The Merseyside Maritime Museum is a museum in a former warehouse at Albert Dock that tells the story of Liverpool’s status as one of the world’s great ports.
It includes displays about the nine million emigrants who sailed from Liverpool between 1830 and 1930, Liverpool’s role in the Second World War, life at sea and shipwrecks including artefacts salvaged from the Titanic.
What to see at the Merseyside Maritime Museum
The museum is set on five levels of with most exhibits in the basement and the first and second floors.
The basement has the following galleries: Seized! the Border and Customs Uncovered and Emigrants to a New World.
The Seized! the Border and Customs Uncovered gallery is essentially a museum within a museum. It focuses on the role of the UK’s Border Force and it includes displays about the agency’s work investigating and combatting smuggling with exhibits of items seized by customs officers as well as displays highlighting interesting case studies.The Emigrants to a New World gallery focuses on the period between 1830 and 1930 when Liverpool was the world’s largest emigration port. During this golden age of emigration over 40 million people left Europe for a new life in North America, Australia and New Zealand with around nine million people departing from Liverpool. Displays in this gallery focus on the people and the businesses that flourished in Liverpool to support the emigration industry and this includes an exhibit on the growth of steamship companies and the great liners that sailed during the first few decades of the 20th century.
The main entrance along with the gift shop and cafe are located on the ground floor along with the Quayside gallery, which is usually used for temporary exhibitions.
The first-floor galleries include a gallery dedicated to the RMS Lusitania, regarded as Liverpool’s favourite liner, a gallery about the role that Liverpool’s port played during the Second World War and the Life at Sea gallery, which focuses on the role of the merchant navy.
Lusitania: life, loss, legacy is a gallery dedicated to the RMS Lusitania. The Liverpool-based ocean liner was launched in 1906 and for a while was the world’s largest passenger liner with the fastest Atlantic crossing. She completed 202 Atlantic crossings but was sunk off the Irish coast by a Geman U-boat in 1917.
The Battle of the Atlantic was the longest-running battle of the Second World War running for the entire duration of the war. The Battle of the Atlantic gallery has displays showing Liverpool’s role as Britain’s most important port during the war as well as displays about both Britain’s merchant fleet and the German naval threat.
The Life at Sea gallery has a number of exhibits showing what life at sea is like. The gallery depicts the differences between life for crew and passengers and for both luxury liners and modern container ships. The gallery’s highlights include an exhibit about the Empress of Ireland, which sank in the St Lawrence River in Canada in 1914 and an exhibit focusing on the MV Derbyshire, which sank in during a typhoon in the South China Sea in 1980. This gallery is also home to the Sea Urchins children’s play area.
A large part of the second floor is currently being renovated to create a new gallery and the remainder of this floor has an exhibition about the RMS Titanic, which was registered in Liverpool.
Titanic and Liverpool: the untold story is an exhibition focusing on the famous liner’s link with Liverpool. This exhibition includes many artefacts from the shipwreck including first-hand reports from survivors and crew.
Visiting the Merseyside Maritime Museum
The Merseyside Maritime Museum is in the heart of the Albert Dock area with lots of other attractions within a short walk. These include the Museum of Liverpool, the Tate Liverpool and the Beatles Story, which are all less than a five-minute walk away. The Slavery Museum is even closer, located on the third floor of the Maritime Museum.Admission to the museum is free of charge and it is open 10am–5pm daily.
The museum is fully wheelchair accessible. Many of the videos and interactive displays have subtitles and most displays (except in the Battle of the Atlantic gallery) have audio descriptions for vision-impaired visitors.
The ground floor area has a gift shop and a cafe with lovely views over the Royal Albert Dock. There are also several other places to eat and drink nearby.
If you enjoyed your visit to this museum, you may also want to visit the National Maritime Museum in London, the National Maritime Museum Cornwall in Falmouth, the Hull Maritime Museum, the National Museum of the Royal Navy in Hartlepool and the Historic Dockyard in Portsmouth.
Visitors to the museum should allow up to two hours.