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Online collections – Lusitania and Liverpool’s First World War at sea

6 May 2016 by Ellie

Dry-point etching on paper of RMS Lusitania

1987.306 Lusitania in the Mersey, by W L Wyllie

This time last year, RMS Lusitania was a focus of local, national and international attention as we marked 100 years since the sinking of this famous Cunard ship on 7 May 1915. Read more…

Remembering victims of the May Blitz, 1941

4 May 2016 by Claire

tinted portrait on a mirror

Mirror featuring image of Peter Johnson, aged 15

Here at Museum of Liverpool, we receive many generous, interesting, and often poignant donations of objects to our collections. Recently, we were contacted by a lady called Janet, who wished to kindly donate items that had originally belonged to her late grandmother, Margaret Johnson. The items relate to Margaret’s children who were tragically killed in the May Blitz, the most concentrated series of air attacks on any British city area outside London during the Second World War. Read more…

Lusitania families reunited

3 May 2016 by Sam

two women

Joyce Percival and Mary Jones at the Lusitania commemoration in 2015

Every year on 7 May Merseyside Maritime Museum marks the anniversary of the tragic loss of the Lusitania with a commemoration and minute’s silence at the quayside, by one of the ship’s propellers which is now part of our collection.

For the centenary of the sinking in 2015 there was also a special service at Liverpool Parish Church Our Lady and St Nicholas. The service included an unexpected twist for Mary Jones, who attended in memory of her great grandfather Michael Cooney, a fireman in the engineering department on board the Lusitania who lost his life in the tragedy, along with his son, also called Michael. Read more…

The Kingston Brooch – a very lucky evacuee

3 May 2016 by Emma Martin

The Kingston Brooch is one of the most elaborate pieces of Anglo-Saxon jewellery ever found in England.

The Kingston Brooch is one of the most elaborate pieces of Anglo-Saxon jewellery ever found in England.

On 3 May 1941, exactly 75 years go, Liverpool endured the heaviest bombing of the May Blitz. The bombardment, which ran from 1 to 7 May, saw Liverpool (now World) Museum almost destroyed.

Our online exhibition Bombed Out! World Museum and the Blitz commemorates the event. As devastating as the raid was, thankfully, as Lolo in this blog describes, there were some very fortunate evacuees! Read more…

Bootle’s May Queen

2 May 2016 by Laura

Girl in white dress

Edna May Fairweather, 1931

You must wake and call me early, call me early, mother dear;
To-morrow ’ll be the happiest time of all the glad new-year,—
Of all the glad new-year, mother, the maddest, merriest day;
For I ’m to be Queen o’ the May, mother, I ’m to be Queen o’ the May.

Read more…

Art and the Sea gallery rehang now on display

29 April 2016 by Sam Vaux

Painting of Vittoria Docks in Birkenhead, Wirral

Vittoria Docks, Birkenhead, Wirral, 1919, John Worsley © the artist’s estate

The Art and the Sea gallery at the Merseyside Maritime Museum has been a hive of activity this week with a rehang of a collection of fourteen maritime paintings; some from the existing collection or only rarely displayed, and one which hasn’t been on public display before. Curator of Maritime Art, Rebecca Smith reveals the history behind some of these works.

Liverpool in its heyday caused it to be regarded as a mecca for those with maritime aspirations of any sort’, Sam Davidson, maritime art historian

Read more…

Don Pedro: the elephant that died twice

22 April 2016 by Emma Martin

Don Pedro (the elephant) standing proud at the centre of the Upper Horseshoe Gallery before 3 May 1941

Don Pedro (the elephant) standing proud at the centre of the Upper Horseshoe Gallery before 3 May 1941

University of Manchester student Lolo is working on our new online exhibition that will be launched 3 May. Here’s his latest blog on some of the objects and specimens that feature in it.

“Many of you may already know that the King of Prussia Jug was one of the Blitz survivors. But not all the stories relating to the museum’s objects and specimens had a happy ending. There were also hundreds if not thousands of casualties. I was very upset when we heard about the sad story of Don Pedro, a male Indian elephant once in the zoology collection. They say cats have nine lives, but poor Don Pedro had just two. Read more…

When Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun met Emma Hamilton

15 April 2016 by Xanthe

painting of a woman holding a tambourine

‘Lady Hamilton as a Bacchante’ by Elisabeth-Louise Vigée Le Brun

We know quite a lot about Vigée Le Brun’s portrait of Emma Hamilton, and what she thought of Emma, because in the mid 1820s, towards the end of a long painting career of more than 50 years, she decided to write up her diaries and publish them as memoirs in 1836-37.

Vigée first met Emma when the artist arrived in Naples in 1790, having fled Paris with her 9 year old daughter, at the start of the French Revolution in 1789. Vigée was given refuge by the Queen of Naples, the sister of the French Queen Marie-Antoinette, whose favourite portrait painter was Vigée. When she fled Paris she left her art-dealer husband, Jean-Baptiste Le Brun, behind to protect the family house and studio contents. He was later forced by the French Revolutionary government to divorce her to retain their property. She spent the next 12 years travelling around the courts of continental Europe visiting cities in Italy, Austria and Russia, making a successful living by painting portraits of royalty, aristocrats and their courtiers.  Read more…

Hillsborough tributes join Museum of Liverpool collection

14 April 2016 by Laura

Two people and painting

Artist Christian Hook and actress Sue Johnston with the painting

Two new objects, which have recently joined the Museum of Liverpool’s collection, have gone on display to mark the 27th anniversary of the Hillsborough tragedy (15 April). Read more…

Liverpool and the American Civil War

12 April 2016 by Sarah Starkey

Photograph of Captain Semmes on board the ship Alabama, 1863.

One of our rare photographs taken on board the Liverpool built Confederate ship Alabama, 1863.

This week sees the anniversary of the beginning of the American Civil War on 12th April 1861.  At first glance not a topic that has much to do with Liverpool.  However, because of the economic and global environment of the time, especially the importance to Great Britain of cotton, Liverpool played a major role in the conflict. 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.