National Museums Liverpool 2020 Exhibition Programme announced

Date posted:
Wed 09 October 2019

Last night twelve months of outstanding exhibitions and new permanent displays at National Museums Liverpool (NML) were announced for 2020.

As you will see from the programme below, the variety of fascinating and inspirational exhibitions is designed to attract a wide range of audiences and, in line with our mission, promises to create memorable experiences – for everyone – challenging expectations. And 2020 is not just about exhibitions; we will also be opening Life on board, a major new gallery at the Merseyside Maritime Museum, which explores more than three centuries of our city’s seafaring history. While at World Museum we will be bringing fresh perspectives to the World Cultures gallery.

Fiona Philpott, Director of Exhibitions, said: “It is the phenomenal effort and creativity of our staff that has brought together such an exciting programme for 2020. Not only are we building exhibitions and displays around our own world-class collections, we are hosting some extraordinary touring exhibitions, too.”


Liverpool on wheels: from horses to horsepower Museum of Liverpool 14 February to 1 November 2020

Liverpool’s proud transport history is revealed through a fabulous array of vehicles built in and around Liverpool. From bicycles to horse drawn carriages, the exhibition features some of the larger objects in NML’s collection. Exploring the city’s remarkable history of transport innovation and manufacturing, it is a unique view of Liverpool’s social history.

German Revolution: Expressionist prints Lady Lever Art Gallery 10 April to 31 August 2020 Powerful prints by some of the most influential artists of the 20th century, including work by Munch, Schiele and Kokoschka. The exhibition explores how the social, political, sexual and moral struggles taking place during the turbulent period of the German Revolution (1918-1919) moved artists to produce such dramatic imagery. Also featured will be important prints by Gauguin and Picasso that demonstrate how artists outside Germany contributed to the evolution of Expressionism.

The exhibition is drawn from the collection of The Hunterian, University of Glasgow.

Linda McCartney Retrospective Walker Art Gallery 25 April to 31 August 2020

From her iconic depictions of the music scene of the 1960s, to family life with Paul, Linda McCartney captured her whole world on film. This major retrospective of her photography features more than 200 extraordinary images that reveal what a prolific photographer Linda was, and how her love for the natural world; her surreal sense of humour, and an exceptional eye for capturing the spontaneous, gave her work an inimitable style.

The exhibition will include a selection of images taken in Liverpool and on the Wirral which have never been on public display.

AI: More than Human World Museum 10 July to 1 November 2020

The fascinating world of artificial intelligence comes to World Museum in a new exhibition bursting with interactivity through immersive artworks and scientific developments, giving visitors a thrilling vision of the future.

AI: More than Human is an unprecedented survey of the relationship between humans and technology. It tells the rapidly developing story of AI, from its ancient roots in Japanese Shintoism, to Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage’s early experiments in computing, through to major developmental leaps from the 1940s to the present day.

The exhibition was curated and organised by Barbican International Enterprises and co-produced by Groninger Forum, Netherlands.

John Moores Painting Prize 2020 Walker Art Gallery 11 September 2020 to 14 February 2021

The John Moores Painting Prize returns with the very best of contemporary British painting. Respected by artists and renowned for spotting emerging talent, the competition attracts a hugely diverse range of work which may divide opinion but always reaffirms the power of paint to move and provoke.

Sublime Symmetry: De Morgan ceramics Lady Lever Art Gallery 25 Sept 2020 - 17 Jan 2021

The magnificent ceramics of William De Morgan (1839 – 1917) are the focus of this glorious new exhibition which uncovers the pattern, shape and symmetry in De Morgan’s designs.

It explores his rigorous working method and reveals underneath the fantastical beasts and fanciful flora, carefully planned mathematical structure and adherence to precise geometric rules.

This is a touring show from the De Morgan Foundation.

Permanent displays:

Life on board Merseyside Maritime Museum Opens 28 March 2020

Exploring the moving and fascinating stories of Liverpool’s seafarers and passengers, the Life on board gallery highlights stories of the merchant sailors who drove the city’s prosperity, as well as tales of the people who sailed aboard leisure liners. The new gallery will also include the fascinating Archive Centre, featuring NML’s vast collection of maritime and slavery records.

World Cultures Gallery World Museum Various dates

Working with a number of creative people, we are devising a series of interventions that will help connect the collections of the World Cultures gallery to current debates around issues such as race, empire, and the significance of looted objects in museums.