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British child refugees

20 June 2018 by Jen

Refugee Week, founded in 1998 “as a direct reaction to hostility in the media and society in general towards refugees and asylum seekers”, is marking its 20th anniversary this week, and one of the 20 Simple Acts they have asked people to consider doing this year is spread the word.

Sadly the hostility that inspired this campaign in 1998 is still present and their work is as important as ever. I believe that it is harder to be hostile towards someone once we begin to empathise with them, and as human beings we often empathise most easily with people when we realise they are like ourselves. In keeping with that idea I want to talk about Britain’s own child refugees. Read more…

New Black Achievers Announced

18 June 2018 by Richard

Black Achiever’s Wall in the ‘Legacy’ gallery of the International Slavery Museum. Image ©Redman Design/ International Slavery Museum

I am pleased to announce the addition of three new achievers to the Museum’s Black Achievers Wall. This popular exhibit celebrates the many different forms of achievement by people of African descent. The connection is that to reach their goals, to achieve in their field, they have in their own way broken barriers, put their heads above the parapet, taken risks, led the way. They have and do inspire.

The three new additions were nominated by Uniglobal members, a global trade union representing 20 million working people in 13 sectors of work around the world, with whom we work closely.  We proudly celebrate our Black Achievers:

 

Bernie Grant MP, 1944-2000

Bernie Grant MP, beside the plaque on the historic Liverpool Waterfront near to where slaver ships were once fitted out and repaired at our very first Slavery Remembrance Day event, back in 1999. A plaque is still in place today. Image courtesy of National Museums Liverpool.

Born in British Guiana (now Guyana), a trade unionist who became Leader of Haringey Council in 1985, the first Black person to hold such a role in Europe. Elected in 1987 as MP for Tottenham, he was an outspoken advocate for his community, and for righting the historic wrongs arising from colonisation and enslavement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gloria Mills, born 1958

Gloria Mills. ©Andrew Wiard

One of Britain’s leading trade unionists, Gloria Mills has campaigned vigorouslyagainst all forms of discrimination. She was the first Black woman to serve as President of the Trade Union Congress (TUC). Her pioneering work on equality and employment rights has helped change the agenda, structure and culture of trade unions in the UK and beyond.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, born 1963

Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II. ©Steve Pavey

A past president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s (NAACP) North Carolina state chapter. Rev. Barber is a committed campaigner for the rights of African Americans, the poor and other marginalised groups within the US. In 2017, he launched the Poor People’s Campaign for justice, love and equality.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Email us if you have suggestions for our Black Achievers Wall. Or find out more about why we have the Black Achievers Wall, and our Legacy, gallery here.

Remembering the World Cup 1966 – the Merseyside connection

18 June 2018 by Kay

 The cover of a visitor guide to Liverpool for football fans at the World Cup 1966

A visitor guide to Liverpool for football fans at the World Cup 1966

1966 was a good year for football on Merseyside….oh, and for England too!  When the World Cup was held in this country in July that year, Liverpool had just won the League and Everton the FA Cup.

In the museum’s collections we have a number of items which relate to World Cup matches played at Goodison Park, including match tickets, a visitor guide to the city for fans, an invite and menu from a special luncheon given by The Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Liverpool on the occasion of the semi-final of the World Cup at the Town Hall, Liverpool City Transport tickets for overseas visitors and spectator notices.

Tickets from the five games held at Goodison Park were recently kindly donated by Jack Mulvey, an Everton fan. He tells us more – Read more…

Dragons in China’s First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors

16 June 2018 by Joe

This weekend marks the Chinese holiday of the Dragon Boat Festival, an ancient celebration where boats are decorated in the form of dragons and raced in towns and cities across the country. To commemorate the festivities, we are exploring some of the dragon-themed objects on display in our landmark exhibition, China’s First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors.

Read more…

Exploring the secret life of Smithdown Road

15 June 2018 by Andrew Bullock

A black an white photo of two girls and a man

My Grandma Great Aunt and Great Grandad Outside their home off Smithdown Road

In our latest blog local student Cody Willoughby talks about her feelings towards Smithdown Road, the road her Grandma grew up on and the subject of our display The Secret Life of Smithdown Road… Read more…

Whistler’s beehive watermarks

15 June 2018 by Alex Patterson

Keith our paper conservator working on the Whistler etchings before display

For a curator the best part of any exhibition, is the first time you properly look at the objects. This is a time when you can make discoveries and investigate objects beyond their normal scope. When I first began work on the Whistler & Pennell: Etching the City exhibition, Keith our paper conservator analysed the condition of the prints. In doing so, he noticed a wonderful watermark on the paper used for James McNeill Whistler’s prints (1834-1903). It is a beautiful design with a central beehive motif surrounded by ornate scrollwork of leaves and flowers crowned with a fruit tree. It also shows the initials DEDB. I immediately wanted to learn more about where this paper came from and why it was used for Whistler’s prints so I could include it in the exhibition and share it with our visitors. This is what I found!

