Transforming the International Slavery Museum & Maritime Museum

International Slavery Museum and Maritime Museum
National Museums of Liverpool International Slavery Museum

These two inspiring museums, with a strong foundation of community conversations, join in the transformation of Liverpool Waterfront: telling the full story of Britain’s maritime history in tandem with its role in the transatlantic slave trade.
The project sensitively responds to the existing Grade I-listed buildings; the Hartley Pavilion and the Martin Luther King Building, understanding their civic value and cherished nature, to reimagine and revitalise them. They will the settings for storytelling, for heritage, community, and hospitality. Together they will be a rich visitor experience and a catalyst for social change in Liverpool, the UK and beyond.
The project develops new galleries for both museums, as well as shared spaces for community uses, research, learning and events. The Maritime Museum’s welcome spaces will be reconfigured to fully engage with its surroundings and  by adding a shop, café, event space and restaurant we will improve every visit.

All of our plans work to deliver National Museums Liverpool’s aspirations to decarbonise both existing buildings.

Key Information

Sector: Arts & Culture, Heritage & Creative Reuse

Client: National Museums Liverpool

Location: Liverpool

Completion: 2028

Size: 14400sqm

We believe the new designs elevate the museum’s presence within its historic location on the Liverpool waterfront and will allow the collections and narratives of transatlantic slavery to resonate with an even wider audience

Michelle Charters, Head of International Slavery Museum


The distinctive new entrance for the International Slavery Museum is worthy of its global agenda as the first and only museum in the world dedicated to the transatlantic slave trade.

The Entrance Pavilion presents a unified arrival experience, preparing visitors for the journey within. It is a monumental sculpture, remembering Liverpool’s historic role in transatlantic slavery whilst being a beacon of hope for a more inclusive and equitable future.

National Museums of Liverpool International Slavery Museum link bridge


The two buildings are connected by an elegant new link bridge, allowing the stories of both museums to weave seamlessly together. It will act as a natural pause-point with panoramic views across the Docks. Here visitors can stop and consider that the stories gathered in the exhibitions are not far-off narratives but relate to the place they currently stand.

Britain’s maritime exploits and the transatlantic slave trade are all part of the story of Liverpool, part of the story of us all.

International Slavery Museum Balustrade


Decades of co-production with community groups and National Museums Liverpool will be expressed in the detail of the Entrance Pavilion.

The ironwork façade will artistically express this journey, whilst the integrated balustrade timeline will show the story of the International Slavery Museum from its origins 30 years ago as a gallery in the basement of the Maritime Museum, to finally receiving recognition in its own right. This will sit in the timeline within the context of Liverpool’s history with transatlantic slavery and, it’s modern-day consequences.

…these [are] impactful new designs, that signify an exciting future for the museum, with fresh energy and opportunities.

Ian Murphy, Head of Maritime Museum


Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios
Civil & Structural Engineer
M&E / Sustainability / Fire Engineer
Atelier Ten
Project Manager/ Cost Consultant/ BIM Manager
Ridge and Partners LLP
Heritage Consultants
Donald Insall Associates
Exhibition Designers
Ralph Appelbaum Associates
Access Consultants
Buro Happold
Acoustic Consultants
Sandy Brown Associates
Planning Consultants
The Planning Lab
CDM Consultant - Principal Designer
iM2 Ltd