Merseyside Maritime Museum © Pete Carr

Under the redesign, the Merseyside Maritime Museum will be linked to the International Slavery Museum next door. Credit Pete Carr

Winners of £57m Liverpool museums revamp announced

Adjaye Associates and Ralph Appelbaum Associates have landed the contract from National Museums Liverpool to redesign the International Slavery Museum and Maritime Museum.

NML chose the winners with the help of Respect Group, an organisation geared towards helping the museum promote and incorporate Black voices, as well as better understand and interpret the legacy of historic and modern slavery.

RAA will lead on exhibition design, while Adjaye will tackle architectural design.

“To be bringing two such visionary designers with international reputations to the project represents the bold ambition and thinking behind it, said National Museums Liverpool director Laura Pye.

“We are delighted they’re keen to embrace this as a co-production project which we feel will create something truly ground-breaking.”

The £57m project includes improving the visitor orientation of the International Slavery Museum by turning the Dr Martin Luther King Jr Building into a new entrance. The Hartley Pavilion will have enhanced retail offerings as well as a café, events space and temporary exhibition space.

The museums’ collections themselves will have new life breathed into them through the redevelopment.

“From epic tales of Titanic, emigration and two world wars at the Maritime Museum, to transatlantic slavery, its ongoing legacies and the world’s first modern slavery collection at the International Slavery Museum, these narratives will have new prominence and demand to be heard,” NML said in a press release.

Adjaye Associates founder, Sir David Adjaye, said he was “deeply humbled” to lead the redesign.

“This project presents us with an opportunity to reimagine the historic fabric of this Grade 1 Listed Building and to reposition it within the powerful context of Liverpool’s Waterfront and its relationship to the transatlantic slave trade,” he said.

Similarly, RAA’s London office director Phillip Tefft said his team was “honoured and delighted” to work on the project, saying that it was “among the most significant we have ever undertaken”.

“We eagerly anticipate collaborating with National Museums Liverpool, the wider project team and the local community in an inclusive co-production process that places the descendants of people impacted by Liverpool’s maritime history at the heart of the conversation and emerging museum experience,” Tefft said.

“Together, we will honour Liverpool’s Waterfront as a sacred ground – a place that reverberates with the sights, sounds and souls of all those connected to its global history.”

The Maritime Museum and International Slavery Museum revamp is supported, in part, by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, which contributed £9.9m to the project.

This marks the second major project win in Liverpool for Adjaye Associates over the past year. The architecture firm is also part of the consortium that will revamp Canning Dock, working together with Asif Khan Studio, Atelier Masomi, and artist Theaster Gates.

NML is actively redeveloping its sites. In addition to the two museums being redesigned, the group is seeking an architect to turn four waterfront buildings into cafes and restaurants.

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Wonderful news

By Anonymous

Will the engagement include the majority of scousers of desecandants who survived the irish genocide or potato famine as english history tries to call it or will our people be left out as per usual. Especially in light of the forthcoming major anniversary of this coming up in time for the opening of these changes.
“We eagerly anticipate collaborating with National Museums Liverpool, the wider project team and the local community in an inclusive co-production process that places the descendants of people impacted by Liverpool’s maritime history at the heart of the conversation and emerging museum experience,” Tefft said.

By Shaun

This amount of money should bring massive upgrades, would also like to see more historic vessels in the docks outside, that would be a serious game-changer.

By Anonymous

Yes, it’s always so strange when Liverpool’s history is mentioned that the Irish story surely a major narrative in Liverpool of all places is simply ignored.

By Anonymous

Some great points already about our citys heritage why the obsession with the slave trade ? Obviously its important but lets not forget other aspects of our amazing history . As an example there was a huge volume of people passing through the port from all over Europe to emigrate to the USA . Look at the potential of that for literally millions of people interested in their family tree and heritage , in New York Ellis Island welcomed 12 million people many traveled via Liverpool , then the 50-60,s £10 to Australia and thousands to Canada . All of this presents a fantastic tourist opportunity. I totally get the horrors of the slave trade but please can we have other aspects of our illustrious history highlighted on an equal footing .

By Paul M - Woolton

Re anonymous
This project will scrap the only masted vessel Lpool has. A vessel that was left to rot. This is not a story about Lpool and how hard it was then. This is a mission in wokeness.

By Ted

Wokeness indeed , a story to be told to the exclusion of all others ideally. So much more could have been done here but now won’t be.

By Anonymous

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