Drawn illustration of the De Erven de Blauw ‘beehive’ watermark from National Gallery of Australia

Apparently Whistler was very selective about what paper was used for his etchings. This wasn’t at all unusual; the etching revival had instigated a new interest in the aesthetic tone and structure of paper. Modern paper made in the early 19th century could be highly acidic and appear bright white after the introduction of wood pulp and chlorine bleaches into the paper-making process. Laid paper was also gradually replaced with wove paper which had a more even surface. Whistler, and indeed most printers, refused to use such paper as it affected the overall tone and aesthetic of the work. The modern paper created too much of a contrast between the inks and the white background. Also wove paper did not hold the ink in the same way as laid paper.

Following Rembrandt’s example, Whistler like most etchers’ and printers preferred to use ‘Old Dutch’ or silky Japanese paper. Throughout his life Whistler constantly searched stationers and old book shops looking for it, as large quantities could still be found in London, Paris and Amsterdam. Made from boiled and beaten rags, drained on wire moulds, ‘Old Dutch’ paper was high quality with a ribbed texture and creamy in colour. Japanese paper was alternatively made from the bark of a mulberry tree; it could vary in thickness and tone from pale cream to a pronounced yellow. These types of paper could be identified by their unique watermark.

Limeburner, etching by JM Whistler from the Lady Lever Art Gallery exhibition with watermark

A watermark is design or motif that is caused by thickness variations created by the wire mould when shaping the paper. The ‘beehive’ watermark that we found on Whistler’s print’s, shown in transmitted light, is not the mark of ‘Old Dutch’ papermakers as I originally thought, but it can be traced to Holland.

The ‘beehive’ watermark is associated with the Honig (honey) family of Dutch papermakers who owned mills in Zaandijk, North Holland. The coat of arms was widely copied throughout the Netherlands and came to represent Dutch papermaking more generally. Whistler’s ‘beehive’ watermark is a variation belonging to the De Erven de Blauw papermakers from the 1820s, which explains the initials DEDB within the design (there were alternate versions of the De Erven de Blauw watermark also shown)

Alternative beehive watermark from Whistler’s portrait of Sculptor, J Becquet.

We would have never known that these watermarks existed on the Walker Art gallery’s prints before as they are not visible under normal lighting conditions, it was crucial to photograph our findings through transmitted light to document the work. This research and photographs of all the prints which contain the watermark are permanently available for everyone to view on Watermark, our online collection of works on paper.

 

Dragon Boat Festival 2018

13 June 2018 by Joe

World Museum is preparing for the 2018 Dragon Boat Festival, with a number of free events planned to celebrate the Chinese holiday which runs from 16 to 18 June.

Read more…

Learn the painting secrets of the masters and have a go yourself!

12 June 2018 by Simon Birtall

Blackberry Gathering (1912), Elizabeth Forbes, Walker Art Gallery

The Walker Art Gallery’s painting collection spans a broad spectrum of work from the Renaissance to the modern era. It includes artwork made in an engaging variety of contrasting styles, from the refined tempera paintings of the early Renaissance to the painterly, expressive brushwork and bold colour of the Impressionist era, to abstraction and beyond. Taken together, the collection illustrates the development in painting technique over eight centuries of artistic practice.

Read more…

Whistler and Liverpool

Shipping at Liverpool (1867) and The Two Ships (1875) by James McNeill Whistler

My research for the Whistler & Pennell: Etching the City exhibition at the Lady Lever Art Gallery uncovered some really interesting information about James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903) and his connection to Liverpool and Lancashire area.   Read more…

Get Out film screening: Positive representation of people of colour in film

5 June 2018 by Stef

Image of a Black man's face, wide eyed and crying

Get Out (2017) © 2016 Universal Pictures

The International Slavery Museum’s Young Ambassadors team have been working in partnership with Scalarama Liverpool (https://scalarama.com/liverpool/) to explore issues of representation in the film industry and what can be done to challenge this. We invited our Ambassadors group to host their own film event in the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr building including a post film discussion. Here, ISM Ambassador Rebecca Crossland talks about what visitors can expect at the event. Read more…



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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.