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BY Anna Marshall | Wednesday 16 February 2022

Major changes to the building and exhibitions will offer a much-improved experience and secure the museum’s future well into the 21st century

Work to transform Hull’s Maritime Museum has got under way.

Thanks to investment from Hull City Council and The National Lottery Heritage Fund, a multi-million-pound refurbishment of the Maritime Museum, by Yorkshire-based company Simpson, began at the beginning of January 2022.

The transformation will see major changes to the building and exhibitions, offering residents and visitors a much-improved experience and secure the museum’s future well into the 21st century. More of the Victorian architecture revealed for the first time, the second floor will open to the public as well as access to one of the building’s domes, offering views across the city skyline.

A new three-storey foyer will draw people into the heart of the building, providing a visually stunning and thematic introduction to the galleries beyond. This will be created by re-opening up the original light well that helped to illuminate the Victorian dock offices.

New galleries and control systems will allow the museum to host the very best national and international exhibitions. Physical accessibility to the building will undergo major improvements whilst remaining sensitive to the original architecture, including a new entrance ramp and stairs, lift and changing place.

Expected to re-open in early 2025, 50 per cent more objects will be on display, along with new exhibitions and stories, an extended gift shop and a brand-new café area will also be created. Councillor Daren Hale, Leader of Hull City Council, said: “The refurbishment of the Hull Maritime Museum is a significant milestone for the Hull Maritime project. It will be great to see the transformation as it progresses, creating a museum that will attract new and more diverse visitors.

“This major investment will ensure the stories of Hull’s maritime past will continue to be told, and importantly in new and engaging ways to showcase our significant collections to the world. “Whilst we will all miss visiting the museum and its collection, this work is vital to its future and the result will be well worth the wait.”

The specialist works will be undertaken by award-winning heritage contractor Simpson based in York, who have a proven track record in delivering prestigious restoration and refurbishments projects like the Hull Maritime Museum. These include the Grade I listed World Heritage Site Durham Cathedral, Grade I listed Ledston Hall, York Art Gallery, Bowes Museum, Cliffords Tower and Castle Howard.

David Renwick, Director, England, North at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “It is fantastic news that, thanks to the National Lottery players, the Hull Maritime Museum is now entered its renovation phase, a significant milestone for the Hull Maritime City project which we are proud to support.

“As work also progresses at the former Dock Office Chambers and on the two iconic historic ships, the Arctic Corsair and the Spurn Lightship, we are looking forward to witnessing the transformation that Hull Maritime is bringing to Hull. We know that heritage in the North can play a huge role in bringing people together and creating a sense of pride in people’s hometowns and cities, and in turn boosting the local economy, and this project is a fantastic example of that.”

Managing Director, Andrew Gatenby at Simpson, said: “We are proud to be the main contractor on the works to the historic Hull Maritime Museum. We are looking forward to working with Hull City Council in creating a wonderful attraction for all to enjoy.”

The £12m refurbishment of the Maritime Museum is part of the Hull Maritime project, funded by Hull City Council and The National Lottery Heritage Fund. Other significant improvements involve the restoration of the Spurn Lightship and the Arctic Corsair and regenerating the North End Shipyard.

For more information and updates visit or follow @Hullmaritime on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.