Richard Benjamin June 2020
The Liverpool-based International Slavery Museum is the only national museum dedicated to the subject of slavery.
Its purpose is to increase the understanding of transatlantic, chattel and other forms of enslavement. The museum opened on 23 August 2007, which was not only the annual Slavery Remembrance Day, but the year 2007 was also the bicentenary of the abolition of the British Slave trade. Through our collections, public engagement and research, we explore their impact and legacies. We are proud to be a campaigning museum that actively engages with contemporary human rights issues, and works in the fight against racism, challenging discrimination and addressing inequality.
We address ignorance and challenge intolerance, building partnerships with museums, communities and organisations that share our vision. We help our visitors understand this history and legacies of the transatlantic slavery, such as racism, hate crime, and issues of freedom and injustice, prejudice and ignorance. So many of the elements that unfortunately still prevail today. It is our civic duty to raise awareness and we are committed to working together with our partners to do just that.
In February 2020 we were shortlisted for the UK Heritage Horizon fund for our project “ISM Igniting Ideas and Action”. The grant would fund extending the museum, and creating a dedicated entrance by renovating the neighbouring Martin Luther King Jr (MLK) building. The expanded ISM will speak with the voices of those most deeply affected by historic and contemporary slavery. A community-led model of working with Black communities and victims of modern slavery will co-produce the content and engagement programme. At the heart of this project is the museum’s slogan We Remember. We Act.
Dr Richard Benjamin is the Head of International Slavery Museum, Liverpool, UK.