Blog

Conservators make Blitz survivor rise again

16 October 2019 by Jen

Conservator Dave Parsons hard at work on Arandora Star - 40.26

Conservator Dave Parsons hard at work on Arandora Star – 40.26

Here at National Museums Liverpool we’re lucky to be the keepers of some long held collections. The Merseyside Maritime Museum may only have opened its doors in 1986 but our collection goes back much further than that. In fact the Maritime Museum grew out of the old Liverpool Museum (now known as World Museum).

A collection this old and vast always has more surprises waiting for us and sometimes an object’s history with the museum can be just as exciting as its time before it joined us. Our museums and galleries have led some pretty exciting lives themselves, especially the older ones, and of all of them the World Museum has been welcoming visitors through its doors for the longest. The building’s got a fascinating history and so have the collections it has housed, including many of the older ship models in the Maritime collections. Read more…

Who is Taki Katei?

15 October 2019 by Alex Blakeborough

‘Drawing on Nature: Taki Katei’s Japan’ is now on at Word Museum, but who is Taki Katei? Here are our top ten facts about this forgotten master!

Taki Katei

Photograph of Taki Katei, 1890s. Reproduced from Murayama Jungo, Taki Katei shōden (Tokyo: Kokkasha, 1906)

Read more…

What does World Cultures mean to you?

20 September 2019 by Emma Martin

We are curious. We want to know what the words ‘World Cultures’ mean to you? It is the name of World Museum’s biggest gallery, but does it really display the world? In May 2019, as we began the process of changing the World Cultures gallery we asked visitors to share their thoughts on that very question: What does World Cultures mean to you? We’ve received nearly 200 replies, so a big ‘Thank You’ if you took the time to post your comments. While each postcard was written from a personal point of view, we wanted to see if your responses had things in common that could help us make sense of what visitors get from a visit to the ‘World Cultures’ gallery. We have read and digitally scanned every card and with the help of Tim Medland, a University of Leicester MA student, we have identified a number of themes and words that appear regularly in your responses, which you can see in Tim’s word cloud. Read more…

Walking for Health

9 September 2019 by Steven Williams

Walking tour
Every Friday morning, a small group of intrepid folk meet at the World Museum on William Brown Street and head out for an hour’s walk around the city centre. For over 10 years now, National Museums Liverpool has been encouraging people to be more active with its support of the local Walking for Health scheme.

Read more…

Discover the story behind the photograph

30 August 2019 by Matt Smith

We caught up with award-winning astro-photographer Mark McNeill (and his daughter Maisy) when they visited the Astronomy Photographer of the Year exhibition recently.

Mark’s stunning image, ‘Me versus the Galaxy’ won high commendation in the People and Space category of the competition. Here he tells the story behind this fantastic example of astrophotography.

“When we first arrived (at Sycamore Gap, Northumberland) the moon was in the air, with all sorts of satellites and shooting stars going over. I set my tripod up to do a time-lapse taking a photo every second. I was running up, lighting the tree with a torch to see what it looked like, so it’s actually me you see in the photo, it adds a little bit of scale and tells a story of just how small you are against the Winter Milky Way in the background.

Over the night I must have taken over twenty images of me pointing the torch this way, pointing the torch that way. The first image that I took that I liked was a colour version. I would say that 90% of Milky Way images are colour images so I decided to take the colour away to make it look a little different, more unique.

I posted the image on Twitter and tagged Brian Cox in. He said it was one of the most beautiful images he’d seen and retweeted it. It then went a bit haywire! That’s when I entered the competition. Shortly afterwards I got an email saying one of my images was short-listed, then one saying it was award winning and that I was invited to the award ceremony in London. I was over the moon, really proud!

My favourite from the exhibition is a picture of the sun. Technically, how could someone manage to do that? The effort that goes in to capturing these deep space images… it’s magical.

I would say to anybody that wants to do astrophotography – go somewhere dark, you can buy apps and maps that tell you where’s best – you don’t have to go miles – a tripod isn’t necessary but helps when you take a long exposure, you cant physically hold the camera that still. A normal camera set to manual, even a smartphone can have a good night mode; it doesn’t have to be an expensive hobby.

