Blog

Royal School for the Blind, today

17 December 2014 by Lucy Johnson

A photograph of a young girl who attends the Royal School for the BlindAn admissions register from 1791 which lists the first pupils to attend Liverpool’s Royal School for the Blind is currently on display at the Museum of Liverpool. It is part of Unsung, a display which celebrates the life of Edward Rushton, a human rights activist who started the campaign to set up the school. Teacher Nick Young gives us an insight into the ongoing work of the school today:

Nick Young: “More than two centuries of educating the visually impaired have placed the Royal School for the Blind, Liverpool as one of the leading schools of its kind. The school was founded in 1791 by Edward Rushton and was the first such school in Britain, second only to Paris in the world. Read more…

UK Disability History Month – Artist, Peter N Spencer (1924 – 1987)

11 December 2014 by Kay

MOL.2011.93.1This is our second feature for UK Disability History Month, 2014. This year’s theme is War and Impairment: The Social Consequences of Disablement.

Peter Spencer, a well-known foot and mouth artist, painted this image of a Starways Viscount aircraft in flight in 1964. Peter had been a pilot during the Second World War and lost the use of his arms and hands following an aircraft accident 27 March 1945.

With great dedication and endurance, he learned to paint and to draw holding the brush in his mouth. His works were exhibited widely and he was awarded an MBE in 1980 for his human and artistic achievements.
Read more…

Funding award to highlight LGBT collections

4 December 2014 by Lucy

Image of man sitting in front of David Hockney painting

‘David Hockney: Early reflections’ exhibition at the Walker Art Gallery

We are delighted to announce that National Museums Liverpool has been awarded a significant grant to fund research into its Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) collections in its art galleries and urban history items at the Museum of Liverpool.

The £91,863 grant from the Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund will be used to support the ‘Pride and Prejudice’ project, which we will develop with partner Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove, based within one of the UK’s most prominent LGBT communities.

‘Pride and Prejudice’ is a two-year project, that will tackle the challenges faced across the museum sector, by realising the full potential of LGBT collections to ensure that objects and stories within these collections are fully researched, sensitively interpreted and made accessible online and through display to a wide and diverse audience. Read more…

Teen Takeover Day

4 December 2014 by Sam

students visiting the Piermaster's House

Students on a visit to plan their takeover day

Next week the Museum of Liverpool is being taken over for a special afternoon of events run by local students. We asked their assistant headteacher what to expect:

“For the past few months, students from Weatherhead High School have been working in partnership with the Museum of Liverpool organising a Teen Takeover Day, which will take place on Wednesday 10 December, 2014, 1-3pm.

The event is packed full of fun activities for all ages including special performances from singers and dancers who are all Weatherhead High School students. There will also be a football quiz and trail. Read more…

Polish Christmas festivities

4 December 2014 by Lucy

Image of poster

Details on Polish Christmas activities

There are more than 10,000 Polish people living in Merseyside, and we are really pleased to be involved in their Christmas celebrations this year, working with Polish community group Merseyside Polonia, to put on some fantastic activities at the Museum of Liverpool and Sudley House.

Christmas in Poland is a truly magical and important time of year. Poles are famous for their hospitality, especially at Christmas when strangers are welcomed to share ‘Wigilia’ (the Polish word for Christmas Eve meaning ‘to await’ in Latin) and an additional seat is always left at the table for someone unknown. Read more…

World AIDS Day

1 December 2014 by Kay

red ribbon in the Museum of Liverpool window

Today, Monday 1 December, is World AIDS Day. The day is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died. Merseyside has supported World AIDS Day every year since it started in 1988 with events to show solidarity with people here and all over the world.

The universal symbol of awareness and support for people living with HIV is the Red Ribbon. It was designed in 1991 by Visual AIDS, a New York based group of artist HIV activists. It was the first time a ribbon was used to raise public awareness. 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…

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…

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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.