Museum of Liverpool Exhibition – First World War: reflecting on Liverpool’s Home Front

The Museum of Liverpool will open a new exhibition this July, to mark 100 years since the outbreak of the First World War.

First World War: reflecting on Liverpool’s Home Front opens on 23 July.

Running until 1 March 2015 the exhibition will explore some of the city’s lesser-known stories of the First World War, asking visitors to look at this period of history from a different perspective.

The Museum of Liverpool already pays homage to the many servicemen and women, in particular members of the King’s Regiment, but this new exhibition will uncover the untold stories of life back home.

Focusing on several themes, the exhibition will also feature a special display recording the outcome of an HLF-funded community collecting project about Liverpool’s Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities during the First World War period.

The project encouraged local BME families to research their First World War history. Although Liverpool had quite a small BME community, it was longstanding and although evidence of them is incredibly rare, there were eligible BME men in Liverpool at the time of conscription. With the help of the families who came forward, curators have gathered information and photographs for this special display to highlight stories and experiences of the First World War.

Several other themes will also be highlighted, which visitors may be surprised to learn of. Liverpool contributed large numbers of people to the war effort. With more than 100,000 men from Merseyside serving, this dramatic shift in social dynamics undoubtedly had an impact on many areas of daily life.

Women gained more independence and responsibility, food and supplies were rationed, and everyone pitched in to help the war effort. This is well known, but what’s often not referenced is that amidst their empowerment and new-found independence, working-class women struggled to manage the funds distributed by government. Some developed drinking problems and pub licencing laws were changed because of cities such as Liverpool and Glasgow where workers usually brought home a daily wage.

Using historic and previously unseen images, these themes will be examined along with others which have remained untold over the last century, in a thought-provoking exhibition which will support the Museum’s First World War items already on display in the City Soldiers Gallery and From Waterfront to Western Front exhibition in The People’s Republic Gallery.

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