also measured by fellow museum professionals wanting to work with you in the future, then the trip was well worth it.  Read more…

The world of the Peaceful Dragon

30 April 2009 by Richard

photo of tree blossom overhanging the wall of a gravel garden

Ryoanji Zen garden

Konichiwa

Well I am back at work after my break in Japan, as interesting and exciting a destination as I have ever visited. It really is a mix of the old and the new and this cannot be better personified than the city of Kyoto. I spent 5 days in Tokyo, truly a metropolis of bright lights, fashionistas and the latest gadgetry but Kyoto – what some call the cultural heart of Japan – is where the clash of worlds is most obvious. As soon as you step off the Bullet train you enter Kyoto’s futuristic looking plate glass and steel frame rail station building designed by Hiroshi Hara. The Bullet train really is as efficient as you are told and quite a shock for someone used to British trains when your reserved carriage actually stops in front of you and on time. I can only hope a contingent of British rail carriers executives have their next annual conference in Japan and invite the CEO of Japan Rail as the keynote! The area around the station has hotels, offices and shops aplenty like most major cities but scratch under the surface and there lies a hidden world of temples and Zen gardens of all shapes and descriptions. Read more…

In memory of John Hope Franklin

2 April 2009 by Richard

It is with great sadness that I pass on the sad news of the death last week of John Hope Franklin, one of the most important American historians of the 20th century and a great advocate of the International Slavery Museum. The museum was fortunate enough to have been visited by John Hope Franklin in 2007 and it was an honour personally to be able to interview this great man, one who more than most strove towards a word free from racism and discrimination. It speaks for itself when messages of condolence are sent from current President Obama as well as Bill Clinton (who awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honour, in 1995) and a host of other eminent historians and scholars.  Read more…

Achievers and believers

26 March 2009 by Richard

group of people by three plaques on a museum wall

Black achievers plaque unveiling

Hello there

Well before anyone sends me an accusatory email I will admit I am not the world’s best blogger! Strange really considering I constantly annoy my colleagues by saying “That would be a great blog picture” or “I can blog this and that” etc.  So I am back and hopefully once again people will read my blog to support my rather bold claim that this is one of the most visited parts of the National Museums Liverpool website. I can hear the laughter coming from the web team office!  Read more…

From Lincoln to Obama

30 January 2009 by Richard

large marble statue of Abraham Lincoln

A picture of the Lincoln Memorial from my trip to Washington DC last year

Hello there.

Well unless you have been living on another planet recently who could not have been gripped by the momentous events when Barack Hussein Obama was elected as the 44th President of the United States. First he is a loving father, a skilled politician, an inspirational leader and role model, who is married to a strong successful and supportive partner, he also happens to be the first African American President. A truly great achievement, especially in a nation that less than 60 years ago had separate seating on buses – white people who boarded the bus took seats in the front rows, whereas Black people who boarded the bus had to sit on the back rows (a certain Rosa Parks disagreed) and where the Jim Crow Laws were in place which segregated everything from schools to public parks and transportation, with a “separate but equal” status for Black Americans. Read more…

Looking ahead

12 January 2009 by Richard

photo of water dripping from a hand creating ripples in water below

‘Each drop is important for us…’ – one of the stunning photographs from the Shoot Nations exhibition. Copyright Shoot Nations.

Hello there

Well I hope you all had a happy holiday period and managed to relax. I certainly did. I spent several days back home in dear old Yorkshire. Always nice to catch up with the family.

The International Slavery Museum has an exciting series of events and programmes throughout the year, from a US Black History Month event in February to Slavery Remembrance Day in August. We also have Shoot Nations, an exciting new photographic exhibition focusing on global environmental issues through the eyes of young people, starting on 17 January. This is one of a series of exhibitions which highlight issues in the museum galleries – from global inequalities to racism, discrimination and identity. So watch this space for news about upcoming exhibitions. Read more…

What a year!

24 December 2008 by Richard

Hello there
Well what a momentous year for the museum it has been.   Where shall I start?  Well how about the fact we have had over 500,000 visitors since we opened, which makes us one of the most visited museums outside of London in a very short space of time.  We launched our exhibitions programme with ‘We are one’ that celebrated and reflected on the International Slavery Museum’s first year and were visited by well known personalities and advocates such as the Reverend Jesse Jackson, the footballer Lillian Thuram, Doreen Lawrence, Floella Benjamin and the noted academic Eric Foner and a host of other dignitaries.   The year continued as it had finished in 2007 with a high level of media interest from around the world.  Probably the most high profile was a live link from the museum for the Today Show which has over 6 million viewers.  I was interviewed by Al Roker for several minutes so no pressure then!  Thankfully I did not make any gaffs. Read more…

Star spangled days

15 December 2008 by Richard

Hello there

What a few weeks it has been and one with a strong American theme. First of all, as promised, some feedback regards my trip to Atlanta for the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database launch at Emory University . The conference was very interesting indeed and had a number of academics, students and members of the public attend. There was a great deal of interest from people in the International Slavery Museum and how we hoped to use the database. The database is the most extensive in existence and includes slave voyages from various countries and ports. Liverpool is obviously central to the database. I was approached by one member of the public who told me that the name Liverpool was given to many enslaved Africans in Georgia to denote where the ship had originally sailed from. I explained I had not heard of this before or had seen any documents but that I would follow it up on my return. Read more…

Spot the museum professional!

27 November 2008 by Richard

two men posing for a photo in front of a museum display

Lilian Thuram (on the left) – the most capped French footballer ever – on a visit to the International Slavery Museum

Hello there.

Well for those of you who are regular followers of my blog (surely double figures?) then you will know I have a penchant for the beautiful game. We were fortunate enough to be visited last week by the great French defender and World Cup winner Lilian Thuram who was in Liverpool as a patron of the Only a Game? exhibition at World Museum Liverpool.

Lilian is now retried from football but he is looking to start an origanisation which tackles issues such as racism and discrimination in Europe. As a result he wanted to come to the International Slavery Museum to look at some of exhibits which focus on this subject as well as talk about the possibility of some sort of collaboration. Lilian was particularly impressed with our Black Achievers Wall. A message he thinks is important to get across to children of African descent across Europe.  Read more…

A winning formula!

14 November 2008 by Richard

young child pointing at museum display

A future Black achiever visits the museum. Photograph copyright Mark McNulty 2008.

Hello there

Well I have to start by saying what a momentous, historic and exciting past few weeks it has been. Not only the election of the first Black President of the United States, but the first Black (and youngest), Formula One World Champion.  

People have rightly contacted me to say that both President Elect Obama and Lewis Hamilton need to be included on the Black Achievers Wall in the museum (remember you can email the museum with your nominations). But I am also aware that these two fantastic achievements, often against all the odds, expectations and indeed wishes of many who are not too pleased to see Black people achieve, or be in positions of power, were done with the support of other, and often unrecognized, Black achievers. Namely Anthony Hamilton, his father, who has supported him since a young boy and Michelle Obama, the strong and charismatic partner of Barack Obama.   Read more…

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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.