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National Museums Liverpool’s 2020 exhibition programme announced

National Museums Liverpool announced twelve months of outstanding exhibitions and new permanent displays for 2020 today.

Laura Pye, Director of National Museums Liverpool, said: “From the photography of Linda McCartney, both iconic and intimate, to a glimpse into the fascinating potential AI has to shape our future; 2020 promises to be an amazing year for National Museums Liverpool, which we hope will challenge, inspire and delight our visitors.

“And this year it’s not just about exhibitions. This spring we are also opening Life on board, a major new gallery at the Merseyside Maritime Museum, which explores more than three centuries of our city’s seafaring history. While at World Museum we’re looking forward to a series of interventions that brings fresh perspectives to the World Cultures gallery and addresses current debates.

“With so much fantastic stuff in the pipeline this is your chance to get dates in the diary and start planning a brilliant 12 months of culture in Liverpool.”


National Museums Liverpool members gain free entry to all exhibitions for twelve months along with a host of other benefits. For more info: www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/membership


Liverpool on wheels: from horses to horsepower

Museum of Liverpool

14 February to 1 November 2020

Liverpool’s proud transport history is revealed through a fabulous array of vehicles built in and around Liverpool.

From bicycles to horse drawn carriages, the exhibition features some of the larger objects in National Museums Liverpool’s collection. Exploring the city’s remarkable history of transport innovation and manufacturing, which still continues today, it is a unique view of Liverpool’s social history.

German Revolution: Expressionist prints

Lady Lever Art Gallery

10 April to 31 August 2020

Powerful prints by some of the most influential artists of the 20th century will arrive at the Lady Lever Art Gallery next year.

Including work by Munch, Schiele and Kokoschka, the exhibition explores how the social, political, sexual and moral struggles taking place during the turbulent period of the German Revolution (1918-1919) moved artists to produce such dramatic imagery. The exhibition also features important prints by Gauguin and Picasso that demonstrate how artists outside Germany contributed to the evolution of Expressionism.

The exhibition is drawn from the collection of The Hunterian, University of Glasgow

Linda McCartney Retrospective

Walker Art Gallery

25 April to 31 August 2020

In 2020, the Walker Art Gallery will host a major retrospective of Linda McCartney’s photography. From her iconic depictions of the music scene of the 1960s, to family life with Paul, Linda captured her whole world on film.

The exhibition features more than 200 extraordinary images that reveal what a prolific photographer Linda was, and how her love for the natural world, her surreal sense of humour, and an exceptional eye for capturing the spontaneous, gave her work an inimitable style.

The exhibition will include a selection of images taken in Liverpool and on the Wirral which have never been on public display.

Tickets will go on general sale on 17 October.

 AI: More than Human

World Museum

10 July to 1 November 2020

The fascinating world of artificial intelligence comes to World Museum in a new exhibition bursting with interactivity through immersive artworks and scientific developments, giving visitors a thrilling vision of the future.

Explored through prominent and cutting-edge research projects, and special commissions and projects by international artists, AI: More than Human is an unprecedented survey of the relationship between humans and technology.

The exhibition tells the rapidly developing story of AI, from its extraordinary ancient roots in Japanese Shintoism, to Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage’s early experiments in computing, through to the major developmental leaps from the 1940s to the present day.

The Exhibition was curated and organised by Barbican International Enterprises and Co-produced by Groninger Forum, Netherlands.

Tickets will go on general sale on 17 October.

John Moores Painting Prize 2020

Walker Art Gallery

11 September 2020 to 14 February 2021

The John Moores Painting Prize returns with the very best of contemporary British painting. Respected by artists and renowned for spotting emerging talent, the competition attracts a hugely diverse range of work which may divide opinion but always reaffirms the power of paint to move and provoke.

The winner of the 2020 Prize picks up £25,000 and joins stellar alumni of previous winners, including David Hockney, Mary Martin, Peter Doig and Rose Wylie. Look out for the announcement of the jury in coming months.

Sublime Symmetry: De Morgan ceramics

Lady Lever Art Gallery                            

25 Sept 2020 – 17 Jan 2021

The magnificent ceramics of William De Morgan (1839 – 1917) are the focus of this glorious new exhibition which uncovers the pattern, shape and symmetry in De Morgan’s designs.

The exhibition explores De Morgan’s rigorous working method and reveals underneath the fantastical beasts and fanciful flora, carefully planned mathematical structure and adherence to precise geometric rules.

A touring show from the De Morgan Foundation.

Permanent displays:

Life on board

Merseyside Maritime Museum

Opens 28 March 2020

Merseyside Maritime Museum will open a stunning new gallery in spring 2020. Exploring the moving and fascinating stories of Liverpool’s seafarers and passengers, the Life on board gallery highlights the stories of the merchant sailors who drove the city’s prosperity, as well as tales of the people who sailed aboard leisure liners. Uncover the dangers, joys, cultures and community at the heart of seafaring, from the 1700s to the present day and find out more about ship passengers and crews, and the lives they led on board. The new gallery will also include the fascinating Archive Centre, featuring National Museums Liverpool’s vast collection of maritime and slavery records.

World Cultures Gallery

World Museum

Various dates

Working with a number of creative people, World Museum is devising a series of interventions that will help connect the collections of its World Cultures gallery to current debates around issues such as race and empire, and the significance of looted objects in museums. Curators have worked with comedian, Daliso Chaponda; poet, Sarah Howe, and artist, Leo Asemota, to create fresh interpretation that is intended to provoke discussions in the public spaces around the gallery, and online, and to help identify a new direction for the gallery.

READ MORE: Museums of Liverpool

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