National Museums Liverpool reflects on love in first episode of new podcast series

Love will be the first topic to be explored in a series of podcasts being launched by National Museums Liverpool (NML) this week.

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Hosted by Jane Garvey, former presenter of BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour, Re:PRESENT aims to bring the mysteries of the museums into people’s homes during lockdown.

David Watson, Executive Director of Audiences and Media at NML, said: “The series will take historical stories from our collections and give them a new lease of life by presenting them with a modern twist via a range of diverse voices from the past and present. We hope to continue to inspire our visitors while we are closed during lockdown but also bring our collections to new audiences.

“Digital storytelling has become more important than ever and will continue to be so. Stories are the essence behind people’s love of museums. We have the broadest range of stories to tell and this podcast series is an opportunity to reflect on just some of the incredible stories from our collections, programmes and communities.”

The first episode will revisit the story of former merchant navy men Michael Rudder and Dominic Brown, who many will remember from the Hello Sailor exhibition at Maritime Museum. The couple met on board a ship in the 1970s and are still together 45 years later. They compare being cooped up together at sea to being in lockdown.

We’ll hear from Alayo Akinkugbe, who founded the Instagram account @ABlackHistoryOfArt to highlight overlooked black artists, sitters, curators and thinkers from art history and the present day. Alayo, along with art historian and collector Dr Michael Barclay, will share their thoughts on the artist Glynn Philpott, whose lover Vivian Forbes took his own life the day after Philpott’s funeral.

The first episode will also feature Ian Murphy from Maritime Museum talking about the sinking of the Lusitania in WWI and we’ll hear a love poem written by an engineer who lost his life during the sinking and never got the chance to meet his unborn daughter.

Host Jane Garvey, whose own great grandfather died on board the Lusitania, said: "My grandmother lived with us when I was a child. She was just a teenager when her dad was drowned, so I grew up knowing a little bit about the sinking of the Lusitania and the impact it had on so many people's lives in Liverpool. I'm really proud to be playing a part in bringing just some of the material in Liverpool's museums and galleries to life. This isn't stuffy or dry, it's real people telling their own stories and living through history".

Future themes include work, isolation, movement, resilience and protest with stories on Liverpool 8 Against Apartheid, the MV Derbyshire disaster and transatlantic slavery. We'll be speaking to organisations such as Black Lives Matter, Down’s Syndrome Association, GenderSpace and more.

You can find the podcast on National Museum Liverpool’s website, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. The first episode will be available from Friday 5 March. A new episode will be released every two weeks.

www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk