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Posts tagged with 'conservation'

Tramcar 245 is launched!

18 September 2015 by Sharon

historic tram running on a tramline in Birkenhead

Tramcar 245 looking fantastic after restoration

As Curator of the Transport Collection at the Museum of Liverpool I work with a fantastic collection of vehicles, and over the years I have worked with some very special groups of people associated with these vehicles.

I first met members of the Merseyside Tramway Preservation Society (MTPS) about 18 years ago. Sitting on a restored tram at the Wirral Transport Museum they told me all about their work. I was really impressed by their skills and their enthusiasm for the work they did. When a request to restore Tramcar 245 came through from them a short while later I thought the tram couldn’t be in better hands.

Tramcar 245 has a special place in Liverpool’s transport story. Read more…

Dazzling tea cosies for the Edmund Gardner

3 September 2015 by Sam

colourful tea cosy in front of a ship painted with a similar pattern

Gina’s dazzle ship inspired tea cosy

This summer Chris Moseley, shipkeeping and models conservator, took over responsibility for the Edmund Gardner pilot ship – the largest item in our collections and probably the brightest since it was dazzled last year.

Along with 700 tons of ship he also inherited a couple of old tea pots and had a tea pot polishing competition with George, one of the volunteers on the ship. The results were so good that they decided they needed two new tea cosies, so they asked if National Museums Liverpool’s knitting group, the Knitwits, could help.

One of our knitters, Gina Couch, jumped at the chance to help, as she had a family connection to the Edmund Gardner. Her late brother Gerard, who was known as Sam by most people, worked for the Pilotage Service from 1949 to 1988, so he had worked on the Edmund Garner when it was used as a pilot vessel between 1953 and 1981.  Read more…

Tide predicting machines restored and re-displayed

26 August 2015 by Felicity

Test programming of the Roberts-Légé tide predicting machine (left to right: Steve Newman, Metals Conservation at National Museums Liverpool; Sylvia Asquith & Valerie Doodson (daughter-in-law of Arthur Doodson), both part of the original team of programmers of the machines, and Ian Vassie and Prof. Phil Woodworth, tidal scientists formerly working for the National Oceanographic Centre.

Test programming of the Roberts-Légé tide predicting machine (left to right: Steve Newman, Metals Conservation at National Museums Liverpool; Sylvia Asquith & Valerie Doodson (daughter-in-law of Arthur Doodson), both part of the original team of programmers of the machines, and Ian Vassie and Prof. Phil Woodworth, tidal scientists formerly working for the National Oceanographic Centre.

Restoring two of the most significant tide predicting machines ever built to their former working glory was a challenge recently undertaken by members of our conservation team. In this post, Steve Newman, head of metals conservation at National Museums Liverpool, talks us though the importance of the machines, which are now on display at the National Oceanographic Centre (NOC) on Brownlow Street, part of the University of Liverpool campus. Read more…

Be dazzled in half term

27 May 2015 by Jen

Carved ship before painting

A work in progress…

Are you stuck for something to do with the kids this half term?  You could take a trip on the Mersey ferry Snowdrop on 27-31 May, which has been transformed with a fantastic dazzle inspired artwork designed by Sir Peter Blake.  Dazzle was a scheme created in the First World War which saw Allied ships painted in outlandish designs to make them more difficult to target by enemy U-boats. Read more…

Behind closed doors at the Lady Lever Art Gallery South End redevelopment

8 May 2015 by Ann


I’ve been talking about our exciting project to restore and redevelop the South End galleries at the Lady Lever for quite a few months now and have been itching to get on site to see how the work is progressing.  Read more…

Restoring the Falaba painting

30 April 2015 by Sam

David Crombie with a painting on an easel with with patches of paint loss

Working on removing excess fill from the losses to bring the levels in line with the rest of the paint surface – there were a lot of big losses!

This is the last of a series following the conservation of the painting ‘Falaba’ by Gerald M Burn, to prepare it for display in the Lusitania: life, loss, legacy exhibition. In previous posts I have described the structural treatment, cleaning and lining of the painting.

Once the painting was safely re-stretched onto the wooden stretcher, the two main things left to do were to fill in the paint losses and then inpaint (or retouch) the losses to match the surrounding original paint. Filling was carried out with fine chalk mixed with a water soluble synthetic resin, giving a paste that could be applied the areas of paint loss – this was done with a small palette knife which helped to imitate some of the texture of the original paint.

Once this had dried out, the excess filler could be removed with small cotton wool swabs wetted with water. After that, I could adjust and improve the fill texture as necessary. Then came the exciting stage Read more…

Cleaning and lining the Falaba painting

22 April 2015 by David Crombie

detail of a ship painting, showing a small dark dirty area of the sky

The Falaba painting during the final stages of cleaning in the sky with nearly all of the dirt layers removed

This is the third blog in a series following the conservation of the huge painting of the Falaba, which is now on display in the exhibition Lusitania: life, loss legacy. In the last post I described the structural treatment of the painting, in order to reattach the loose paint.

Once the structural treatment was complete, the painting was turned over and cleaning could begin once the facing tissue was removed. Cleaning proved quite difficult, as the thick grime layers had previously been covered by the wax facing. Read more…

Conserving Egyptian animal mummies

17 April 2015 by Tracey

several small animal-shaped mummies on a table

A recent arrival here in the organics conservation studio is this strange little collection of Egyptian animal mummies from World Museum.

Here we have pear-shaped folded-up birds, cats with painted faces, a fish, a very small dog, crocodiles and something very neat in the shape of a miniature human mummy. Read more…

Structural treatment of the ‘Falaba’ painting

16 April 2015 by David Crombie

large painting lying flat on a table with a protective cover

To stretch it, the protected painting was placed face-up within a wooden loom frame on the multi-purpose lining table before wetted brown paper strips were attached around all four sides. As these were drying, the table was set to provide moisture underneath the canvas to relax it slightly during the stretching process.

Curator Ellie Moffat recently blogged about the centenary of the sinking of the ‘Falaba’ during the First World War. In her blog post she mentioned the large painting of Falaba which has just gone on display in the exhibition Lusitania: life, loss, legacy.

Preparing the painting for display was quite a large job, not just because of its size, but also because it was not in a very good condition after suffering water damage many years ago.  Read more…

A visit to the World Museum, organics department

9 April 2015 by Ann


People share a tremendous enthusiasm and passion for our collections across the world. One of the less visible sides of curators’  and conservators’ work is the facilitation of access to our collections for the purposes of different types of study and research. Gary Haverty is an MA student at the University of Galloway in Ireland and here he talks about his passion for studying Consular Ivory Diptychs and what he gained from examining closely the important examples from our collections.

“Some of the unsung wonders of the ancient world lie shrouded in the organics conservation studio of World Museum. I first became interested in consular ivory diptychs as a Classics postgraduate with an interest in art history. While unpicking the tapestry of scholarship from scholars such as Alan Cameron and Anthony Cutler, I began to uncover some powerful and colourful insights into the social and political lives of the Roman Consul. Driven by an appetite, for not just the facts and figures, but to subject these commemorative objects to autopsy, I contacted Dr Chrissy Partheni, Curator of Classical Antiquities. Read more…

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