Having spent many a summer holiday in the World Museum as a child, I jumped at the opportunity to undertake a placement at one of Liverpool’s most popular museums. The placement offered the role of a researcher for an upcoming on-line exhibition entitled, ‘Bombed Out! The World Museum and the Blitz’ which would focus on a part of Liverpool’s history which remains prevalent in the memories of many locals, the May Blitz during the Second World War. Prior to undertaking this placement, I was surprised to have only just discovered the full extent to which the city had been affected by the Blitz, particularly the museum.
The placement presented me with the opportunity as an online exhibition researcher, alongside a fellow student who would focus on the marketing and social media aspect of the exhibition. We were both under the supervision of the Senior Curator Ethnology for the World Museum. The on-line exhibition intended to uncover the history and stories surrounding the bombing of Liverpool Museum (now World Museum) on 3rd May 1941. Subsequently the exhibition would explore the destruction of the building and its collections during one of Liverpool’s most horrific nights of the Blitz.
The placement began in December 2015 with the exhibition deadline set to launch on 3rd May 2016, the 75th Anniversary of the event. The exhibition’s development began almost immediately, with its intention from the outset to focus on the stories of the objects. It was our objective to develop an exhibition that would provide these objects with lives, we separated them into four main categories; causalities, survivors, newcomers and evacuees. Within these four categories we wanted to detail the experiences of objects from the museum’s collections, both during the bombing and its aftermath.
My role within the development of the online exhibition predominantly focused on the research behind the stories of each department’s collection, this including conducting interviews with curators across National Museums Liverpool. The opportunity to interview curators provided our exhibition with a broad insight into curatorial practices. It has presented to me a better understanding of what the role of a curator can constitute, which is much more than I had first considered. Over the last five months, we have been collecting and recording the history of the museum’s collections, even discovering stories of objects which had not been previously told. The placement has been an interesting experience; I have gained a better appreciation for what the role of the curator entails as well as experienced the development of an on-line exhibition, including its advantages and challenges. The on-line exhibition is something that I can be proud to have worked on, not only have I contributed to the history of Liverpool but also assisted in preserving and promoting the history of the World Museum.