The land of the orang-utan

16 August 2019 by John Wilson

150 years ago Alfred Russel Wallace wrote about “the land of the orang-utan” and sent specimens to Liverpool

2019 is the 150th anniversary of the first publication of Alfred Russel Wallace’s The Malay Archipelago: The land of the orang-utan, and the bird of paradise. A narrative of travel, with studies of man and nature.

Although best known as the co-discoverer of the theory of evolution by natural selection alongside Charles Darwin, The Malay Archipelago firmly established Wallace as one of the greatest natural history explorers.

Read more…

Thinking of keeping ‘Dory’ in a home aquarium?

6 August 2019 by Matt Smith

Regal Tang

The release of the film ‘Finding Nemo’ saw a rise in the popularity of ‘Dory’, the forgetful but lovable Blue Regal Tang. Here, Robert Woods from Fishkeeping World advises that keeping such a beautiful fish in a home aquarium can be challenging, noting the key considerations to their successful care.

About the Blue Regal Tang

Also known as the Blue Hippo Tang, the Royal Blue Tang, the Regal Tang and the Palette Surgeonfish, the Blue Tang is a very popular fish in the aquarium industry, rising to fame after  the release of the films Finding Nemo and its sequel Finding Dory. It is a brilliant blue colour with black markings stretching from its tail to its eyes and sunshine yellow pectoral and caudal fins. Read more…

Moon explorations!

3 July 2019 by Patrick Kiernan

Image of the crescent of the moon

From the Dark Side – László Francsics

“O, swear not by the moon, the fickle moon, the inconstant moon, that monthly changes in her circle orb…”

Romeo and Juliet (William Shakespeare)

Think about your living room. The items on a shelf, or a table. How often do you look at them, really look at them?

You know there’s a photo of you and a friend, or there’s a statue that Auntie Edwina gave you tucked in a corner. You know they’re there, but you’re so used to them that you barely give them a second glance. Could you, without looking, describe them? The colours, the pose, the material, or would you have to think really hard? It’s amazing how when we get used to something, we become blasé about it, not giving it a second thought.

We tend to do this with the moon. We know it’s there. Occasionally we might notice it when it’s bright and full, or if a story appears about a ‘super-moon’. How often do you look for it in the daytime? Or when it’s a thin crescent or a half moon? Read more…

What next for human remains collections at the World Museum?

19 June 2019 by Emma Martin

Emma Martin, Senior Curator at World Museum introducing the discussion with a copy of the Human Remains policy that is currently being reviewed. Left to right: Angela Stienne, Constantine Eliopoulous, Ashley Cooke, Ben Jones and Chrissy Partheni. Image by Donna Young

This is a guest blog by Angela Stienne (Science Museum, London) who recently chaired two public debates on human remains in museums at World Museum for the #WMWhereNext initiative.

On Friday 17 May, World Museum hosted two public debates on human remains in museums, as part of the LightNight Liverpool festival. The aim of these debates was to probe public opinion on the retention and display of human remains in museums through votes via smartphones, but also to engage the public in a convivial conversation on a very important topic for the museum: what next for human remains collections at the World Museum? I was invited by the World Museum to moderate the debate, as part of my Medicine Galleries Research Fellowship at the Science Museum, which focuses on human remains in the 21st century museum. I am here sharing some thoughts on this very inspiring and thoughtful evening, and what this means for the future of engagements with human remains in museums. Read more…

Volunteers Week spotlight – Corrina from Ethnology

6 June 2019 by Rachel O'Malley

Volunteers are an integral part of National Museums Liverpool, and without them, important work would not be able to take place. To celebrate Volunteers Week we are meeting more volunteers as part of a bumper Volunteer Spotlight series so we can really celebrate the different contributions that our amazing volunteers make.

Alex (L) and Corrina (R)

Life has a habit of going full circle and that is certainly the case with Corrina: a volunteer with the Ethnology team. When she returned to the UK having taught English in Japan for fourteen years, Corrina revisited what she had originally had an interest in before her move, and looked towards the Walker Art Gallery, which she studied as part of her dissertation. This prompted her to make enquires into volunteering for National Museums Liverpool.

Initially Corrina had been interested in archive work  and she also wanted her volunteer role to link back to Japan: assisting the Ethnology department research and record the Japan collection in the museum collections store seemed perfect. 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.