The museum was originally started as the Derby Museum as it comprised the Earl of Derby's natural history collection. The museum opened in 1851, sharing two rooms on Duke Street with a library. However, the museum proved extremely popular and a new, purpose-built building was required. Land for the new building on a street then known as Shaw's Brow opposite St. George's Hall was donated by local MP and Merchant William Brown, as was much of the funding for the building which would be known as the William Brown Library and Museum. Around 400,000 people attended the opening of the new building in 1860. In the late 19th century, the museum's collection was beginning to outgrow its building so a competition was launched to design a combined extension to the museum and college of technology. The competition was won by William Mountford and the College of Technology and Museum Extension opened in 1901. Liverpool, being one of the UK's major ports, was heavily damaged by German bombing during the blitz. While much of the Museum's collection was moved to less vulnerable locations during the war, the museum building itself was struck by German firebombs and suffered heavy damage. Parts of the museum only began to reopen fifteen years later. In the early first decade of the 21st century, the museum was again expanded, taking over the lower half of the extension which was then owned by Liverpool John Moores University. To better reflect its larger size, the museum was renamed World Museum Liverpool.


The physical sciences collection of World Museum was built after the devastation caused by the incendiary fire of 1941. The collection has expanded, in part, due to transfers from the Decorative Arts Department, Regional History Department, Walker Art Gallery and the Prescot Museum. The collection also contains several significant collections from the Liverpool Royal Institution, Bidston Observatory, later the Proudman Institute of Oceanographic Sciences, and the Physics Department of the University of Liverpool. World Museum is home to a planetarium. The Egyptology collection contains approximately 15,000 objects from Egypt and Sudan and is the most important single component of the Antiquities department's collections. The chronological range of the collection spans from the Prehistoric to the Islamic Period with the largest archaeological site collections being Abydos, Amarna, Beni Hasan, Esna and Meroe. The ethnology collection at World Museum ranks among the top six collections in the country. The four main areas represented are: Africa, the Americas, Oceania and Asia. The exhibition includes interactive displays.


In the Natural World area can be seen a range of exhibits, including live colonies of insects and historic zoological and botanical exhibits. The original donation of zoological specimens included many rare and 'type' specimens, the ones that act as standards for the species. There also specimens of several extinct species housed in the museum, including the Liverpool pigeon, the great auk (and an egg), the Falkland Islands wolf, the South Island piopio, the Lord Howe swamphen, the dodo, the long-tailed hopping mouse, and the thylacine. Another attraction in the Natural world area is an art gallery with pictures of natural artist Edward Lear. The museum’s collections have grown considerably since then and now also include important botanical specimens dating back over 200 years, which represent most of Britain and Ireland’s native flora. Visitors can examine the collections up close in the award winning Clore Natural History Centre, where there are interactive displays.The geological collection at World Museum contains over 40,000 fossils as well as extensive rock and mineral collections. Each of these exhibits show information about the origins, structure and history of the planet earth. Founded in 1858, only seven years after the museum's establishment, much of the original collection was destroyed during the Second World War. The post-war collections have expanded considerably, thanks in part to the acquisition of several significant museum and university collections.

Access Guide (downloadable, if that is a word). Assistance dogs are welcome. Wheelchairs are available to borrow - ask at the information desk. The main entrance is flat, there are automatic doors and there are lifts to all floors. There are toilets on all floors except the ground floor - they are all accessible to wheelchair users. On the first floor there is a 'Changing Places' toilet for adults with carers. If you would like to visit the museum and have specific access requirements for your group, please contact Gina Couch ( or Steve Cross ( to discuss these. World Museum was rated the third most accessible tourist destination in the UK, in the Vitalise Accessible UK Tourism Report 2014.


Location : World Museum, William Brown Street, Liverpool L3 8EN

Transport: Liverpool Lime Street (National Rail). Bus routes 30, 30A, 54 and 101 stop nearby. MerseyLink Service

Opening Times: Daily 10:00 to 17:00

Ancient World Gallery re-opens Autumn 2016

Tickets: Free.

Tram Fare: Adults £2.00. Children/Concessions £1.00

Tel: 0151 478 4393