International Slavery Museum, Liverpool

For more than 2,000 years people in many different parts of the world have forced their fellow humans into slavery. Between about 1500 and 1900, Europeans forcibly uprooted millions of people from throughout West Africa and West Central Africa and shipped them across the Atlantic in conditions of great cruelty. To refer to the Africans who were enslaved only as ’slaves’ strips them of their identity. They were, for instance, farmers, merchants, priests, soldiers, goldsmiths and musicians. They were husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, sons and daughters. They could be Yoruba, Igbo, Akan or Kongolese … (full text History of the slave trade).

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Links: Homepage Liverpool Museum; Federation of International Human Rights Museums; Capital Projects;
Address: International Slavery Museum, Dock Traffic Office, Albert Dock, Liverpool, L3 4AX, England;
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About the museum /Our vision for the museum: 

  • “The transatlantic slave trade was the greatest forced migration in history.
  • And yet the story of the mass enslavement of Africans by Europeans is one of resilience and survival against all the odds, and is a testament to the unquenchable nature of the human spirit.
  • In 1994, National Museums Liverpool opened the Transatlantic Slavery Gallery, the first of its kind in the world. This gallery has achieved huge visitor numbers and impact, but there is now a pressing need to tell a bigger story because of its relevance to contemporary issues that face us all.
  • Our vision is to create a major new International Slavery Museum to promote the understanding of transatlantic slavery and its enduring impact.
  • Our aim is to address ignorance and misunderstanding by looking at the deep and permanent impact of slavery and the slave trade on Africa, South America, the USA, the Caribbean and Western Europe. Thus we will increase our understanding of the world around us.” (Dr David Fleming OBE, director, National Museums Liverpool).

Further information is available in the transcripts of David Fleming’s speech at the dinner to celebrate the opening of the International Slavery Museum on 22 August 2007. This is just one of the transcripts of lectures, speeches and talks about or relating to the museum and the themes and collections within it that are available on this website.

Making the vision a reality:

  • The new museum opened on 23 August 2007. Not only was this the date of the annual Slavery Remembrance Day, but the year 2007 was particularly significant as it was the bicentenary of the abolition of the British slave trade.
  • The International Slavery Museum highlights the international importance of slavery, both in a historic and contemporary context. Working in partnership with other museums with a focus on freedom and enslavement, the museum provides opportunities for greater awareness and understanding of the legacy of slavery today.
  • It is located in Liverpool’s Albert Dock, at the centre of a World Heritage site and only yards away from the dry docks where 18th century slave trading ships were repaired and fitted out.
  • One of the greatest groups of national museums in the world, National Museums Liverpool is ideally placed to elevate this subject onto an international stage. Our previous focus on the issue of slavery, the Transatlantic Slavery Gallery at the Merseyside Maritime Museum, won worldwide recognition and was central to the development of our award-winning work on diversity and outreach.

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