Our venues

Sankofa project - get involved!

visitors helping to document Liverpool's Black community on our timeline

© Leila Romaya

twitter #sankofapeople

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.

Tell us what you think

Please help us by filling in a short questionnaire to tell us what you think we should include in an online exhibition.  

News and events

We are running a series of events throughout the year, which will include workshops, opportunities for you to digitise your old photos and documents, and a waterfront tour of Black heritage in our collections. 

Like our Sankofa project facebook page to find out more about upcoming events and to get the latest news about the project.

Black histories collection highlights

Explore our collections

Take a look at objects from the Museum of Liverpool, Merseyside Maritime Museum and International Slavery Museum and read the stories behind them in our Black social histories online collection.

"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

people looking at old photos together

© Leila Romaya

Sankofa project blogs

Photo from the early 1960s, Alvin with his siblings. Alvin is on the right.

Mapping the past

9 June

As part of the Sankofa project we’ve been thinking about the idea of mapping Black heritage in the city. Liverpool 8 is not the only place the Black communities have settled in the city but it has been long considered the most multi-cultural area of Liverpool. Read more about Mapping the past

Betty with part of her cook book collection

Betty and her cookery books

1 June

Whilst having a stand at the Granby Street Market, I was lucky enough to meet Betty Vandy and try some of her amazing food. I told her about the Sankofa project and she told me all about her cook book collection. I’ll let Betty tell you more. Read more about Betty and her cookery books

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. 

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

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