2016 exhibitions announced

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National Museums Liverpool’s exhibitions programme for 2016

National Museums Liverpool has announced its exhibition programme for 2016, across its eight museums and galleries.

The year will present some fantastic opportunities to visit Liverpool to experience new, inspirational, celebratory and historical exhibitions in some of the city’s most-visited venues.

Both the Walker Art Gallery and Lady Lever Art Gallery are looking forward to some significant highlights next year, as they welcome two major exhibitions and the highly anticipated re-opening of the Lady Lever’s South End galleries. 

In February, the Walker will unveil some of the most enduring and popular works of the Pre-Raphaelite movement, in Pre-Raphaelites: Beauty and Rebellion (12 February until 5 June 2016). This major exhibition will feature more than 120 paintings by leading Pre-Raphaelite artists, including loans from institutions and private collections across the UK – many of which have never been on public display before – along with works taken from National Museums Liverpool’s own collections.

From 9 July until 27 November 2016, the John Moores Painting Prize 2016 exhibition will form part of Liverpool Biennial 2016 festival of contemporary art. Having championed contemporary British painting for almost 60 years, the John Moores competition is the country’s longest-established prize for artists working with the medium of paint. A selection of shortlisted works will be displayed in the exhibition, chosen by an esteemed panel of judges, including five prize-winning paintings, one of which will be awarded the £25,000 first prize.

In spring, the Lady Lever Art Gallery will also make its mark in 2016, with the re-opening of its South End galleries, following a £2.8m refurbishment project to transform 500 square metres of gallery space. The galleries will be returned to their original architectural design and objects including the best collection of Wedgwood jasperware in the world, one of the finest collections of Chinese porcelain in Europe and outstanding 18th-century paintings, furniture and sculpture, will be on show in stunning new displays. 

World Museum’s 2016 exhibition programme opens in January with the inspiring family-friendly exhibition Eye for Colour (22 January until 4 September 2016), returning for its 10th anniversary having been seen by more than a million people across Europe. The Museum will also play host to some ancient Egyptian visitors from October, as the fascinating Gifts for the Gods: Animal Mummies Revealed (14 October 2016 to 26 February 2017) explores the religious practice of offering animal mummies to the gods. Featuring mummified specimens such as jackals, crocodiles, cats and birds, the exhibition will include a recreation of a subterranean animal catacomb.

On the waterfront, the Museum of Liverpool will display the second of its First World War: Reflecting on Liverpool’s Home Front exhibition series (17 June – October 2016), this time focusing on the relief and charitable activities of the city and its people during the War period, as we mark 100 years since 20,000 men lost their lives on the First Day of the Somme.

A fascinating exhibition of original film posters highlighting Liverpool’s cinematic history, will give a new perspective on the city at the Museum of Liverpool. A city of storytellers, Liverpool has starred as itself on many occasions, providing the perfect backdrop to tell the stories of its people and culture, and also portrayed many other locations around the world during its film career. Reel Stories: Liverpool and the Silver Screen will run from 11 March 2016 until January 2017, exploring numerous themes which demonstrate Liverpool’s star quality, as the most-filmed city in the UK outside of London.

At the International Slavery Museum, Afro Supa Hero will be on show from 13 May – 11 December 2016. Celebrating the importance of role models and icons in combating the legacies of racism and discrimination, Afro Supa Hero provides a snapshot of a childhood journey to adulthood, shown through artist Jon Daniel’s personal collection of pop cultural heroes and heroines of the African diaspora. The exhibition will offer an insight into the experience of a boy growing up in south west London in the 1960s and 70s, finding his positive Black role models in the West Indian culture of his family, and the African American culture of the US.

Merseyside Maritime Museum will display a brand new exhibition from 22 July until February 2017, focusing on the Liverpool Pilotage Service; the second oldest institution in Liverpool. Telling the story of the Liverpool Pilots and exploring their vital role in navigating ships in and out of the Port of Liverpool, this 2016 exhibition will mark their 250th year, which has included numerous occasions of bravery, saving lives and cargo from disaster.

For more detailed information on exhibitions, please see the listings below: