45,000 objects from Hull Maritime Museum collection return to city

More than 45,000 historic objects from Hull's maritime past have returned to the city.

The items were previously stored in the Maritime Museum, in Queen Victoria Square. A new storage facility transformed from office space is now dedicated to the Maritime Museum's reserve collection comprising of more than 45,000 different objects. In May 2021, it took the Maritime Museum team ten weeks to remove all 50,000 of its objects and exhibitions in a massive project. The items were all logged before being transported to a secret location.

The museum closed in 2019 as part of a huge £11 million pound refurbishment as part of the Hull: Yorkshire's Maritime City Project. It is expected to reopen in spring 2025.

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Some of the treasures from the museum range from the classic ships in bottles to actual ship parts. They are being documented and stored to ensure better collection care, research and conservation.

By having items stored in a dedicated facility, it will allow the building - which opened back in 1871 - to reopen a new floor for visitors. The extra floor space will allow more of the building to showcase 50 per cent more maritime treasures, many on display for the first time.

In the years since the closure, Hull Maritime has been teasing the return of some of the museum's much-loved exhibitions along with some new ones. In November 2023, the organisation announced that the iconic Erik the Bear would be returning once the lengthy restoration progress has been completed.

Documentation assistant Jason Lok and museum technician Andy Barwick move a ship model to its new home
Documentation assistant Jason Lok and museum technician Andy Barwick move a ship model to its new home -Credit:Hull City Council/Neil Holmes

The museum on X, formerly Twitter, said: "Yes! [Erik will be returning]. We love Erik as much as everyone else and he will be returning to our new displays better than ever before. People will be able to walk all the way around the bear’s case instead of him being in a corner like before."

Along with Erik, it is also confirmed that the famous 110-year-old whale skeleton will be returning. Before being boxed up for storage, the skeleton had been left untouched for the last 45 years before the painstaking disassembly.