At last now I understand that this museum is only a part of the huge complex called the Merseyside Maritime Museum. At the time of our visit in April, we’d somehow found our way to the third floor for a fascinating and comprehensive look at slavery with a focus on the Atlantic slave trade and on Liverpool’s notorious role specifically.
Although we only budgeted an hour, we ended staying until the museum closed – thus we had no time to browse the gift shop – so gripping were the varied exhibits. In addition to information about the cultural roots of some of the African peoples and insights into personal details of those who suffered from the slave trade as well as those who became rich and famous through the profits, we also saw contemporary interviews with experts and everyday people on both sides of the Atlantic, accessible on some of the many screens throughout the museum.
There is no attempt to soften the horrors of slavery: for example, there’s a two-minute interactive installation on life in a slave ship in the center section entitled Enslavement and the Middle Passage that is hard to stomach. The range of the museum’s exhibits extends into the present and future with changing exhibits on current topics like White Gold: The True Cost of Cotton.
Although we managed to at least glance at all aspects of the museum, we’d still plan to return on another trip to Liverpool, especially since the museum is currently undergoing continuing development with a projected extension to the neighboring Martin Luther King, Jr. building.
What became clear to us only after our visit was the chilling appropriateness of the location of the museum, so close to where slave ships were repaired a few centuries ago. The International Slavery Museum's combination of local and international aspects in the history of treating human beings as objects to be bought and sold is just one more exemplary aspect of Liverpool’s extraordinary coming to terms with its past – and yet another reason to put Liverpool at the top of the list of places to visit in Britain.
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.