Our venues


Posts tagged with 'World Museum 150th anniversary'

Schools get a closer look in 1884

7 May 2010 by Lisa

Woman holding a bird skeleton

To continue our series of blogs celebrating the World Museum’s 150th anniversary, we’re looking into the archives at an important development in the museum’s educational program.

On the 6 May 1884, the museum became the first in the country have a loans service for schools. From our records, written by Rev. Henry Higgins the Chairman of the museum, we can see that:

‘…a communication was made from the Committee of the Library, Museum, and Gallery of Art, inquiring if duplicate specimens in the Museum could be used for educational purposes in connection with the Liverpool School Board.’ Read more…

History of World Museum Liverpool

6 May 2010 by Kay C

Thursday 6 May is the day people have been talking about all across Liverpool: it’s the day our public lecture series features the history of World Museum Liverpool.

Liverpool’s Museum – The First 150 Years is the first of three great talks lined up for this afternoon’s session. Presented by our Executive Director of Collections, John Millard, the event starts at 2pm in the Treasure House Theatre, World Museum, and is part of our celebrations in the museum’s 150th anniversary year. Read more…

On this day in 2005

29 April 2010 by Lisa

Continuing our celebration of World Museum’s 150th anniversary, today we are looking back to 2005 when we had some exciting new developments completed at the museum…

Man and children cutting ribbon at the door of the museum

Lloyd Grossman and visitors at the museum re-opening.

On this day in 2005, the new entrance, atrium, displays, cafés and shop opened at the World Museum and here is one review that was from Liverpool’s Nerve magazine:

‘The refurbished £35 million museum now promises a view of the world ‘from the oceans to the stars’. Access has been much improved; the entrance is now at ground level instead of up dozens of steps. This leads into the stunning new glass atrium where the old museum connects to the extension in the former John Moores University building, where most of the new galleries are located. The renovation has also seen the reopening of galleries that had been closed since the museum was bombed in World War II. The old mish-mash of exhibits has been replaced by clearly defined new sections: ‘Space and Time’, ‘Natural World’, ‘Human World’, and ‘Earth’. Read more…

From pyramids to underwater exploration

29 April 2010 by Kay C

Have you been catching the latest tweets?

Our Public Lecture Series on Thursday afternoons at World Museum got off to a flying start last week. It continues today, with two great topics: at 2pm – The Recovery of a Fragment of an Egyptian Pyramid; and 2.30pm – Raywatch: Angling for Data. The talks will take place in the Treasure House Theatre and admission is free. See you later!

Save The Frogs!

23 April 2010 by Lisa

Have we ever had a ‘frog blog’ story on our blog before? I don’t think we have! To continue our series of blogs celebrating the World Museum’s 150th anniversary, we’ve got some news from our resident frog fanatic and Aquarist, Phil Lewis. Read on to find out what he’s currently working on at the museum…

Save the Frogs is an international team of scientists, educators, policymakers and naturalists dedicated to protecting the worlds amphibian species: the frogs, toads, newts, salamanders and ceacilians.  It is the first and only public charity dedicated exclusively to amphibian conservation. Read more…

Something for Thursdays

21 April 2010 by Kay C

Thursday afternoons are never going to be the same again…

I am really excited about our new Spring 2010 Public Lecture Series, which kicks off tomorrow (April 22). It’s being held at the Treasure House Theatre, World Museum, and features a selection of subjects from our museums and galleries’ collections and exhibitions, from archaeology to contemporary slavery.

For the next four Thursdays, our curators will be talking about some of the fascinating things they have researched. Read more…

Laying the foundations

15 April 2010 by Lisa

I think you’ll agree that there’s nothing like a gentleman in a top hat and tails – it’s truly a stylish and dapper fashion statement. The guys below are all dressed up for a special occasion, so let’s look at the archives – for our celebration of the World Museum’s 150th anniversary – and see what they were up to on this day in 1857…

Old photo of men moving a large foundation stone

Laying the foundations for a great museum!

On 15 April 1857, William Brown laid the foundation stone of the new museum and library – the beginnings of the building in which World Museum is now housed. The records show that:

‘…a select party breakfasted in the Town Hall, with Samuel Holmes Esq, Deputy Mayor.  At half past ten, a numerous company assembled in the large ball-room…

At the close of the Presentation of Addresses, a Procession was formed, which moved through the principal streets to the site of the intended building…’

Those listed in the procession were;

‘Police of the Fire Brigade, Band of the Bluecoat Hospital, Members of the Arrangement Committee, the Bishop, Alderman Home,  W M Brown Esq, M.P. (Deputy Mayor.) Invited Guests, Magistrates of the Borough, Aldermen and Town Councillors. Gentlemen who presented the Addresses, Deputations, Other Gentlemen Present.’

