National Museums Liverpool

National Museums Liverpool, formerly National Museums and Galleries on Merseyside, comprises several museums and art galleries in and around Liverpool, England. All the museums and galleries in the group have free admission. The museum is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and an exempt charity under English law.[1]

In the 1980s, local politics in Liverpool was under the control of the Militant group of the Labour Party. In 1986, Liverpool's Militant councillors discussed closing down the city's museums and selling off their contents, in particular their art collections.[2] To prevent this from happening the Conservative government nationalised all of Liverpool's museums under the Merseyside Museums and Galleries Order 1986 which created a new national trustee body National Museums and Galleries on Merseyside.[3][4] It changed its name to National Museums Liverpool in 2003.

It holds in trust multi-disciplinary collections of worldwide origin made up of more than one million objects and works of art. The organisation holds courses, lectures, activities and events and provides educational workshops and activities for school children, young people and adults. Its venues are open to the public seven days a week 361 days a year and all exhibitions are free. National Museums Liverpool has charitable status and is England’s only national museums group based entirely outside London. It currently comprises eight different venues, one of which is outside Liverpool itself — the Lady Lever Art Gallery, located in Port Sunlight.

NML Museums and Art Galleries

MuseumYear EstablishedStatusSpecialitiesImage
World Museum1851OpenAncient History, archaeology, ethnology, natural history, space and time, science
Walker Art Gallery1877OpenArt: Painting, sculpture and craft
Merseyside Maritime Museum1980OpenImmigration, Maritime history
The Piermaster's House1983OpenWartime
Border Force National Museum1994OpenThe Border Force National Museum (Known as:Seized! The Border and Customs uncovered), highlighting the work of the HM Revenue & Customs and the UK Border Agency, covering smuggling, crime and the history of tax. Located in the basement gallery of Merseyside Maritime Museum since May 2008.
International Slavery Museum2007Open, Phase 2 under developmentHistorical and contemporary aspects of slavery
Lady Lever Art Gallery1922OpenArt: paintings, sculpture and furniture
Sudley House1996OpenArt, fashion
Museum of Liverpool2011OpenLiverpool's social and cultural history. The museum follows the Museum of Liverpool Life, open 1993–2006
National Conservation Centre1996ClosedArt, conservation science and technology. Closed to the public 17 December 2010. Conservation work continues behind the scenes.

Other Liverpool Museums and Art Galleries

Proposed Museums


  1. Charities Act 1993, Schedule 2.
  2. Local collections should be nationalised to halt sell-offs "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 15 April 2017. Retrieved 14 April 2017.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. Liverpool’s museum: the first 150 years, p87.
  4. Suzanne MacLeod, Museum Architecture: A New Biography, p31.
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