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Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Exhibitions - The Museum of Liverpool

Star rating – 4/10

Please don’t think it gives me any satisfaction as a Mancunian to be less than complementary about the new Museum of Liverpool (well ok then it does just a bit). I wanted to be impressed with it, honestly, but from the moment I saw its ugly angular exterior, I knew it was all wrong. It should nestle beautifully alongside the historic and beautiful buildings on Liverpool’s waterfront like the Liver Building, but instead of being complementary, it stands out like a sore thumb.

And inside is not much better. The first floor is not even finished and open to the public yet so we can’t judge on that – strange not to be ready for its own grand opening. The galleries that are open and ready are just far too busy and crammed with exhibits and display cases to make a lasting impression. I couldn’t help thinking of how the Imperial War Museum North has done it so much better, using space to beautifully highlight its exhibits, and also to create an impromptu picture show, with images projected on the walls all around.

The Museum of Liverpool would probably have meant more to people from Liverpool proud of their heritage. We can all marvel at the Beatles (the Peace and Love duvet from John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s bed-in is a nice touch) and even some of the sporting achievements, but a lot of the detail here is a bit too local interest to attract and retain many visitors from more far flung corners. This all felt a bit too low brow, and designed to appeal to a lower common denominator than the people of Liverpool deserve. Less is more.

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