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Southport Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:-  1 May 2006

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JOHN Millard, keeper of World Museum Liverpool, will personally welcome visitors to the popular museum on Saturday 29 April 2006 at the start of Museums & Galleries Month.  This is also the first anniversary of the opening World Museum Liverpool (formerly Liverpool Museum) when over 600,000 visitors will have passed through its doors, 85% more than in the previous year.

John Millard says:-- “The remarkable success of World Museum Liverpool shows how the public are flocking into museums in ever-increasing numbers. This year National Museums Liverpool has had more visitors than at any other time in its history and this greater number of visitors are being more inspired and engaged than ever before.  In Museums and Galleries Month we celebrate the wide and varied contributions of Britain’s museums and art galleries. We want to use this month to point out the great work that our museums do twelve months a year and we hope that Museums and Galleries Month is an opportunity to remind people that museum going should be a part of their daily lives.”

Visits to the 8 National Museums Liverpool venues have gone up by a staggering 129% since free admission was introduced in 2001. Annual visits now top 1.6 million. In the February 2006 half term week a record-breaking 36,000 people visited World Museum Liverpool – more than 3 times the average weekly figure.

David Fleming, National Museums Liverpool director, says:-- “Despite our fantastic visitor figures there are still a lot of people out there who rarely, if ever, visit museums and art galleries.  Museums and Galleries Month is a great opportunity for people to try something new. At National Museums Liverpool we are open seven days a week and it’s all free.”

We will have a balloon modeller who also performs pocket magic, a face painting artist and a street entertainer at the World Museum Liverpool from 11am till 4pm on Saturday 29 April 2006. We will also cut our birthday cake and give it to visitors.

Several museum-focused programmes are scheduled to be shown on national and local TV during Museums and Galleries Month.  They include a 4-part documentary about National Museums Liverpool on Granada and People’s Museum, a series looking at more than 70 museums throughout Liverpool and the rest of the UK.

Just some of the highlights at National Museums Liverpool during Museums and Galleries Month (all events are free):-

Walker Art Gallery:-  2 fascinating and contrasting temporary exhibitions.

George Stubbs:- A Celebration features 26 paintings by this legendary Liverpool artist who is thought by many to be the greatest painter of horses. There is a Stubbs Study Afternoon from 2 - 4.30pm on Saturday 6 May. Call 0151 478 4178 to book a place. At 1pm on Thursday 18 May you can hear about Stubbs’ material and techniques. If you would like to hear more about some of the the paintings you can go on a half-hour guided tour of the exhibition at 2pm on Saturday 20 May.

A Passion for Fashion:-  This looks at the unique art deco clothing collection of Liverpool socialite Mrs Emily Tinne. There is a 45-minute tour at 2pm hours on Tuesday 2 May. Both exhibitions run until 30 July.

At 11.30am on Wednesday 17 May adult visitors can go behind the scenes at the Walker, built in 1877 by Victorian grandee Sir Andrew Barclay Walker, for an hour-long tour. Book on 0151 478 4178.

And don’t forget the Walker’s new permanent children’s gallery aimed at the under-eights, Big Art for Little Artists.

World Museum Liverpool:-   Eye for Colour is a temporary exhibition looking at the fascinating world of colour, from spectrums and kaleidoscopes to how we see and perceive the world around us.

The Treasure House Theatre has a thrilling programme of family shows throughout Museums and Galleries Month, 2pm Monday to Friday, 2pm and 3pm Saturdays and Sundays. Live presentations include Molly the Friendly Blue Whale, Man Myth and Monsters, Death on the Nile and Samurai Armour.

At 1400 hours Monday 15 May the over-12s can handle items from the museum’s fascinating collections in the event, Power and Protection, which shows how people from around the world display status and identity as well as protect themselves. Cont …

Screen Treasure House Theatre features film documentaries linked to the museum’s collections, including the following staged at 2pm hours on Fridays:- Pyramid:- In the Name of the King (5 May), Saxons and Vikings:- Signs of the Vikings (19 May), Romans in Britain:- Roman Roads and Cities (26 May).

Tickets for all the above are free and available from the information desk on the day.

The Planetarium enables visitors to blast off on a spectacular journey through space and time, learning about the universe on the way. The main shows are Wonders of the Solar System and a special lively interactive for the under fives called Sunshine. For more details call 0151 478 4283.

Merseyside Maritime Museum:-  The temporary exhibition 100% Cotton is a large, family-friendly exhibition exploring cotton – its uses, how it grows, its trade and impact on Liverpool and the North West, both socially and economically.

Dare to Dream is a temporary exhibition displaying artworks by members of the National Museums Liverpool Art Group. All have been inspired by poetry. It runs until 21 May.

Lady Lever Art Gallery:-  The exciting temporary exhibition Pre-Raphaelite Drawings runs until 14 May. It features the National Museums Liverpool collection of Pre-Raphaelite drawings including work by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Holman Hunt, Ford Madox Brown, John Everett Millais and Edward Coley Burne-Jones. Some of these images are studies for famous paintings while others are designs for other artworks.

