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Celebrate the International Mersey River Festival this weekend!

3 June 2016 by Sam Vaux

© Mark McNulty

Merseyside Maritime Museum and Museum of Liverpool © Mark McNulty

From Friday 3 – Sunday 5 June, the waterfront will be awash with fun, nautical activities for all the family at the International Mersey River Festival, which will include tall ships, jet ski stunts, boat races, Royal Marines combat displays and air displays. Our waterfront museums will be hosting crafts and activities including Dockwatch, where you can take a closer look… Read more…

Life on the ocean wave: a Border Force training ship

2 June 2016 by Sarah

steve in pilots cabin

Steve Butler on his tour of Altea II

Steve Butler, Curator at Seized! the Border Force National Museum, is blogging for us today on his tour of Altea II, a huge ship purchased by Border Force, which is used to train its officers in how to safely search every part of a commercial vessel: 

View onto ship

The view out of the window

“I may have worked for many years for the Border Force museum but it is meeting the front line officer which is so memorable and one of the unique pluses of my job. Recently I visited a training ship in Liverpool Docks called Altea II for a tour of the vessel guided by a senior instructor and long serving Border Force officer.

“Colin has many years experience in working in Customs and now Border Force and was once part of the customs cutter service. He has probably visited most ports around the UK coastline aboard a patrol vessel in search of the smuggler. Now he trains officers from both the UK and overseas in how to safely search every part of a commercial ship. 

“Altea II was a mid sized bulk carrier which plied the seas in search of mixed cargo from building material, animal field and general cargo. Operating in seas in the northern hemisphere including Iceland, Nordic states, Russia and called in at ports around the UK. Once bought by Border Force is was adapted to offer real life experience of a commercial ship and how to search it.

“When I boarded the vessel it was as if the former Russian crew had just left the vessel. Crew’s cabin still presented soaps and shaving equipment placed on shelves around the sinks, posters still hung on the cabin walls, sea boots and overalls were slung on bed side cabinets. Books, novels and instructions manual, still lined the shelves adjacent to port holed walls. The bridge offered spectacular views across the Mersey to New Brighton and sea charts and national flags were neatly rolled in cupboards beneath first aid cabinets and barometers on panelled walls.

The hold

The hold

“The hold was vast, now empty except for a special built coffer dam which was stained in red colourant. Why the staining? Colin explained the use of a life like dummy which would carry ‘injury’ and require safely rescuing from inside the coffer dam. This would often be practised in near black out conditions with trainees dressed in cumbersome breathing kit, essential clothing when searching dangerous confined space aboard a ocean going ship. The morning tour and chat with Colin was captivating as he calmly described the dangerous search of ocean going tugs and yachts concealing tons of class A drugs. It is why I do love my job and our unique collection and stories we can share.”

 

Find out more about our collections at Seized!  

Celebrate Merseyside Maritime Museum’s 30th birthday this bank holiday!

27 May 2016 by Sam Vaux

Merseyside Maritime Museum © Tom Adam

Merseyside Maritime Museum © Tom Adam

The bank holiday is fast approaching and we’re marking 30 years since the Merseyside Maritime Museum opened with two fabulous days of fun for all with family! Join us for a whole host of FREE activities, performances and workshops to celebrate our 30th birthday 80s style on Monday 30 May and Tuesday 31 May! Read more…

A passion for social justice

27 May 2016 by Emma Duffy

four people seated, holidng up campaign signs

Campaigners at the launch of the Federation of Human Rights Museums, including David Fleming, Director of NML, second from right

As we mark 30 years since we became a national museums service in 1986, it’s given us a moment to reflect on the positive work we have done over the past three decades. We believe in the power of museums to help promote good and active citizenship, and to act as agents of social change. From this belief we founded the Social Justice Alliance for Museums (SJAM) in 2013, in response to a growing recognition of the importance of the social value in museums and its impact on the public. Read more…

Win a signed Pre-Raphaelites: Beauty and Rebellion exhibition catalogue

26 May 2016 by Laura

Book

Exhibition catalogue © David Jones Photography

There is just over a week left to catch Pre-Raphaelites: Beauty and Rebellion at the Walker Art Gallery. To celebrate its successful run we are delighted to be giving away a signed exhibition catalogue. Read more…

Half term fun

26 May 2016 by Megan

River Festival

River Festival

Half-term is fast approaching and National Museums Liverpool has a fantastic range of activities to keep the little ones busy.

The Merseyside Maritime Museum’s is the big 3-0 this year and we are celebrating in style! We are taking you back to the 80s with DJ Barryoke playing the hits and a 1980s themed photo booth for visitors to capture all the fun. Performances, workshops and crafts will also be running over the two days (30 & 31 May). See our website for more details Read more…

Behind the scenes with Hagrid’s bike

25 May 2016 by Laura

Bike

Hagrid’s bike on display at Museum of Liverpool until 9 June 2016

Many of you will have seen by now that we have a rather magical piece of film history currently on display in Museum of Liverpool.

It’s a flying visit by Hagrid’s motorbike and sidecar from the film ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1’, before it zooms away on 9 June. Read more…

Collecting our past

24 May 2016 by Liz

University of Liverpool Continuing Education Department and Merseyside Archaeological Society members investigate Rainford's early industries in 1979

University of Liverpool Continuing Education Department and Merseyside Archaeological Society investigate Rainford’s early industries in 1979

As National Museums Liverpool celebrates its 30th birthday I sit in the museum store and pause for a moment’s thought about the ways archaeology and our collecting has changed since Liverpool’s museums gained their national status in the mid 1980s. Working with the regional archaeology collection at the Museum of Liverpool I see, recorded in the collections, the ways in which the practice of archaeology has changed over the last 30 years.

By the time National Museums Liverpool was created in 1986 interest in archaeology was a widespread Read more…

The evolving story of Poppies: Women and War

19 May 2016 by Sam

close up detail of a bright orange poppy

© Lee Karen Stow

There is not long left to catch the incredibly moving and inspiring exhibition Poppies: Women and War, which closes on 5 June 2016 at the Museum of Liverpool before going on tour. Photographer Lee Karen Stow reflects on the exhibition and her plans for the future in her latest blog:

“As the Poppies: Women and War exhibition comes to a close at the Museum of Liverpool, so the poppy flowers begin to bud and bloom in the gardens and fields of England. I’ve planted a few seeds and plants myself this spring, to see and capture the pink, tangerine, blue and black poppies.

For this story is evolving. Read more…

‘Liverpool patronage was a little Galapagos’ – exploring the relationship of the Pre-Raphaelites and Liverpool by Rupert Maas

19 May 2016 by Ann

The Scapegoat, 1854-5, William Holman Hunt © Lady Lever Art Gallery, National Museums Liverpool

The Scapegoat, 1854-5, William Holman Hunt © Lady Lever Art Gallery, National Museums Liverpool

Pre-Raphaelitism has long been associated with Liverpool.  The collections of National Museums Liverpool’s art galleries, namely Sudley House, Lady Lever Art Gallery and the Walker Art Gallery include a large number of Pre-Raphaelite works. Many, such as Dante’s Dream by Rossetti and the Scapegoat by Holman Hunt hold an iconic status across the globe. The history of how Liverpool and Port Sunlight came to house these collections is fascinating and diverse and carries an inspiring message of patronage and cultural enlightenment. While there have been many exhibitions exploring the movement’s history, Liverpool’s role had until recently not been explored. Read more…



About our blog

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.