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Don’t be fooled by fakes this Christmas!

7 December 2018 by Lisa Middleton

make up with 'Fake' stamped over the image

As the festive shopping frenzy continues, staff at the Seized! gallery are warning people not to be fooled by fakes.

The Seized! gallery – based in the Merseyside Maritime Museum at the Royal Albert Dock Liverpool – includes fakes that have been seized by the Border Force, from lice-infested make up brushes to rubbish electricals, fake goods are not the presents you want this Christmas.

The lure of fake goods is that they’re often cheaper. They’re invariably made to look like the real thing, but in the case of electronics, they won’t contain the same parts or be built to EU safety standards, which can be dangerous. Read more…

Vote for women in our advent calendar!

29 November 2018 by Sam

illustration of a wintery scene including Liverpool landmarks

Each December we count down the days to Christmas with the National Museums Liverpool advent calendar. There’s a different surprise from our collections and exhibitions behind each door, with a new theme each year. Throughout 2018 we have been involved with a number of special events in our museums and across the city of Liverpool to mark 100 years since the passing of the Representation of the People Act, which gave some women over the age of 30 the right to vote for the first time. So to celebrate the end of this significant year, we felt that a fitting theme for this year’s advent calendar would be women.

Naturally, I don’t want to spoil any of the surprises hidden behind the doors on the advent calendar, but I can tell you that there are some remarkable stories of a variety of pioneering women from across the ages, including scientists, artists and trailblazers, both from Liverpool and further afield. There will be names that you know and some that you are less familiar with, including a few surprises from our stores and archives which are not usually on display.

So don’t forget to open our advent calendar at www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/advent each day from 1 to 24 December.

If you can’t wait until December to find out about some of the inspiring women in our collections, then you can always visit the Taking liberties: women’s suffrage in Liverpool display at the Museum of Liverpool (don’t worry – it doesn’t contain any spoilers, we have plenty of other great stories to share with you!) Or take a look at the Christmas pages on our website for details of our free events, opening hours over the holidays, Christmas dining, gift ideas and more to get you in the festive spirit.

Maritime Archives and Library refurbishment

19 November 2018 by Vicki Caren

old arched doorway into empty room with some rubble on the floor

New entrance to the Maritime Archives and Library during the refurbishment, with a view through the library space towards the Three Graces on the waterfront

As part of the Sea Galleries development at Merseyside Maritime Museum, the Maritime Archives and Library has been closed for refurbishment. Works are currently underway to reconfigure the public search room and staff office.

The improved facilities will see the creation of a new entrance, utilising the original features of this listed dock warehouse. A spacious entrance area will also contain exhibition cases to showcase some of the treasures from the archive collections, along with a touchscreen allowing access to our information sheets and research guides outside of our opening hours.  Read more…

Helen Woolstencroft: from migration to me

30 October 2018 by Stephen Carl-Lokko

Dress with family photographs printed on the fabric

Detail of Helen’s dress ‘Eva’.

In this guest blog for the Sankofa project and as part of Black History Month, artist Helen Woolstencroft reveals how family and history play an important role in her sense of identity as an artist. In this moving tribute to her grandparents,  Helen tells us about the source of inspiration for her work:

“From a young age, I was always curious about my family. Being of mixed race heritage, I always wanted to know where I fit into the world. I was captivated by my Grandad Lionel, and always wondered what his life was like in Barbados before he came to England during the Second World War.  Read more…

A glimpse into the life of a historic seafarer for World Mental Health Day

10 October 2018 by Jen

Logo compromised of a lifebelt and phone receiver to look like an old fashioned phone with text giving the e-mail address for SeafarerHelp

SeafarerHelp run a free, confidential, multilingual helpline for seafarers and their families, offering support with whatever issues they may be facing. You can find a link to their website at the bottom of this page.

Earlier this year I wrote about a romantic story from the journals of young Captain William Porter, from the 1860s. He was dearly missing his wife, Bess, when he discovered, weeks out to sea, that she’d hidden a letter to him among his belongings.

This sweet story about William and Bess was not however what had drawn me to the journals in the first place. It was a rather less happy strand to his writing that had caught my eye on the summary transcript. I had been researching in the Archives for historic references to struggles with mental health, or simply the loneliness and isolation we know are often a part of life at sea. In the summary for William’s journals there were certainly mentions of loneliness, but also repeated references to worry about a variety of things and a note of a New Year’s Eve entry that particularly spoke about his state of mind. Read more…

Giant stories all year round in our Titanic exhibition!

3 October 2018 by Sam

Enormous wooden puppet of a diver, standing in the water by the Albert Dock

The Giant first arrived in Salthouse Dock back in April 2012. Photo © Pete Carr

With the discovery of a mysterious giant sandal last night, which is now suspended over the Canning Dock nearby, anticipation is building for the Giant Spectacular event in Liverpool this weekend. This will be the third and final time that the Royal de Luxe will take over the city to enchant and delight us with their epic tales. However did you know that their first visit to Liverpool back in 2012 was inspired by a simple letter from our Maritime ArchivesRead more…

Hands Across The Ocean, a guest blog from visiting author Deborah Heiligman

26 September 2018 by Jen

Deborah Heiligman with Sonia Bech Williams, child survivor of the sinking of the City of Benares, outside Sonia's childhood home.

Deborah Heiligman with Sonia Bech Williams, child survivor of the sinking of the City of Benares, outside Sonia’s childhood home.

Earlier this year I met with American author Deborah Heiligman, who’s working on a new children’s book about the sinking of the City of Benares in World War II. It was lovely to meet her and exchange information on this fascinating story and she’s now been kind enough to write a blog for us talking about her research and what drew her to the City of Benares: Read more…

Teacher’s Evening – Get Involved!

24 September 2018 by Matt

Children in Museum

School visit

Want your class to experience a bit of hard work – Victorian style?  Ever fancied packing them off permanently on a ship to faraway climes?  Here’s your opportunity to find out how we can make this happen! Read more…

A woman navigating a STEM career in the 18th century

31 August 2018 by Jen

Image of double reflecting octant, an 18th century navigation tool

Double reflecting octant made by Ann Smith of Liverpool c. 1788-1800. – MMM.2007.173

From the earliest ocean going craft to today’s enormous container ships, navigation has been key to the history of seafaring. The ability to plot your position on a chart relative to where you were going has long been an essential part of safe passage. The science of navigation has improved seafaring, has saved lives, and has helped human beings to map the world with ever greater accuracy. The object pictured here is a Double Reflecting Octant, in its day the most accurate way to plot a ship’s latitude ever invented. This particular Octant dates from around the end of the 18th century and was made right here in Liverpool by Ann Smith, who ran a navigation shop in Pool Lane. Read more…

Mauretania – the glory of the Mersey

27 July 2018 by Ellie

Saturday 28 July 2018 marks the 80th anniversary of the launch of  Mauretania, the second Cunard liner to bear the name – the first having enjoyed a long and successful career. She was built at Cammell Laird’s in Birkenhead, and was the largest transatlantic liner built on the Mersey.

Church service for Mauretania

Image courtesy Cunard

On Monday Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth was here in Liverpool, and I was fortunate enough to attend a service at St Nick’s to celebrate this anniversary, organised by Liverpool Parish Church in partnership with Cunard and Cammell Laird. 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.