Witness conservation in action at Maritime Museum

Visitors to the Hull Maritime Museum can see how the conservation team take care of its collections for the very first time.

‘Conservation in Action’ sessions will take place fortnightly from Wednesday 29 August, between 1.30pm–3.30pm. They offer visitors the exclusive opportunity to get a close-up look at the work they are undertaking, as well as the chance to ask the Conservation and Engagement Officer any questions they may have.

Visitors will be able to discover some of the techniques used in the conservation repair work of some of the museum's collection extremely fragile and fascinating artefacts that are in our care.

This project will also give volunteers the chance to work with a professional conservator and develop their knowledge and skills in conservation techniques.

The team will be working to repair an Inuit (Eskimo) sealskin kayak, from our Inuit collection. It is believed to have come to Hull, with an Inuit parka, as a gift from Arctic explorer Sir John Ross to Hull Literary and Philosophical Society.  Its condition means it needs some attention to rebuild its frame.

Other key objects selected to receive attention include a medieval dugout canoe thought to be from the Tudor period and discovered during the excavations for the new Guildhall building (circa 1907). Research suggests the boat has been treated in the past with paraffin wax and then creosote, 1912 and 1950; and a pair of Sperm Whale Jawbone engraved as scrimshaw depicting two sailing ships and a volcano looking mountain on the horizon with some parts having serious cracks which flex and therefore require stabilisation.

These sessions are part of the £27.4m Hull: Yorkshire’s Maritime City project, funded by the Heritage Lottery Find and Hull City Council to celebrate and secure Hull’s extensive maritime assets and collections. 

Councillor Daren Hale, Portfolio Holder for Economic Investment, Regeneration, Planning, Land and Property, said: “This is the first time visitors can discover the hard work and expertise that goes into conserving the key items and artefacts by our dedicated team of staff and volunteers.

“We are really pleased to offer this exciting project. It is just one of a wide range of initiatives that are part of the exciting Hull: Yorkshire’s Maritime City project. This work is to ensure our collections are carefully looked after and are ready for their future redisplay once the major redevelopment of the museum has taken place in the coming years.”

Over 100 items will receive attention over the coming months and will receive specialist attention.

Philippa Beesley, Conservation and Engagement Officer, said: “I have been looking forward to these sessions for some time now and they will enable visitors to engage with conservation and see firsthand the intricate work that is required to preserve some of the most important works in our collection. Visitors can also chat to the team about the work we are undertaking in order to protect our objects for future generation to experience and enjoy.”

Admission to Hull Maritime Museum is free. It is open from Monday to Saturday from 10am to 4.30pm and Sunday from 11am to 4.30pm.

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