Museum offers window into the world of bees

World Museum in Liverpool teams up with artist Wolfgang Buttress to offer a stunning audio-visual insight into the world of bees. Tony McDonough reports

Bees: A Story of Survival is on display at the World Museum in Liverpool. Picture by Robin Clewley Photography


A new immersive exhibition at the World Museum in Liverpool offers a fascinating insight into the world of bees.

National Museums Liverpool has teamed up with award-winning artist Wolfgang Buttress to create Bees: A Story of Survival, using the latest audio-visual technology. It will run at the museum in William Brown Street until May 5, 2025.

This exhibition explores the lives of bees from across the globe, transporting audiences into their world – including a stunning soundscape featuring 40,000 bees.

Led by changing soundscapes, visitors embark on a journey through eight immersive rooms. Through spaces inspired and shaped by the architecture of the beehive, audiences will engage with bees, through a live stream directly into a living colony. 

Using sounds and scents, visitors follow a trail from trees to digital wildflower meadows, highlighting the impact of bees as pollinators of the natural world.

A fusion of art, science, technology and incorporating film from the international scientific community Bees: A Story of Survival brings to life what it is like to see and hear like a bee.

Wolfgang Buttress, said: “Bees can be seen as sentinels of the earth. They have been around for more than 120m years and are exquisitely tuned to the environment.

“Their health and wellbeing mirror the health of the Earth and they are dying in unprecedented numbers. Their existential challenges reflect our own – they die and suffer, we die and suffer.

“This exhibition was imagined to be like no other. The intention was to create an emotionally engaging and sensory stimulating experience to express the wonder and diversity of bees.

“I want the audience to feel empathy as well as an understanding and appreciation of these incredible creatures. If we love and respect bees a little bit more after seeing this exhibition, then we may well make the earth a better place for them and us to live in.”


Bees: A Story of Survival is an immersive exhition. Picture by Robin Clewley Photography
The exhibition has been created by artist Wolfgang Buttress. Picture by Robin Clewley Photography
Bees: A Story of Survival runs until May 5, 2025. Picture by Robin Clewley Photography


The exhibition draws upon a decade of collaboration between Wolfgang and specialist in bee communication, Professor Martin Bencsik.

Taking inspiration from his immensely popular 2015 installation The Hive at Kew Gardens, the artist delves deep into the world of bees to create an emotional experience that will resonate long after audiences leave.

One highlight is Symphony, a space where visitors can be part of a responsive artwork and soundscape. Featuring sounds from over 40,000 bees, your movement is captured live in the space and expressed as ‘light’ shadows resembling stardust or pollen.

World Museum’s extensive entomology collection and specialist curators have played a key role in the development of Bees: A Story of Survival.

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With more than 30,000 specimens of bees – including the UK’s rarest bee, Osmia xanthomelana, found only on a single site in North Wales – the museum’s natural history collections are used to support national and international research.

The exhibition is sponsored by lead partner Radisson RED Liverpool and premieres at World Museum, before embarking on a global tour. For more information visit:

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