Future plans

crowds at the Slavery Remembrance Day walk of remembrance

Make a difference

The International Slavery Museum opened in 2007 and is the only national museum in the world to focus on the transatlantic slave trade and its legacies. With your support, the next stage in the development of the museum will see it expand into the adjacent Dr Martin Luther King Jr Building.

This will be the International Slavery Museum's new entrance, with spaces where you can engage in more education and community activity, research family history and view the museum’s newest collections. Please support our plans.

Dr Martin Luther King Jr Building

Let's do this together

Together we can:

  • develop the world’s leading museum and research institute on slavery
  • raise awareness of current human rights issues
  • actively campaign against racism, discrimination and human rights abuses
  • do more work with schools and community groups to gain an understanding of the transatlantic slave trade and its legacies.

If you can support us call 0151 478 4734 or email development@liverpoolmuseums.org.uk|

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Dream @ 50

The Dr Martin Luther King Jr Building first opened to the public for one day on 28 August 2013, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the historic 'I have a dream' speech. Watch highlights from the day's events in this video:

This video was produced for the International Slavery Museum by Urbeatz.
Read a trancript of this video|.

Extending the museum

Opening the Dr Martin Luther King Jr Building will offer new spaces that complement the existing International Slavery Museum with new flexible displays for collections and exhibitions as well as community and educational areas.

This is the first stage of a longer term plan to link the Dr Martin Luther King Jr Building with the existing Slavery Museum via a glass walkway. This development work is subject to further funding.

"Since opening in 2007 the museum has grown in strength and influence. In order for us to keep momentum as a campaigning museum our aspiration is to expand and evolve.

By opening the Martin Luther King Jr Building to the public we hope to encourage more community involvement and engagement with collections, exhibitions and campaigns."
Dr Richard Benjamin, head of the International Slavery Museum.

In May 2010 planning permission was granted for our exciting plans to extend the International Slavery Museum.

illustration showing proposed glass bridge between buildings

Illustration of the planned glass walkway between the Dr Martin Luther King Jr Building and International Slavery Museum displays in the Maritime Museum building

Currently the museum is contained within the Merseyside Maritime Museum and entered on the third floor. The new plans will see the museum have its own entrance at the Dr Martin Luther King Jr Building  and a striking glass walkway will connect the two buildings.

As part of the expansion the Dr Martin Luther King Jr Building will also house a new Education and Exhibition resource centre for the International Slavery Museum.

At present the Martin Luther King Jr building houses National Museums Liverpool staff. The Grade 1 listed building was built in 1848 and in recent years was the home of Granada TV.

The scheme has been designed by Liverpool architects Austin-Smith:Lord |, who are based in the Port of Liverpool Building.

Education and Exhibition centre

The planned Education and Exhibition centre will be a state of the art resource including exhibition space, education and research facilities, a resource centre and community zones.

Not only will the centre offer facilities for those interested in both historical and contemporary aspects of slavery but it aims to contribute to greater understanding and informed debate about slavery and its many legacies. It will examine the cultural and social effects of the transatlantic slave trade, slavery and resistance on all societies involved.

The education and exhibition centre will enable the International Slavery Museum to become the world's leading museum of historic and contemporary slavery and related issues such as human rights and social justice. The centre will bring a further dimension to the interpretation of the history and legacies of the transatlantic slave trade - ensuring that the International Slavery Museum is seen nationally and internationally as a world-class and cutting edge visitor attraction.

Video transcript

The Dream @50 video includes music from the day's performances and this short excerpt from the welcome speech given by Dr Richard Benjamin, head of the International Slavery Museum:

"Today we're in a building that has never been open before to the general public in 150 years or more. So it's quite momentous in that sense. As you know, it's the Martin Luther King Jr Building, what a great day to open, 50 years on from his 'I have a dream' speech. The performances have been great, the poetry performances, the dance performances, and it's what 'I have a dream' means to everybody."