A museum which was destroyed by fire in the Blitz is preparing to “rise from the ashes” for the second time in its history when it reopens after lockdown.

The World Museum in Liverpool will welcome members of the public for the first time this year when it reopens on Tuesday after lockdown restrictions are eased.

Head of the museum Anne Fahy said staff had been busy behind the scenes preparing to reopen their permanent exhibits on Ancient Egypt, space and dinosaurs, as well as new exhibition AI More Than Human.

She said: “It’s been so strange in the last year, I think life has been really disrupted and dislocated.

“In a way we’re one of these institutions that is a constant, we have been here since the mid-19th century.

“We have had our ups and downs, we’ve been destroyed by fire in the war, in the Blitz, but we have risen from the ashes.

“We will still be here, doing what we love – making our collections available to the public and giving people memorable experiences.”

The museum, built in 1851, was gutted by fire when the city was bombed in May 1941.

During lockdown, while some employees have been on furlough, other members of staff have been regularly in the museum to check on the safety of the building and exhibits.

Visitors will have to book in advance, to limit visitor numbers, and follow a one-way system, with hand sanitising stations around the museum and regular cleaning.

The new exhibition, which explores the idea of artificial intelligence in the past and how it might develop in the future, was originally due to open in July last year but the pandemic meant it was unable to be transported from its previous home in The Netherlands.

Extra sanitising stations have been put throughout the exhibit so visitors can enjoy the interactive elements, including stroking robot puppy Aibo.

A man in a space suit with children at Liverpools World Museum
A man in a space suit with children at Liverpools World Museum (Peter Byrne/PA)

Ms Fahy said: “We have had a few stops and starts, we have been planning the show since around 2019.

“It’s really such a great show, there is something for everyone there.”

Ms Fahy said museum staff would have loved to have reopened last month, when non-essential shops, hairdressers and beer gardens were allowed, but they made the use of the extra time to get the venues ready.

She added: “I am positive about the future.

“When we reopened last year we had a really overwhelmingly positive reaction from our visitors who came back.

“We were only open 100 days and we had just on 100,000 visitors during that period of time so we know that our visitors will return.”

National Museums Liverpool’s venues will reopen on Tuesday and the AI More Than Human exhibition will run until October 31.