The £72m Museum of Liverpool has opened to the public.
The 8,000 square metre building is the largest purpose-built museum in Britain for more than a century.
Among its 6,000 artefacts are Ken Dodd's tickling sticks and the skeleton of the 1900 Grand National winner.
The museum, expected to attract 750,000 people every year, has opened as the nearby Liver Building celebrates its centenary.
Six-year-old Finn O'Hare, from Mossley Hill, performed the official opening ceremony after writing to the museum asking to carry out the honour.
Chairman of National Museums Liverpool Phil Redmond said: "Liverpool's history began long before Bill Shankly and The Beatles.
"It was the second city of the [British] empire, so the museum is not just important to Liverpool but to the entire UK."
Other exhibits include the school-hall stage on which John Lennon and Paul McCartney first played, the Brookside Close street sign from the television soap and items dating back to the ice age.
Museum director Janet Dugdale said: "We've got Bill Shankly's raincoat, we've also got Alan Ball's white boots, Beth Tweddle the Olympic gymnast has lent us material, as has Chris Boardman.
"Two key exhibits are two big film immersive experiences, one of them is about The Beatles, and then we have another film which looks at being a football fan and the passion of being a football fan."