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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…

A window of Remembrance

26 November 2014 by Lucy

Photo of First World War window display

Catherine Mooney makes the finishing touches to her First World War window display

The Museum of Liverpool has teamed up with the Hugh Baird University Centre to create a unique Christmas window display to commemorate the First World War.

We tasked first year undergraduates on the Foundation Degree in Visual Merchandising and Promotional Design– validated by the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) – to create a visual display in our shop window to reflect our First World War exhibitions.

Students were asked to create designs based on subjects including ‘Home for Christmas’, ‘Women at War’ and ‘The Christmas Truce’.

Catherine Mooney was chosen to produce the display which can be seen by visitors until the end of January 2015.

Here, Catherine explains the background behind her design proposal:

During my research for the Museum of Liverpool’s First World War window, I felt it was important to signify the great loss suffered by the city. 13,000 people from Liverpool lost their lives and many more were affected by the war. I obtained a copy of the First World War Memorial Roll of Honour of Liverpool’s Military War Dead, which is displayed in the Hall of Remembrance at Liverpool Town Hall. It lists more than 13,000 names of fallen soldiers. The names are an integral part of my design proposal and are intended to make an emotional connection with the viewer, juxtaposing the sentiment of families at Christmas with the memories of all those who were lost through the tragedy of The Great War.

A main element of my design proposal is the use of an army camouflage net as a backdrop. Camouflage netting was first used in the First World War and was made by women to help protect their loved one during battle. Handwritten labels representing each person lost will be tied on with red ribbon, with the aim of evoking the notion of present giving at Christmas time. The names signify those who didn’t return home for Christmas and act as a personal remembrance for those who were lost.

I have incorporated the Museum’s merchandise into my design by developing a Christmas tree idea made from books stacked to form a tree-like shape. The merchandise can be placed on top and used like a plinth to display the stock. I was inspired by the fact it was virtually impossible to obtain a Christmas tree during the war, so people were creative in using whatever materials they could find and ‘made do’.

Christmas is when families traditionally spend time together and exchange presents. It is also a time to remember those who are no longer with us. My design proposal intends to produce a window that will evoke these feelings and act as remembrance to Liverpool’s fallen during the centenary year of the outbreak of the First World War.


Every item purchased in the Museum of Liverpool shop supports National Museums Liverpool, with all profit made going straight back into the organisation.

Many Christmas gifts are available, including a First World War selection inspired by the Museum of Liverpool’s current exhibitions.

Studying the Vikings

24 November 2014 by Liz

looking at the hoard

Each year the Huxley Hoard of Viking Silver makes a special outing from its display case to be studied by students from the University of Liverpool’s Irish Studies department. Read more…

The ‘Thomas Splint’ – UK Disability History Month

21 November 2014 by Kay

Splint with long sticks and padded ends for attaching to a leg, in museum display case

The Thomas Splint on display in the Museum of Liverpool. Lent by the Thackray Museum, Leeds

The theme of this year’s UK Disability History Month, 22 November – 22 December, is War and Impairment: The Social Consequences of Disablement.

With the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War, the treatment of war disabled people casts a long shadow, with the unprecedented number of newly disabled people created by the world’s first industrial and total war.

We have on display in The People’s Republic gallery, Museum of Liverpool, this splint known as a ‘Thomas Splint’ after its inventor Hugh Owen Thomas (1834 – 1891). Thomas was a surgeon from North Wales, who treated many people in Liverpool’s slums.  Read more…

“An inspiration to the people of Liverpool and beyond”

19 November 2014 by Lucy Johnson

Framed painting of Edward RushtonNick Young, teacher from the Royal School for the Blind, tells us about how Edward Rushton, whose story is currently being told in Unsung displays and events across the city as part of DadaFest International 2014, continues to be an inspiration to the school:

“Every family has its treasures and keepsakes that remind them of where they have come from and possibly point a way to the future. The legacy of Edward Rushton is no exception. Our school is rightly proud to have Rushton amongst its founders. His philanthropy, philosophy and integrity in the face of opposition, particularly in relation to the slave trade, remain an inspiration to the people of Liverpool and beyond. Read more…

Top three Liverpool gifts for Christmas

17 November 2014 by Stacey

Front cover imageWith Christmas a matter of weeks away our Museum of Liverpool shop team has selected their top three Liverpool gifts to help take the stress out of present-hunting for all true and honorary Scousers. Our top three Liverpool gifts are… Read more…

New Brighton – mecca for photographers

17 November 2014 by Sam

old photograph of families taking donkey rides on New Brighton beach

Keith Medley Archive Liverpool John Moores University

In many ways New Brighton is no different from many other seaside towns. In its heyday it was a bustling resort with people outnumbering pebbles on the beach. This glorious time is captured in fantastic photographs from the Keith Medley archive at Liverpool John Moores University, which are now on display in the Our day out exhibition at the Museum of Liverpool. The photographs are accompanied by reminiscences by Liverpool people of visiting the resort, getting sand in your sandwiches, wearing knotted hankies on your head to avoid getting burnt and dashing for the last ferry home.

These fond memories are perhaps even more poignant when you consider the changes of fortune that have affected New Brighton since those golden days. Read more…

Edward Rushton’s legacy

13 November 2014 by Lucy Johnson

An illustration of the school at its first site on Commutation RowThe work of human rights activist Edward Rushton (1756 – 1814) is celebrated in new displays at the International Slavery Museum, the Museum of Liverpool and the Victoria Gallery and Museum.

One of Rushton’s most significant achievements was setting up Liverpool’s Royal School for Blind. Nick Young, a current teacher at the school, will be blogging for us over the next few months. Here Nick tells us more about the history of the school: Read more…

Celebrating Liverpool’s Jewish Community

10 November 2014 by Kay

wall of plaques being revealed from behind a curtain

Yesterday I attended a special unveiling of heritage plaques relating to Liverpool’s Jewish Community at King David School, Childwall.

As part of the project, run by The King David and Harold House Foundation, the commemorative plaques and foundation stones were rescued from the Liverpool Hebrew School, the King David High and Primary Schools and Harold House, dating back to 1841. Intricate resin copies were produced for the display. Read more…

Radical Liverpool in art

3 November 2014 by Kay

Painting of Rushton holding blinded people and a figure who has broken free from chains

Detail of the dome mural by Mick Jones, showing Edward Rushton

I recently visited the Liverpool Biennial group show at the Liverpool School for the Blind building, Hardman Street, just before it closed. It was a rare chance to see inside the building (normally closed to the public), particularly the large mural, painted by Mick Jones in the early 1980s when the building was the Merseyside Trade Union Community and Unemployed Resource Centre.

I was especially interested in the mural as we have a large painting ‘Unemployment on Merseyside – Campaigning for the Right to Work’, also by Mick, on display in The People’s Republic gallery which was commissioned by the Museum of Liverpool Life in 1993. 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.