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17th November 2021

Tens of thousands of objects from the Hull Maritime Museum have been cleared and moved to a secure storage facility, ahead of a large-scale refurbishment due to get underway in the coming months. Preparatory work will start next month.

Hull City Council and The National Lottery Fund are investing £12m to create a future-proof museum, transforming tired features, revealing original Victorian architecture, and providing new spaces to boost participation, increase learning and improve the health and wellbeing of residents and visitors alike.

Work started in May and since then 50,000 museum objects, ranging from small medals to fragile ship models to large examples of trawling equipment were all packed, moved and transported into storage, where they will remain until the museum has been transformed. The reserve collection will return to a new home at Dock Office Chambers in 2022.

The team of seven from the removal contractors and project team was involved in this hugely complex operation. The decant was equivalent to 40 three-bed house moves and approximately 2,000 packages including various pallets, crates and boxes. The weight of the collections moved out the Maritime Museum is equivalent to five adult right whales (70T each) or 90 elephants. The entire collection could fill an Olympic size swimming pool and maybe the dressing rooms too.

Non-collection items have also been packed and removed and now the building is ready to embark on programme of works to significantly upgrade the museum, which will vastly improve the experience for new and wider audiences for generations to come.

A model ship placed in crate ready for transportation
Sirius ready to be packed away

Councillor Daren Hale, Leader of Hull City Council, said: “Clearing the museum to prepare for the programme of major works was a very complex and critical piece of work.

“The building is now ready for its next chapter and I’m looking forward to seeing work get underway to create an exciting museum to tell the many maritime stories in new and engaging ways.

"The result will be a new, inviting space for children and adults to explore, learn and experience, with new interactive elements, new stories and old favourites, many having received specialist conservation.”

Mark Hunt, Technical Manager of the removal contractors, said: “We were delighted to be able to facilitate the removal of this unique collection that documents an important part of the history of the city and people of Hull.”

Work to transform the museum is expected to be complete in spring 2023, and then the phase to install the new exhibitions and displays will get underway. The museum is due to re-open in 2025.

The refurbishment of the Hull Maritime Museum is a key element of the £30.3m Hull Maritime project. Other aspects include a new bespoke storage centre, the creation of a new maritime experience at the former North End Shipyard and the restoration of two historic ships, the Arctic Corsair and the Spurn Lightship.