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Voyage of discovery

13 January 2010 by Lisa

Here is this week’s post celebrating the World Museum’s 150th anniversary this year! This week we have a story from Ian Wallace, our Curator of Conchology & Aquatic Biology. Read on to find out about the staff who travelled on a luxury steam yacht to collect new specimens for the museum…


Henry H Higgins

Henry H Higgins

On January 16th 1876 the Museum’s Director, Reverend Henry Hugh Higgins, and museum assistants John Chard and James Wood, left Liverpool on board the brand new luxury steam yacht ‘Argo’.  This had been chartered by Mr Holt of Sudley Art Gallery fame (now called Sudley House), for a cruise to the West Indies and museum workers were invited along to collect scientifically important specimens for the Liverpool Museum (now called the World Museum).  The museum authorities allocated Higgins £50 to cover all costs for the three of them and to purchase specimens.  He spent  £43 and 10d (10 pennies) !   

They were especially interested in collecting marine life and they focussed on sponges.  A sponge is one of the least complicated of all animal groups.  There are lots of cells in the sponge body but there is no organising brain or nervous system and no complicated body organs.  The whole body is a mass of small channels lined by cells that have a beating hair.  These beating cells draw in water and other cells grab tiny single-celled plants floating in the water, digest the plant cells and pass some of the digested food to their neighbours.  Other cells secrete a supporting skeleton of horny fibres or glass fibres. Read more…

Happy Anniversary to the World Museum!

31 December 2009 by Lisa

Black and white photo of old museum interior.

The museum before it was bombed in the Second World War.

I know I’m a day early, but 2010 will mean a pretty important anniversary for us here at National Museums Liverpool. It will be the 150th Anniversary of William Brown handing over the keys for what was then the Liverpool museum, which we now all know and love as the World Museum.

To mark this anniversary we’re going to be featuring a year-long series of World Museum-related stories on this blog. There’ll be a story a week, with a mix of historical and contemporary pieces. We want to let you know all about the museum’s history but also give you a few behind the scenes peeks at the people, stories and events that make (and have made) this such a special museum. Read more…

Mad about rays!

15 October 2009 by Lisa

Here is Laura Healy from our Development Office to tell us why she is mad about Thornback Rays and how you can support our RayWatch project to help protect them.


Woman surrounded by toy rays

Laura and her furry new friends

According to local anglers, October is the best month to find Thornback Rays in the River Mersey. One of the most popular animals on display at World Museum’s aquarium in Liverpool, they are also the focus of our new public appeal called RayWatch.  

We’re working with the Sharktrust to tag Thornback Rays in the Liverpool Bay area and monitor them in the wild. I work in the Development Office and volunteer in the aquarium so I’ve been making ‘Ray Champion’ packs and I’m currently on-call to go on an all-day tagging trip on the Mersey once the weather is right! Read more…

Watch out for Shark Week!

2 October 2009 by Lisa

Here is Phil Lewis our Aquarium & Bughouse Assistant to tell you about the forthcoming Shark Week at the World Museum


European Shark Week runs from Saturday 10 to Sunday 18 October when we’ll have an array of activities at the World Museum’s Clore Natural History Centre. There will be badge making for children and lots of posters and pockets guides to give away, with information about sharks and rays.  All the drawings of the various species that are produced by visitors during the week, will be mounted on the wall to form a huge mural.  Read more…

Ask the curator!

21 September 2009 by Lisa

Aquarium curator next to a tank of rays.

Aquarium Curator, Rachel Ball, in the aquarium.

Ever wondered what it’s like to handle ancient artefacts, care for unusual creatures or produce an exhibition of wonderful artworks?

If you have a question about our museums, galleries or collections then take part in Ask the curator, which gives you the chance to ask our featured curator anything you like.

Next in line to answer your questions is Aquarium Curator, Rachel Ball. Rachel looks after the collections in the World Museum’s aquarium, which is teeming with fish and other sea life from Australia to Anglesey. 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.