Liverpool’s reputation as the home city of rock and pop heritage has been cemented as it welcomes Britain’s only museum of popular music.
The British Music Experience (BME) is heading to the city after a five-year run at London’s O2 and will be making its new home in the iconic Cunard Building, positioned as one of Britain’s most compelling attractions.
Mayor Joe Anderson and BME Chairman Harvey Goldsmith CBE have joined forces to bring the attraction to Liverpool, which will see more than 600 rare BME music heritage archive items go on display in the former Departure Lounge location.
The unrivalled collection of music artefacts and memorabilia includes some of David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust costumes and the original handwritten lyrics to Blue Monday by New Order. The Museum will also pay homage to the impact British music has had on the culture, fashion, art and politics of the time.
Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, said: “This is a fantastic addition to the city’s existing attractions and it makes perfect sense that a museum which celebrates the importance of British music and its influence on society, has its home in Liverpool.
“Music is inherent here and is entwined with the city’s history, present and future. The Cunard Building itself played a vital role in shaping the industry thanks to the music that travelled across the Atlantic by those travelling on the Cunard Vessels. This music then immersed itself in our culture and influenced many aspiring musicians, including four young men who wanted to perform their own rock ‘n’ roll and then went on to become the most famous band in the world.
“It’s wonderful to be able to work in partnership with such an influential figure as Harvey and add another dimension to our tourism offer which will benefit existing businesses and boost the local economy. Undoubtedly, BME will be hugely popular as music is a major cultural driving force in the city and I look forward to seeing the project taking shape over the forthcoming months.”
The BME is expected to create around 35 jobs and attract thousands of new visitors to the region. It will open Easter 2016.
Chair of the BME, Harvey Goldsmith, said “The trustees of the British Music Experience are thrilled to have partnered with the city of Liverpool and to have found a permanent home for the UK’s collection of rock and pop memorabilia and artefacts.
“The historic Cunard Building on the shores of the Mersey represents the perfect home. The transatlantic voyage and the back and forth shared between the UK and USA plays a significant role in the story the Museum tells.
“Liverpool is the natural home for the BME and we hope to enrich the city’s current music heritage offering and further solidify the city as a worldwide music heritage destination.”
Using the Museum’s interactive approach, visitors will be able to trace historic and era-defining moments and experience what it may have felt like to be part of them. An interactive instrument studio will allow people to unleash the rock ‘n’ roll within them, others can learn how to Vogue in the dance booth or perhaps flick through virtual record collections.
Tablets and smartphones can also be used to unlock the display cases and listen to tracks, learning the secrets kept behind the glass doors.
With an amazing comprehensive archive of iconic images and footage, visitors can immerse themselves in the history of British music, which created some of the world’s most influential artists.
Additionally, the BME will host Learning and Public Programmes to further enrich the museum experience and reach, through a range of events; from educational workshops for school children tied to the national curriculum, to master classes and gigs hosted by industry experts. It will also offer a unique and engaging venue for corporate events and after parties.
The British Music Experience is a registered not-for-profit charity with the purpose of advancing the education and appreciation of the art, history and science of music in Britain (registered charity no.1125752). The BME is managed by an independent Board of Trustees and chaired by Harvey Goldsmith, CBE.
A procurement process is underway to secure an operator to run the museum alongside the Trust. The admission price for the tickets is to be decided in the forthcoming months.