About International Slavery Museum
The International Slavery Museum is a museum located by Liverpool’s Royal Albert Dock that is dedicated to showcasing the history and legacy of Britain’s involvement in the transatlantic slave trade.
International Slavery Museum history
The International Slavery Museum first 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 200th anniversary of the year in which Britain abolished its slave trade.
The location of the museum is particularly important in the wider context of slavery and the brutal traffic. Situated by Royal Albert Dock, the museum serves not only as a commemorative institution to those in Britain who worked tirelessly to see the trade abolished in 1807, but also as a stark reminder of the prominent role Britain played in the trafficking of Africans across the Atlantic.
Between 1500 and 1866, roughly 13 million Africans were enslaved and transported across the Atlantic to the New World where a brutal, profit-driven and systematic plantation system awaited them. At least 1 in 10 of those transported did not even survive the notorious “Middle Passage” across to the Americas.
More than 3.2 million of the slaves transported from Africa and across the Atlantic were done so on British ships, primarily disembarking to the British Caribbean colonies of St Kitts, Trinidad, Jamaica and Barbados. Many of those ships began their voyage from Royal Albert Dock in Liverpool, where 18th century slave trading ships were repaired and fitted out.
Liverpool ships alone carried about 1.5 million enslaved Africans across on approximately 5000 voyages, the vast majority going to the Caribbean. Around 300 voyages were also made to North America – to the Carolinas, Virginia and Maryland.
The Museum today
Today, the International Slavery Museum has multiple collections, exhibitions, tours, and displays that cover multiple aspects of slavery – both historical and contemporary.
Exhibitions include a vast array of important documents and artefacts, as well as interactive elements and videos.
The museum is usefully and practically divided into sections relating to the transatlantic slave trade, starting from the origins of slavery in Africa, to Britain’s involvement in the slave trade and its eventual abolition in 1807. The museum also looks at slavery in the modern day and the rise of contemporary movements such as Black Lives Matter.
Particularly notable is the 3D model of a plantation in the Caribbean in the main section of the Museum. You can see all of what is exhibited at the museum via its interactive 3D Virtual Tour, available on the museum’s website.
Getting to the International Slavery Museum
The museum overlooks the entrance to Royal Albert Dock and cannot be missed when arriving at Liverpool’s Waterfront. The site is roughly a 15-minute walk from Liverpool Central Station and parking is available just outside the dock.
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