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Himalayan Objects on Tour!

16 August 2018 by Alex Blakeborough

Part of the ongoing work we do here behind the scenes at World Museum involves dealing with loan requests from other museums. This usually happens when a museum is putting on an exhibition and they need extra objects from other collections to help tell their exhibition’s story. Read more…

Sugar, tea and pottery – new archaeology displays at Museum of Liverpool. Part 2/2

9 August 2018 by Jeff

Pottery

Just some of the huge quantities of sugar refining pottery recovered in 2007

In the case under the stairs on the ground floor of the Museum of Liverpool you can see more of the objects recovered from the excavations on the site of the Museum in 2007. It’s the first chance we’ve had to show off properly some of the huge collection of sugar refining pottery that we excavated from this very site before the Museum was built . Most of it was badly broken but it is all that is left from the many small sugar refineries which existed right in the centre of Liverpool 200 years ago, long before the large factories like Tate and Lyle developed on Love Lane, now Eldonian Village. Read more…

Who was Artemis-Orthia?

8 August 2018 by Cicely Hill

When most people think of ancient Greece, the Classical city of Athens usually springs to mind. Yet, Sparta in the Peloponnese, is known as the military state and is the total antithesis of the city of Athens. This is where you would find the prolific Sanctuary of Artemis Orthia, one of the most important religious sites in the ancient city and the centre of religious rituals that we still know very little about.

The World Museum has 83 lead votive offering figurines from the sanctuary in its collection. Other findings at the sanctuary – excavated by the British School at Athens in 1906 – included figurines made of terracotta and ivory, along with masks. The sheer number of offerings found at the site demonstrates the importance of the sanctuary.

A winged female figure votive offering

A winged female figure votive offering from the Sanctuary of Artemis Orthia. Such representations are considered to be the goddess herself.

The lead figurines start to be offered around the 8th century B.C. The figurines at this time were well made, fairly thick and were cast in shapes that imitated expensive jewellery offerings, including earrings. In the following century (700-635BC) there was a boom in the different types of figurines being offered, including animals, both real and mythical, as well as representations of the goddess.

It’s at this time we see evidence of the goddess being addressed as ‘Orthia’ on pottery and tiles. Orthia is the Greek word for ‘standing’, but it also could have been the name given to the Spartan winged animal goddess of women and fertility.

Two main fragments of a decorative plaque

Two main fragments of a decorative plaque from a votive offering associated with the Sanctuary of Artemis Orthia.

In later periods there is evidence of her being referred to as ‘Artemis-Orthia’. There’s a possibility that Orthia was merged with the Greek goddess ‘Artemis’, who has similar qualities being a mistress of the animals. However in Ancient Greek art representations, Artemis is often depicted as a maiden huntress in a skirt carrying a spear. In around 635-600 BC winged goddesses were popular, as well as women wearing skirts, suggesting that both interpretations of the goddess were used by different individuals at the same time.

Figurines dating to 600-500 BC suggest an ideological shift to the Greek style Artemis, rather than Orthia. In this period deer – Artemis’ most sacred animal – are introduced, and other animals decrease in number. Other gods, including Poseidon (Artemis’ uncle) and Hermes (Artemis’ half brother) also start being used along with warriors. This is also the peak time for the number of figurines found. The shift in figurines offered coincides with the building of a second temple around 570BC and an expansion of the old temple.

Fragments of a deer, a votive offering from the Sanctuary of Artemis Orthia.

Fragments of a deer, a votive offering from the Sanctuary of Artemis Orthia. Deer are associated with the hunting goddess Artemis.

The figurines gradually become poorer quality, and many of them have not survived. Around the 3rd century AD the Romans had taken over the region and built a theatre around the temple, welcoming tourists to watch ritual displays. It is probable that the figurines became more crude as the offerings became a novelty for tourists.