Art historian and actor Paul O’Keeffe recreates a witty and controversial lecture by leading Victorian art critic John Ruskin in an hour-long presentation called John Ruskin Live:- PreRaphaelitism 1853 at 6pm on Saturday 13 May. Booking essential, free tickets from the Lady Lever Art Gallery shop.


BLACKPOOL Tower is declared a national treasure as ICONS unveils 21 new Icons of England.

The North West’s most popular seaside resort is celebrated in the latest round of icons of England announced today (28 April) as ICONS... A Portrait of England releases its second wave of national icons. Blackpool Tower, the beacon for generations of seaside holiday-makers, is included in a new list of 21 icons, and yes, chosen from thousands of people’s nominations from England and around the globe. It marks another step in the creation of an online collection that aims to provide a snapshot of the life of the nation in the 21st Century.

The 21 new icons are:--

St George’s Flag
The Domesday Book
Blackpool Tower
Hadrian’s Wall
HMS Victory
The Globe
The Notting Hill Carnival
The mini-skirt
Brick Lane
The Hay Wain
The Sutton Hoo helmet
The Lindisfarne Gospels
Pride and Prejudice
York Minster
The Origin of Species
The Eden Project
Big Ben
Morris Dancing
The Pub
The Machin (Queen’s head) stamp

The project, which launched in January, appears to have captured the public imagination. Funded by Culture Online, part of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, ICONS has attracted hundreds of thousands of votes for the nation’s favourite icons.

Jerry Doyle, Managing Director of ICONS, said:-- “We are delighted with the response from the public. It has been overwhelming, with around a quarter of a million visits to the site, more than 5000 suggested nominations and around 300,000 votes.

Nominations have ranged from popular national treasures like Wallace and Grommit and Dr Who to controversial suggestions like fox hunting, where the debate rages on.”

Peter Carson, from English Heritage, said:-- “ICONS Online is an exciting initiative that will encourage greater public awareness of the many marvellous cultural treasures that can be found around almost every corner of this country. It is up to all of us to spread the word about ICONS so as many people as possible, from all walks of life, nominate the things they love most about England.”

Alex Cosgrave, Tower Hamlets Director of Environment and Culture, was delighted Brick Lane made it into the second wave of nominations:-- “The ICONS website is a valuable initiative and we are delighted that Brick Lane has been nominated,” he said. “It’s a vibrant area for all the communities in the borough, as well as visitors, to enjoy, well-renowned for its fantastic selection of restaurants. Brick Lane is also home to the Baishaki Mela celebrating the Bengali New Year, which will be held on 14 May.”

Many celebrities have made their nominations and a new collection will be published on the ICONS site to coincide with the second wave of icons announcements. These include:- Eddie Izzard (who nominated the South Downs); Nick Rhodes and John Taylor of Duran Duran (Birmingham’s Rotunda); Bob Hoskins (the career of Judi Dench); Darcey Bussell OBE (Royal Opera House); Graham Norton (the pub sign); Mary Quant (cardigans and cottage pie), Sarah Hendy (Alison Lapper statue) and Jemma Redgrave (Porchester Spa).

4 waves of new icons will be announced during 2006 until the collection boasts 100 Icons of England. It is being assembled jigsaw-fashion, bit by bit, at

The first 12 official ‘Icons of England’ in the collection, announced in January, were:-- Stonehenge, Punch and Judy, the S.S. Empire Windrush, Holbein’s portrait of Henry VIII, a cup of tea, the FA Cup, Alice in Wonderland, the Routemaster double-decker bus, the King James Bible, the Angel of the North, the Spitfire and Jerusalem.

The idea behind the ICONS project is that it can help us all to explore, enjoy and celebrate our cultural treasures more and will encourage visits to museums and galleries. But it is also proving an unusual and exciting entrée for potential tourists eager to find out what makes England tick. 

The ICONS coalition embraces a wide range of national cultural, sporting and heritage bodies, as well as charity partners. It includes the National Trust, British Library, the Black Cultural Archives, the Football Association, English Heritage, Visit Britain, the V&A Museum of Childhood, the British Museum, the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery, the Muslim Council for Great Britain and several national and city museums in Bristol, London, Birmingham, Gateshead, Brighton & Hove and Manchester.

ICONS is working with Age Concern (Silver Surfers Festival in May), Mencap and the CEED Positive Action programme in Bristol to encourage web use.

“ICONS offers a unique experience, a tantalising mix of things about life in England. Who else boasts eggy soldiers, the misplaced apostrophe and Shakespeare’s plays in their collection? ICONS does what the best teachers do, helping us to learn lots of things without realising that we are learning at all,” said Jerry Doyle, of ICONS.

We want you to send in your mobile phone pictures to us to help find the North West ICONS... email our news desk with your phone pictures to and we will select the best and display later on in the year!


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