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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.  


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. 

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

Activism shapes our collections

16 February

As part of the Sankofa Project we have started to explore Black activism in Liverpool. An activist is a person who campaigns to bring about political or social change. These words can definitely be used to describe Chief Bassey Duke Ephraim (also known as Bassey Orok Edem). Read more about Activism shapes our collections

Weaving herstory

23 January

The Sankofa project aims to highlight people’s amazing collections and offer advice about how these precious histories can be preserved for future generations. Passing down information to future generations can be done in lots of ways. Read more about Weaving herstory

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