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Sankofa project - get involved!

people looking through old photos together

© Gareth Jones

We need you to get involved in the Sankofa project, which is investigating Black social history within our collections and also beyond the walls of the museums.

Sankofa is a word in the Akan language of Ghana that translates as ‘reach back and get it’. It also refers to an Asante Adinkra symbol.

The Sankofa symbol teaches us that we must go back to our roots in order to move forward.

The project aims to:

  • Highlight Black social history within National Museums Liverpool's collections through an online exhibition.
  • Work with community groups to support them with caring for their existing archives and making them more accessible.
  • Support individuals with resources and a toolkit for how to look after objects.
  • Encourage everyone to share their objects, memories and photographs relating to Liverpool's Black heritage.


Look out for our upcoming events, which will include workshops, opportunities for you to digitise your old photos and documents, and a waterfront tour of Black heritage in our collections. More details will be available here soon.

"Together, we will aim to ensure collections and stories from beyond our museum borders are not lost, but uncovered and preserved and their important contribution to our collective histories is documented and shared.  

This will include the development of local community collections and displaying dispersed, untold and hidden histories of Black people and communities in the UK."
Janet Dugdale, National Museums Liverpool

drummers on stage under a Liverpool 8 banner with an image of breaking chains

L8 Mandela Freedom Festival, 1988. Courtesy of International Slavery Museum

Project partners

logo: Museums Association Esmee Fairbairn Collections Fund

The Sankofa project has been funded by a significant grant from the Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund.

The project will be led by National Museums Liverpool in partnership with Bristol Museums Galleries and Archives. It will be developed and delivered in collaboration with the Black community, individuals and community organisations in Liverpool, and further afield.

The project will inform how the museums and heritage sector understands, conserves, collects and utilises both transatlantic slavery and its legacies, along with Black social history and the diaspora.

National Museums Liverpool and its partners will consult and work with galleries nationwide to create new resources, share findings and best practice within the sector, in order to demonstrate how collections can be cared for, shared, stored and displayed in community settings outside museums. 

girls at a street party in Liverpool 8

L8 Mandela Freedom Festival, 1988. Courtesy of International Slavery Museum