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19th January 2020

The doors of Hull Maritime Museum were locked for the last time today (Sunday 19 January) as works starts on a £11m redevelopment.

Heritage Assistant Julie Duke, who has worked 16 years at the museum, locked the doors for the final time today as the museum says a temporary farewell.

Julie, said: "Today has been a special but sad day for me. I have seen many people come through the doors, explore the building and enjoy their visit but this refurbishment is very much needed for its future. I am looking forward to the museum's next chapter."

Julie locks the doors
Julie Duke, Heritage Assistant locks the doors for the final time as it closes for three years

Works will now get underway to install new steps and access ramp and is expected to be completed by Easter. As well as the external improvements and prior to the refurbishment works start, 50,000 objects will be carefully documented, conserved, packed away and placed into secure storage at a secret location. This mammoth and complex task is expected to take around a year to complete and then the major works on the museum are expected to begin in March 2021.

The revamped museum is expected to attract 250,000 visits a year – almost doubling the current numbers - when it reopens in late 2023. And it is estimated that it will create more visitors to Hull city centre and the other maritime sites, as well generating an additional £1m boost to the local economy each year.

The extensive redevelopment means the museum and its collections will be in its best ever condition. It includes revealing more of the original Victorian architecture, improved access and visitor facilities including more toilets, a café and lifts, more of the building will be opened up and new and increased technology throughout. New exhibitions and displays will offer a 21st century museum for the people of Hull and visitors.

Although though the Maritime Museum will be closed there are still a huge variety of ways that people can get involved in the Hull Maritime project. Some of the highlights coming up in the next few months include a programme of pop up exhibitions which will go on display at city centre venues allowing people to discover hidden stories from Hull’s maritime past. Over the next three years there will also be the opportunity to get involved in craft workshops, community courses, large scale public events and activities, as well as the extensive volunteer programme. The project education team will be working in primary and secondary schools as well as further and higher education institutions across the region to deliver a wide range of learning opportunities for children and young people.

Children making crafts at Great Adventures In Storyland hosted by Hull Truck Theatre
There'll be lots to do during the museum's closure

Councillor Daren Hale, Portfolio Holder for Economic Investment, Regeneration, Planning, Land and Property, said: “This may seem like the end of an era, people in the city having grown up with the displays and we are appreciate what the museum, its atmosphere and collections mean to them but this is a temporary farewell and the beginning of something really special.

“The transformed museum will showcase Hull’s maritime heritage, the rich and compelling stories and the stunning architecture. It will do the collections justice and when the doors re-open in three years’ time, it will be something that will bring visitors to the city and it will be something we can all be really proud of.

“We would also like to remind residents and visitors our other fantastic museums and art gallery are waiting to be explored.”

The redevelopment of the museum is being funded by Hull City Council, the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the DCMS/Wolfson Museums and Galleries Improvement Fund as part of the wider Hull: Yorkshire’s Maritime City project. The elements include the Arctic Corsair, North End Shipyard, Dock Office Chambers Storage and Research hub and the Spurn Lightship.

For more information on the Hull: Yorkshire’s Maritime City project, visit maritimehull.co.uk or follow @Hullmaritime on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.