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“another exemplary museum of Liverpool’s coming to terms with its past - must see”

International Slavery Museum
Ranked #24 of 208 things to do in Liverpool
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Fee: No
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: At International Slavery Museum you'll find out about the millions of people, both in the past and today, who have been taken into slavery, in particular those who were part of the transatlantic slave trade between about 1500 and 1865. Liverpool was a major slaving port so it is fitting that the museum is in Liverpool. The museum is on the third floor of the Merseyside Maritime Museum building. Entry is free.
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Level 6 Contributor
404 reviews
106 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 214 helpful votes
“another exemplary museum of Liverpool’s coming to terms with its past – must see”
Reviewed 5 August 2013

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.

Visited April 2013
1 Thank GermanJody
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Huddersfield, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
104 reviews
75 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 76 helpful votes
“Not just about the past”
Reviewed 29 July 2013

I was very surprised by the slavery museum. I had expected it to be mostly about the key period in history when slavery was at its peak and the point it was abolished.
However, there is a lot more about the african communities that were affected and their histories, as well as bringing it all into todays context by bringing understanding to why those countries are still suffering.
I think the temporary exhibitions on current issues which impoverish people and nations, such as pollution in small communities caused by mutlinational countries and the effective slavery in the cotton industry are important to make sure people understand that in some parts of the world nothing has really changed.
A must see for every visitor to Liverpool

Visited July 2013
1 Thank emily t
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Durham, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
59 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
“A real eye opener”
Reviewed 25 July 2013

Excellent museum. I never really understood the whole concept of how the slave trade worked and certainly not the amazing connection that it has with Liverpool. Very good displays with good hands on stuff for the children to do.Would highly recommend a visit here!

Visited July 2013
Thank Paul W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 3 Contributor
17 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Harrowing but vital”
Reviewed 23 July 2013

This was a truly eye-opening experience. The museum really did a great job of explaining the ordeal that African men and women went through during their journey to Europe and the Americas. It is vital that we never forget this part of our history, or the part Britain played in it, to make sure such a vile incident never happens again. The museum truly captured the history and opened my eyes to a number of things I didn't know about, even though I've studied black slavery. I would encourage everyone to go here just so you have a deeper understanding of the impact the slave trade still has on modern society. Educational and very, very important.

Visited April 2013
Thank Claire T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cape Town Central, South Africa
Level 3 Contributor
9 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Informative in a fun way”
Reviewed 10 July 2013

This museum was a real eye-opener on the history of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade and the role that Liverpool played in this era. In addition there is an incredible exhibition on the Titanic. Try to allow yourself at least two hours here

Visited May 2013
1 Thank Lesleyjc38
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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