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.
Vertebrates are animals with backbones. The vertebrate animal group (and our vertebrate zoology collections at World Museum) includes the large animals everyone’s familiar with – mammals, fishes, amphibians, reptiles and birds.
Although National Museums Liverpool now has varied collections and exhibits the first museum, which later became World Museum, was a museum of vertebrates! So it’s with a huge sense of honour and great responsibility that I take on the role as the new curator of vertebrates at World Museum. I started working at World Museum in mid-September and have slowly been familiarising myself with our massive collection of animals.
14 September 2018 by Ann
It’s only three days to launch for a new programme of Planetarium shows! From Monday 17 September you can explore the mysteries of the universe and the wonders of the night sky with our mind blowing shows without leaving the comfort and safety of your seat. Our shows explain the latest scientific discoveries for young and old alike and feature current scientific research that helps us learn more about planet Earth and our universe.
For only £3 for Adults and £2 for children (aged 3+) and concessions, far less than a ticket on Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic spaceflights, let us take you into space and widen your horizons.
Better still National Museums Liverpool members can now see Planetarium shows for free, just collect a ticket from the ground floor information desk on the day before you jet up to the fifth floor Space and Time gallery. Read more…
Part of the ongoing work we do here behind the scenes at World Museum involves dealing with loan requests from other museums. This usually happens when a museum is putting on an exhibition and they need extra objects from other collections to help tell their exhibition’s story. Read more…
When most people think of ancient Greece, the Classical city of Athens usually springs to mind. Yet, Sparta in the Peloponnese, is known as the military state and is the total antithesis of the city of Athens. This is where you would find the prolific Sanctuary of Artemis Orthia, one of the most important religious sites in the ancient city and the centre of religious rituals that we still know very little about.
The World Museum has 83 lead votive offering figurines from the sanctuary in its collection. Other findings at the sanctuary – excavated by the British School at Athens in 1906 – included figurines made of terracotta and ivory, along with masks. The sheer number of offerings found at the site demonstrates the importance of the sanctuary.
The lead figurines start to be offered around the 8th century B.C. The figurines at this time were well made, fairly thick and were cast in shapes that imitated expensive jewellery offerings, including earrings. In the following century (700-635BC) there was a boom in the different types of figurines being offered, including animals, both real and mythical, as well as representations of the goddess.
It’s at this time we see evidence of the goddess being addressed as ‘Orthia’ on pottery and tiles. Orthia is the Greek word for ‘standing’, but it also could have been the name given to the Spartan winged animal goddess of women and fertility.
In later periods there is evidence of her being referred to as ‘Artemis-Orthia’. There’s a possibility that Orthia was merged with the Greek goddess ‘Artemis’, who has similar qualities being a mistress of the animals. However in Ancient Greek art representations, Artemis is often depicted as a maiden huntress in a skirt carrying a spear. In around 635-600 BC winged goddesses were popular, as well as women wearing skirts, suggesting that both interpretations of the goddess were used by different individuals at the same time.
Figurines dating to 600-500 BC suggest an ideological shift to the Greek style Artemis, rather than Orthia. In this period deer – Artemis’ most sacred animal – are introduced, and other animals decrease in number. Other gods, including Poseidon (Artemis’ uncle) and Hermes (Artemis’ half brother) also start being used along with warriors. This is also the peak time for the number of figurines found. The shift in figurines offered coincides with the building of a second temple around 570BC and an expansion of the old temple.
The figurines gradually become poorer quality, and many of them have not survived. Around the 3rd century AD the Romans had taken over the region and built a theatre around the temple, welcoming tourists to watch ritual displays. It is probable that the figurines became more crude as the offerings became a novelty for tourists.
24 July 2018 by Tracey McGeagh
We were delighted to find three of our museums listed in a piece about accessibility in the Liverpool Echo recently. Respected website Euan’s Guide includes World Museum, the Museum of Liverpool and Merseyside Maritime Museum in the top ten accessible attractions in Liverpool. Read more…
Over the last two years we have been preparing some of our collections of Roman sculpture for the exhibition, ‘Age of Reason’ at the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City.
29 June 2018 by Gina
What do false teeth, a terracotta uterus and a focolare have in common? They are all objects selected by Dr Gina Muskett, our Honorary Research Associate (Classical Antiquities), as part of the 50 highlights of the Villanovan and Etruscan collection of World Museum.
Since our landmark exhibition China’s First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors opened in February, we’ve welcomed over 300,000 visitors from across the country and around the world. For many, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to see some of the incredible life-size figures from the burial site of China’s First Emperor. Read more…