International Slavery Museum .1, by andy_j_crowther (from Flickr)
Liverpool’s International Slavery Museum has been shortlisted to win ‘Best Heritage Project’ in the National Lottery Awards along with ten other nominees. The Museum opened in 2007 and was funded by Lottery money. The museum is hugely important – it is the only museum which tells the whole story of slavery, including the continuing impact and legacy of slavery in the present day.
Voting is open until July 10th, so vote now! This is an amazing museum – I went there in 2007 shortly after it opened – so go along too, and show your support in person.
Somalia has the most interest in the word Liverpool as search term in Google – even higher than the United Kingdom. Why do you think this is? It almost certainly has to do with football, I should think, but are there any other factors?
Also, take a look at the developing Museum of Liverpool on the Architects Journal website. Of course, it calls it a ‘first look’, but we’ve all been gawping at it for years, haven’t we?
A new Beatles museum is being planned for the revamped Pier Head, part of the new Pier Head-based Mersey Ferries terminal. While the irony of this association may have been lost on the builders, the new museum will offer visitors a single ticket for both the ferries and the main Beatles Story at the Albert Dock. Jerry Goldman, director of the Beatles Story, said that plans for the main site had to be changed due to lack of space. The space at the Albert Dock will be doubled, but the Pier Head exhibition will allow them to ‘complete the picture‘.
Although not officially falling within Liverpool’s boundary’s, another of Merseyside’s attractions is drawing attention with the release of a set of postcards of Birkenhead Park. Glyn Holden has been collecting the cards since 1972, showing the Grade II listed park, opened in 1847. The design inspired later parks, such London’s Victoria Park, and Central Park in New York. Wirral Council have given £500 to allow the cards to be shown in the parks pavilion exhibition.
Weak finances and lack of a long-term vision have been two accusations levelled at city councillors recently, as part of an audit into the way a number of local councils are run. In addition, the behaviour of councillors in meetings and the ‘leaking’ of information to the press for short-term political gain have been highlighted in the report. This comes less than a month after the news that Liverpool City Council were revealed as the worst-run financially.
A couple of interesting pieces of news concerning the North-West’s heritage, ancient and modern:
One of the oldest pieces of settlement evidence in the north-west has come to light on an excavation near Junction 6 on the M62. Although the motorway scheme will go ahead unchanged, the site should remain hidden safe beneath the junction at Tarbock Island.
The new International Slavery Museum has been nominated for the Art Fund Prize for Museums
, formerly the Gulbenkian Prize. The highly praised museum only opened in the final part of last year, but has already attracted a great number of visitors.
After much speculation about the possibility of a Viking boat being discovered under the car park of the Railway Inn, Meols, staff at World Museum Liverpool’s Field Archaeology Unit have written an article outlining the ways in which archaeologists must go about deciding what to do with the buried vessel. As well as damping down runaway speculation as to the age of the boat, the piece gives an excellent insight into how field archaeology works in general when considering the need to excavate buried remains.
In essence the article concludes that the boat is not under threat, would cost millions to raise, and would probably cause more harm than good were it to be exposed to the elements. Furthermore, there is no conclusive evidence as to the date of the boat, with some evidence actually refuting claims that it originates in the mid to late part of the first millennium AD.
Continuing this series of catch-up stories, I thought I’d mention the recent UKTV History channel’s competition to find Britain’s favourite historic site. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Briton’s were most proud of the prehistoric monument of Stonehenge. In second place, however, was HMS Victory, which I think surprised a lot of people. In third place, however, was our very own Anglican Cathedral! A triumph of the 22 year old Giles Gilbert Scott, it took from 1902 until 1978 for the Cathedral to go from inception to completion. The architect is buried under the bell tower.
The August edition of the Museums Journal contains an interview with Richard Benjamin, the head of the recently opened International Slavery Museum. Although having no curatorial experience when he took on the role, Benjamin
has a bachelor’s degree in urban policy, community and race relations, and studied for a PhD on the archaeology of the African diaspora. Having spent his entire career giving access to education to ‘non-traditional’ groups, he is well qualified to “challenge the bigots, and to give people of African descent a sense of empowerment, by giving them information on African achievement and historical knowledge.”