The Museum of Liverpool: Ugly or Modern?

Travel News — By Candice Walsh on August 18, 2011 at 9:58 am

The Museum of Liverpool is the UK’s first national museum to open in over a century, and there’s some big buzz happening about it. Hint: it’s not all positive.

The building cost 72-million GBP, and the curators say it’s worth it to become “the world’s greatest urban history museum.” With its funky modern design situated right along the waterfront, the Museum of Liverpool is filled with galleries highlighting every aspect of Liverpool’s life, including its rich history.

Perhaps one of the most exciting exhibitions to note is the Skylight, backed by Mike McCartney, the brother of The Beatles’ very own Paul McCartney. He’s rolling out some previously-unseen photos of the band, and featuring some of his own experiences of growing up in the city.

Image: fernallan/Flickr

It’s not all roses and sunshine, either: The Museum of Liverpool even documents the more tragic side of the city’s history, like the Toxteth riots.

However, a scathing review by Rowan Moore in The Guardian suggests that the museum is a total waste of money and doesn’t fulfill any of its ambitions. According to him, there is no smooth transition between exhibits, and the information is all unloaded too quickly. For example, the history of slavery within the city gets barely a mention.

But the most passionate statement from Moore is a rough criticism on the architectural design of the building and its inability to fit in with its surroundings. Apparently, modern design does not work too well in a historical city, and Liverpool is struggling with this notion:

Further off are the jerky shapes of flats on the edge of the Liverpool One shopping development. It is as if a huge incontinent dog had deposited them on the pavement, except that the latter’s droppings would have had more consistency of form and texture, one to the other. There is no coherence, rapport, sense of wholeness or purpose to the ensemble. The older buildings manage to be expressive, varied, bold, dignified and unified all at once; the new do not.

Ouch! We almost feel bad for laughing.

Dear readers, we’d love to know what you think. Have you visited the museum? What do you think? Share your thoughts!

Tags: Museum of Liverpool, museums in England, UK museums

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