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A Christmas gift from 1914

15 December 2014 by Jen

Offer of WIlliam Galvin's framed tin (2) - blog size

Framed Princes Mary gift received in 1914 by Royal Navy Stoker, William Galvin. In the bottom right of the frame you can see a piece of shrapnel that fell on the deck of his ship the HMS Lion.

Once again, (and, as usual, far sooner than those of us who haven’t finished the shopping yet had expected), we are fast approaching Christmas. A season as much associated with ideas of peace and goodwill as with gift giving and good food. Christmas presents have become an inescapable part of the season, one which many people (or at least those who are very well organised) start to think about a couple of months in advance.

In October 1914 one young girl seems to have been doing exactly that and her Christmas list was certainly more ambitious than most! Princess Mary, the 17 year old daughter of King George V, decided she wanted to send a gift to:

“every sailor afloat and every soldier at the Front”

Read more…

“We were asked to go to Australia. We didn’t even know where it was…”

12 December 2014 by Dickie

Black and white image of school children clutching dolls

Anne Swifte (nee Duxbury) far left departing for Australia in August 1950.

The Merseyside Maritime Museum exhibition On Their Own: Britain’s child migrants, tells the heart-breaking story of child migration.

Anne Swifte (nee Duxbury) was ten years old when she left her home in Ormskirk for a new life in Australia. This is her emotional story of loss and resilience…  Read more…

Rescue Ships addition to Battle of the Atlantic gallery

4 December 2014 by Jen

Brenda Shackleton on gallery with new Rescue Ships panel

Brenda Shackleton on gallery with new Rescue Ships panel

Many people are familiar with the important role the shipping convoys played during the Second World War and the dangers they faced to keep Britain supplied. Shipping provided all the oil, half of all the food, and most raw materials required by Britain. By 1939 this was 55 million tons of food and raw materials per year. The convoys were famously escorted by the Royal Navy, who worked hard to offer protection to the vital shipping, but there was another group supporting them whose role is less well known. Read more…

New advent calendar for 2014

27 November 2014 by Sam

advent calendar illustration of a winter scene with Liverpool landmarks

It’s almost time to open the first door in our popular advent calendar. Our Christmas elves (or curators, as they prefer to be called) have been working hard to find some new surprises from our collections and displays to hide behind the doors for you.

As we have been marking the centenary of the First World War with a number of exhibitions and events throughout 2014, we decided to make this the theme for the content of this year’s advent calendar.

I don’t want to spoil any surprises, but there are some really fascinating objects hidden behind the doors, which give a glimpse of how the war affected everyday people. Read more…

Family connection to Empress of Ireland inspires art student

25 November 2014 by Jen

Artwork by Jessica Cain inspired by the Empress of Ireland sinking

Artwork by Jessica Cain inspired by the Empress of Ireland sinking

One the most interesting aspects of working in museums is getting to hear people’s stories and explore the personal side of historic events, including the impact they often still have today.

The sinking of the Empress of Ireland on 29 May 1914 was one of the worst maritime disasters of the twentieth century. Though overshadowed now by the loss of Titanic and Lusitania this sinking resulted in more passenger deaths than either of those more famous tragedies, with a loss of 840 passengers and 172 members of crew. Many of the crew were from the Liverpool area so, like Titanic before it and Lusitania in the following year, the tragedy had strong local connections and was keenly felt in the city. Read more…

Watches of a couple separated by the Titanic

19 November 2014 by Jen

Gold pocket watches belonging to Thomas and Ada Hewitt

These gold watches belonged to Thomas and Ada Hewitt; they were given to each other as gifts on their wedding day in 1902

A pocket watch belonging to a Liverpool man who died in the Titanic tragedy and his wife’s fob watch have been added to the award winning Titanic and Liverpool: the untold story exhibition. Displayed next to each other, the two gold watches of Thomas Hewitt and his wife Ada were exchanged by the couple as gifts on their wedding day in September 1902. Read more…

Raise the Titanic! …to the second floor

14 November 2014 by Jen

Titanic Model Case Being Dismantled

Dismantling the case

One of National Museums Liverpool’s most iconic objects – the Titanic builder’s model, has been on the move.  It has been on display for the last 8 years in the Titanic, Lusitania and the Forgotten Empress gallery. This gallery is now closed and will open again in March 2015 as a new gallery Lusitania: Life, Loss, Legacy.  The Titanic model has been moved up to the second floor to our award winning exhibition Titanic and Liverpool: the untold story.

But hang on a minute, just imagine the preparation and planning that goes into moving a very large (6 metres long, 1 metre wide, 1 metre tall), heavy (over half a ton), old (built in 1910), fragile (some parts are made from paper and card), and valuable object like this! For the last few months, colleagues from across divisions (Registration, Curatorial, Estates Management, Ship and Historic Models Conservation, Ship Keeping and Engineering, Exhibitions, Visitor Services) have been working hard on putting in place the logistics to ensure that the model was moved in the best and safest way possible: Read more…

Crumbs! We’re all going cookie for biscuits and cakes

14 November 2014 by Stacey

a selection of tempting cakes from  the Maritime Dining Room

Like many people, this summer and autumn we were all hooked on the Great British Bake Off. The series may be over for another year, but we were all very excited in our head office when our talented team of chefs at the Maritime Dining Room gave us the chance to try our hands at being Bake Off judges ourselves, by sampling some of the cookies and cakes that they serve up for visitors. We’re always happy for an excuse to turn on the kettle and drink lots of tea but with a mini hamper of cookies, millionaires shortbread, carrot cake and chocolate fudge cake to sample, this time we had a true business reason to brew up and tuck in. Read more…

Raising the Titanic… gallery improvements get underway

23 October 2014 by Dickie

youngsters peer at ship model of Titanic

Young visitors look at our Titanic model which is being moved

It’s going to be an even busier few months then usual for staff at the Merseyside Maritime Museum, as work starts on gallery improvements. Curator of Port History Ben Whittaker explains: Read more…

OMD to ‘dazzle’ at Museum of Liverpool

20 October 2014 by Lucy

Andy McCluskey and boat

Andy McCluskey with the Dazzle Ship

On 1 and 2 November, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark are set to play two sell-out gigs at the Museum of Liverpool.

Here, Andy McCluskey of OMD tells us of the band’s links and love for Dazzle Ships:

“What began as a humble request for us to be allowed to put a musique concrete installation into the ‘dazzled’ Edmund Gardner has somehow, and rather wonderfully, escalated  into two concerts, a display case full of our history and memorabilia, and a mini film festival.  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.