View our Artemis Orthia collection >

Carpathia’s role remembered

19 July 2018 by Sam

metal nameplate with embossed lettering: SS Titanic

This week it is 100 years since RMS Carpathia was lost. The ship is of course best known for the role it played in the rescue of survivors from one of a much more famous liner – RMS Titanic.  In this guest blog, student Hannah Smith from the University of Liverpool explores the story through the nameplate of Titanic’s lifeboat No. 4:

“It is 100 years since RMS Carpathia was struck by three torpedoes from a German U-55, amid the Celtic Sea on 17 July 1918. Just six years earlier, on 15 April 1912 under the captaincy of Arthur Henry Rostron, the Cunard liner undoubtedly experienced its most memorable voyage. When Carpathia’s radio received the Titanic’s distress signal at 12.25 am she turned off her course to travel the 58 mile distance to the wreckage. From 4-8am all 705 survivors were brought aboard the Carpathia. Although sadly 1,503 people were to lose their lives in the sinking, without the Carpathia’s sense of urgency, the cold would have ultimately claimed more.  Read more…

Happy 65th birthday Edmund Gardner!

11 July 2018 by Michelle

museum staff holding up a flag with 65 on it

This specially made pilot’s flag is now flying on the Edmund Gardner.

On Monday we celebrated the 65th birthday of the pilot vessel Edmund Gardner. To mark this fact we are holding a special open day on Saturday 28 July 2018. The ship will be open between 10.30am to 4.30pm for visitors to pop in and have a look around. Some of our award winning volunteer guides will be on hand to provide a unique visitor experience as you walk through the ship.

Step back in time and imagine what it was like to sit in the saloon trying to eat your tea in rough weather, or pretend to be a pilot waiting in the sun lounge for the next vessel to board. Seize the opportunity to view the world from the bridge deck and see up close the largest object in National Museums Liverpool’s collections.  Read more…

Walton Gaol force-feeding equipment on display

5 July 2018 by Kay

Suffragette Force Feeding Apparatus

Suffragette Force Feeding Apparatus. Image © National Justice Museum

Nothing quite brings home the horror of force-feeding than seeing the actual equipment; porcelain funnel, wooden mouth gag and long rubber tube, used to inflict torture on women. This set is even more disturbing to me as it was used at Walton Gaol, Liverpool.

When I first came across the items at the National Justice Museum, Nottingham, I knew we had to bring them home to be displayed here at the Museum of Liverpool. Read more…

Teens takeover Port Sunlight!

28 June 2018 by Ann

Kids in museums takeover day

Takeover Day is a celebration of children and young people’s contributions to museums, galleries, arts organisations, archives and heritage sites. It’s a day on which they are given meaningful roles, working alongside staff and volunteers to participate in the life of the museum.  This year the pupils of Bolton School, from art gallery founder William Hesketh Lever’s hometown in Lancashire will takeover the Lady Lever Art Gallery on Sunday 1 July.

Students from year groups across the school have planned a day of music, drama, craft and creative celebration as part of their ongoing Leverhulme Festival.

Read more…

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…

Remembering the Liverpool carters

14 May 2018 by Sharon

horse statue with garlands of paper flowers draped around it

Monument to the working horse decorated with paper flowers

Every year at the Museum of Liverpool we hold an afternoon of events and activities to celebrate the work of the Liverpool carters and their horses, linked to the traditional carters’ May Day celebrations. Our 2018 event took place under a lovely blue sky. Our talks on ‘Animals in the First World War’ and ‘Liverpool Parades and Shows’ were well attended and everyone enjoyed making colourful paper flowers for our memorial ceremony.

Frank Short has supported the event every year with his display of magnificent model carts. With a family background in carting Frank has always been fascinated by both horses and carts and spends many, many hours on his models. This year he has expanded into modelling clay figures to accompany the carts – with impressive results. Read more…

From New York to London via Port Sunlight

2 May 2018 by Ann

A first glimpse of the exhibition

We’re preparing to bring a little bit of city life to Port Sunlight  and the Lady Lever Art Gallery this week as we countdown to the opening of our spring exhibition Whistler & Pennell: Etching the city on Friday 4 May.

Profiling the work of American artists; James McNeill Whistler and Joseph Pennell who made London their home, the exhibition reveals their passion, innovation and influence upon an artistic technique that at the time was in decline.

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.