Blog

Extinction threat to the pangolin

16 January 2020 by John Wilson

 

World Museum’s pangolin specimens

Pangolins are the world’s most trafficked animals. From 17 January, four mounted specimens will go on display in the atrium at World Museum to highlight the African pangolins’ tragic step closer to extinction. Read more…

Get ready for the Big Garden Bird Watch

10 January 2020 by John Wilson

British garden birds from World Museum’s collection © World Museum Liverpool

The Royal society for the Protection of Bird’s (RSPB) Big Garden Bird Watch takes place each winter in the UK – this year from 25-27 January. Read more…

Fumigation at Liverpool Museum, 1930s style

29 November 2019 by Sarah Starkey

newspaper story about fumigation of collections at Liverpool Museum

Newspaper cutting regarding fumigation at Liverpool Museum, Hivey Fumigation Company, c1934 (MAL reference B/HI/4)

The Maritime Archives and Library seeks to collect and preserve the maritime history of the Port of Liverpool. Because of the wide range of businesses that were involved in the maritime economy, we hold some slightly unusual collections. These include a box of documents from Hivey Fumigation Company, providers of fumigation and pest control services to warehouses and ships. So, not a giant of maritime commerce, but another vital part of the industry, without which cargoes would have been ruined, voyages made unbearable, and disease spread far and wide. Read more…

Extinct or indistinct? The Canary Islands Oystercatcher

21 November 2019 by John Wilson

World Museum’s Canary Island Oystercatcher, specimen T16000

Among World Museum’s zoological treasures is our collection of extinct birds. Many of these extinct birds are island species such as the Dodo, the Green Spotted Pigeon, and the Lord Howe Island group of endemic birds, found only on small islands and nowhere else in the world. Read more…

#Thankstoyou – Free entry to Taki Katei for lottery ticket holders

31 October 2019 by Laura

Step back in time to 19th century Japan with the exquisite artwork of Taki Katei, and from 23 November to 1 December, National Lottery players will be able to see this stunning exhibition free of charge at World Museum.

Visitors who bring a lottery ticket to the Museum during those nine days will be offered free entrance to the exhibition, and the opportunity to explore the work of this remarkable artist, shown for the first time outside Japan.

Delicate drawings and paintings on silk depict the beautiful flora and fauna of the country and demonstrate why Katei became a favourite of the Japanese Imperial court.

Bush Peonies by Taki Katei

National Lottery players have contributed to National Museums Liverpool in a variety of ways. From the development of the International Slavery Museum in 2007 to the refurbishment of the Lady Lever Art Gallery’s South End (2014), the unwavering support of National Lottery has made a huge difference to a variety of our projects, both big and small.

This is why we are very pleased to be part of the #thankstoyou campaign and mark 25 years of The National Lottery with free entry to this special exhibition.

 

Terms and conditions

  • The offer is valid from 23 November to 1 December 2019.
  • Tickets for Drawing on Nature: Taki Katei’s Japan will be issued on presentation of a valid lottery ticket/ scratchcard at the ticket desk on the ground floor of World Museum and cannot be pre-booked online or over the phone.
  • Drawing on Nature: Taki Katei’s Japan is open daily from 10am with last admission into the exhibition at 3.30pm with the building closing at 5pm.
  • Visitors must present one valid Lottery ticket/scratchcard per person, this will redeem one ticket only.  How many draws entered on each ticket will not be taken into consideration.
  • All National Lottery games qualify, including tickets for any National Lottery draw-based game (Lotto, Euromillions, Set For Life, Thunderball, Lotto HotPicks and Euromillions Hotpicks) or any National Lottery Scratchcard. Tickets for any other Lottery do not apply.
  • The date of draw / purchase is not relevant.
  • Lottery tickets must be original. Photocopies are not valid.
  • Digital tickets are valid. Please present an email confirmation or receipt of purchase.
  • The offer applies to exhibition visits only and does not include guided tours or special events.
  • World Museum has the right to refuse entry in the unlikely event of the exhibition reaching capacity, as well as unforeseen circumstances.
  • Not to be used in conjunction with any other offer.

What to Do With Your Loot: Renovating the Benin Displays at World Museum

25 October 2019 by Zachary

The artist Leo Asemota at World Museum 10 October 2019 looking at documents in the museum’s Benin archives.

If you have been following World Museum blogs or social media you will have seen that we are in the first stages of renovating our outdated World Cultures Gallery.

The project focuses on a few key display areas of the larger gallery, one of which is the Benin exhibit within the Africa displays. The project provides an opportunity to explore ways of re-thinking Benin’s history and culture as part of a wider global story to make it more relevant and responsive to contemporary audiences in Liverpool and beyond. New and engaging content for the renovated display will be developed around key questions in themed workshops with a small group of Liverpool residents with a particular interest in the past, present, and future implications of holding and displaying Benin collections in museums.. Workshops will be facilitated by Leo Asemota, an artist from Benin whose practice interrogates and links historical and cultural themes from both Britain and Benin City. A couple of weeks ago Leo came to Liverpool to explore the museum’s Benin-related archives in preparation for the workshops.

The museum’s archive includes photographs of Benin created by a Liverpool trader in the early 1890s, but Leo was also able to look through various other archival letters, newspaper articles, publications, and even hand-written accounts. Many of these related to the so-called British ‘punitive expedition’ sent to subjugate Benin City in February 1897, during which British forces looted thousands of royal artworks in bronze, brass and ivory from the palace complex. What really caught Leo’s eye, though, was something more contemporary; a newspaper article from 1981 cut from the lifestyle pages of a Sunday broadsheet newspaper. The article profiles an up-market shoe designer boasting a clientele of international celebrities. It featured the image of a Benin queen mother’s head used as a prop for advertising a collection of zebra-patterned shoes. Leo was instantly struck by this image and selected the cutting as an item of particular interest for the project.

As an example of cultural appropriation for commercial purposes, the 1981 image is especially shocking for the way that it thoughtlessly replicates the desecratory structure of much earlier photographs taken in Benin in February 1897.

British officers seated on looted royal altarpieces in the Benin palace compound Benin City, 1897.

Officers with the February 1897 British punitive expedition seated on looted royal altarpieces in the Benin palace compound. Benin City, 1897. Part of an image by an unidentified photographer displayed on a graphic panel in the Benin displays at World Museum Liverpool.

Image from a 1981 newspaper cutting showing Benin Queen Mother head used as a prop for advertising a collection of zebra-patterned shoes.

Image from a 1981 newspaper cutting in the Karpinski archive at World Museum, taken from the lifestyle pages of a Sunday broadsheet newspaper. The image shows Benin Queen Mother head used as a prop for advertising a collection of zebra-patterned shoes.

Photograph of a replica Benin Queen Mother head made for sale from an original in the British Museum. World Museum collection.

In these photographs British officers with the punitive expedition are shown seated in triumph on looted brass altarpieces and other treasures stripped from the ancestral shrines in the royal palace and piled up in the palace courtyard. The image from 1981 represents a peculiar reincarnation of the photographs taken 84 years earlier in Benin. It activates a toxic colonial memory in order to urge wealthy customers to spend their ‘loot’ on zebra-striped shoes.

Museums, as theatres of memory-making and storehouses of ill-gotten colonial props, have much to do in helping to re-examine and counter the violently-fashioned memory-scapes of our colonial pasts. The workshops with Leo Asemota at World Museum are intended to play a key part in the process!

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…



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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.