‘They marched three abreast, through Castle Street, Lord Street, Church Street, Parker Street, and Lime Street, to Shaw’s Brow.  Thousands of spectators lined both sides of the streets; and both private houses and public buildings were profusely decorated with flags.  The bells of the Parish Church rang out merry peals. As Mr. Brown emerged from the Town Hall the Band struck up ‘See the Conquering Hero Come’.’

The American author, Nathaniel Hawthorne, was there and described the laying of the museum’s foundation stone;

‘Mr. Browne himself, the hero of the day, was the plainest and simplest man of all. An exceedingly unpretending gentleman in black; small, white-haired, pale, quiet, and respectable. I rather wondered why he chose to be the centre of all this ceremony; for he did not seem either particularly to enjoy it, or to be at all incommoded by it, as a more nervous and susceptible man might have been.

The site of the projected edifice is on one of the streets bordering on St. George’s Hall and when we came within the enclosure, the corner-stone, a large square of red freestone, was already suspended over its destined place. It has a brass plate let into it, with an inscription…’

They certainly laid the foundations for a great museum and it sounds like it was a ceremony worthy of putting on your Sunday Best! Read more…

William Brown gets a 150th anniversary outing

8 April 2010 by Lisa

Do remember our previous post about the William Brown bust getting a good spring clean? This was part of our World Museum 150th anniversary celebrations on the blog, and we’re continuing the series this week with an update about the bust by our Executive Director of Collections Management, John Millard.

White marble bust of a man's head and shoulders

William Brown in his new home

For as long as anyone can remember a marble bust of William Brown has languished in a store at the Walker Art Gallery, and it didn’t look very happy.  It got some careful attention at our National Conservation Centre and now it has finally been put on show.

The bust features in a special display in the atrium of World Museum.  It commemorates the 150th anniversary of William Brown handing over Liverpool’s museum and library building to the Lord Mayor of the city in 1860.  Brown spent £40,000 on the building of the museum and library, and the street was renamed William Brown Street in thanks for his generosity. Read more…

Mummy unwrapped!

30 March 2010 by Lisa

For this week’s blog in our World Museum 150th anniversary series, we’re looking at the grisly but fascinating world of mummies! Let’s look at the archives from this day in 1903 and see what happened…

On 30 March 1903 the director of the museum, Henry O. Forbes, gave a lecture entitled ‘The Mummy’, which included the unwrapping of a mummy. It was the mummy of a lady named Auf-aa of the XXVI. Dynasty (660-590BC) and it was unwrapped before the audience to illustrate his lecture. The face was found in a remarkable state of preservation, the hands crossed upon the breast, but the flesh had apparently been removed from the limbs before enswathement of the body.  The beautifully manufactured cloth in which it was wrapped, however, had been used for another mummy at a much earlier date. Three lectures on ‘Egyptian Antiquities’ were also given by the Director of Museums, from 16 to 30 March that year.


A mummy in a coffin

The Mummy of Nesmin, Dynasty 30 (about 380-343 BC), at the World Museum today


You can see fantastic examples of mummies in our Ancient Egypt gallery today and if you can’t get to the museum you can have a go at our ‘Escape from the mummy’s tomb!’ game

Harold Wilson’s visit

26 March 2010 by Lisa

Black and white photo of interior of museum after being bombed

The museum after being bombed

This week we were looking back into the World Museum archives to celebrate our 150th year and we found a record of an especially important visitor from 25 March 1966…

Prime Minister Harold Wilson opened the first phase of rebuilding the museum after large parts were destroyed by a bomb in 1941. A headline from this day read ‘Museum Ceremony A Pleasant Respite, Says Wilson’, with the following article:

‘Mr Harold Wilson yesterday took an hour off his election campaign to open the £280,000 first phase of the rebuilding of Liverpool’s museum, blitzed in 1941.
Mr. Wilson was presented by Alderman William Sefton (leader of the city council) with a replica, made in the museum of a bronze plaque from the palace in the Nigerian city of Benin.’

The museum’s annual report also covered the event:

‘The great event of the year was the opening of the first phase of reconstruction on March 25th 196[6] by the Prime Minister.  This is a relatively small part of the whole museum as it will eventually be. The Aquarium, covering fresh and salt water, as well as tropical fish, was included as a highly popular display which always fascinates visitors. Local history in the form of displays on various facets of city life helps to put the changing character of Liverpool into perspective and an outline history of the development of the ship shows something of the knowledge and experience which led to the growth of our great shipping industry. An exhibition of choice specimens from the primitive, applied and decorative arts gives objects to be enjoyed for their intrinsic colour and beauty and a geological portrayal of life before man gives a proper sense of time, starting as it does some five million years ago.  In every gallery the aim has been to provide aesthetically attractive displays which are yet informative and interesting.

The second phase of building is already well under way structurally, and will include new features in the transport and astronomical galleries, and the planetarium; plans for the rest of the new building are being prepared.’

We’re still working on making our museum even better for our visitors, with several new developments happening recently, such as the refurbished Ancient Egypt gallery and the new Ancient Greece display. There’s always work to be done!
Read more…

About our blog

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.




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.