MOST love it, some loathe it, but the new £72m Museum of Liverpool is here to stay and today celebrates its first anniversary as a Mersey riverfront fixture.
If nicknames are any indication of the museum’s power to work its way into the public psyche, then it has achieved a status with epithets ranging from “Britain’s biggest skateboard ramp” to “the concrete cross-over bra” to “the X-fighter”.
Most controversy was on whether the uncompromising modern design, very similar to the Rome Museum of 21st Century Art, enhances or detracts from its high-profile site at Mann Island.
This is an unmissable statement building squeezed in between the Edwardian grandeur of the Pier Head’s Three Graces and the handsome practicality of Albert Dock.
Needless to say, the museum’s director Janet Dugdale is a fan, who feels the pain and strain has been worth it.
She can hardly believe she’s celebrating a double anniversary after overseeing the creation of one of Britain’s newest and controversial museums.
“This is a history museum about now,” she states, “visitors say it is one of the reasons to come to the city.
“Although a free museum, its success creates a big economic impact.”
Not only has she overseen the museum from its conception 12 years ago, but last week was her 15th anniversary since joining National Museums Liverpool.
Starting as curator of social and community history at the Museum of Liverpool Life, predecessor to the current museum, she became its director in 2000.
“I always wanted to work in Liverpool as I realised there was so much potential here with a huge appetite for social history.
“The new museum reflects Liverpool more fully. For example, we couldn’t display transport items like the Liverpool Overhead Railway coach – never mind place it at an authentic height.