The Museum of Liverpool is set in a striking modern building at Pier Head. The museum tells the story of Liverpool’s history, people and culture and its exhibits include displays about the role of the Industrial Revolution and Liverpool’s role as a major port city serving the British Empire. There are also exhibits about cultural icons such as The Beatles and recent changes to the city’s urban environment and culture.
What to see at the Museum of Liverpool
The Museum of Liverpool is an excellent museum that has exhibits about the city’s history and culture. This should be the first place you visit in Liverpool as it will give you a greater understanding of the city so you will get more out of the rest of your visit to Liverpool.
There are three galleries on the ground floor: Global City, The Great Port and Little Liverpool.
The Global City gallery shows how Liverpool’s role as a major port made it the second city of the British Empire and one of the first truly cosmopolitan cities in Britain. The Global City gallery also has a small cinema that has nine screenings per day of The Power and the Glory?, a 20-minute film made especially for the museum that illustrates Liverpool’s role as a global city.
The Great Port gallery examines the growth of Liverpool’s Port, which transformed the city from a small tidal inlet into a major hub of world trade. This gallery also includes displays about the role that the Industrial Revolution and the Liverpool and Manchester Railway (the world’s first intercity railway) had on the city’s growth.
The Little Liverpool gallery is an area created specifically for young children visiting the museum. Admission to the Little Liverpool area is by a free ticket that you need to collect from the information desk near the main entrance. It is important to get your ticket as soon as you arrive if you are visiting with young children, as space is limited inside the gallery and there are seven 30-minute sessions each day with a maximum of 35 children and 15 adults.
The first floor of the museum has three galleries: History Detectives, City Soldiers and Liverpool Overhead Railway.
The History Detectives gallery investigates archaeology and has displays showing how historians are able to find out about our past. This gallery includes artefacts as well as a timeline showing how these artefacts fit into 10,000 years of history.
The City Soldiers gallery has exhibits about the King’s Regiment. Formed in 1685, the King’s Regiment is one of Britain’s oldest and it has been Liverpool’s regiment since 1881. Members of the regiment, which is now part of the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, are known as Kingsmen and have fought on four continents and in both world wars.
The Liverpool Overhead Railway gallery has displays about the world’s first electric elevated railway, which was built in 1893 to provide transport along Liverpool’s dockside area. Visitors to the gallery can climb aboard a carriage and you can also see exhibits that explain the railway’s legacy and why it was dismantled in the 1950s.
There is also a temporary exhibition space on the first floor, which is currently home to the Blitzed: Liverpool Lives exhibition (running until summer 2021). This exhibition focuses on how Liverpool was impacted by German bombing during the Second World War. Much of this exhibition is comprised of photos taken by Liverpool City Police in 1940 and 1941.
The museum’s second floor is comprised of a temporary Liverpool on Wheels exhibition as well as the People’s Republic gallery. Even though it is only a couple of levels above the street, there are excellent city views from this level.
Liverpool on Wheels is an exhibition (running until 1 November 2020) that tells the history of Liverpool’s transport and the stories of the people of Liverpool who drove and rode in these vehicles.
The People’s Republic gallery focuses on the lives and culture of the people who live in Liverpool. It includes a Ford Anglia 105E (the first car to be made in Merseyside) and a full-size replica of one of the liver bird statues from the top of the Royal Liver Building. There is a brilliant view of Pier Head through the large floor-to-ceiling windows at the end of this gallery.
Visiting the Museum of Liverpool
The Museum of Liverpool is on Pier Head just north of the Albert Dock area. It is just a short walk to most attractions in the city centre and only a four-minute walk to James Street station.
There are plenty of other attractions nearby including the British Music Experience, the Royal Liver Building, Merseyside Maritime Museum, the Slavery Museum and Tate Liverpool, which are all less than a five-minute walk away.
Admission to the museum (including the Double Fantasy exhibition) 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 there are tactile displays with Braille labels for vision-impaired visitors. A Braille guide is available from the main information desk at the museum entrance.
The ground floor area has a gift shop and a cafe with lovely waterfront views. There are also plenty of other places to eat and drink nearby.
Allow two hours for your visit.