Hull Maritime Museum has launched an unusual procurement process during its refurbishment.
The museum’s owners, Hull City Council, need to find specialists who can pack, handle and transport eight fragile whale skeletons which are to be taken into storage during renovation work.
Conservators are being invited to apply for the contract to handle the specimens, which are part of the museum’s collection. They will undergo a full condition check before being removed from the site and cleaned before being reinstated in a new display which will animate each skeleton.
The skeletons include a 40ft North Atlantic right whale and a large tuna fish. They are relics of Hull’s seafaring past, when the city was an important whaling port. One of the museum’s galleries is devoted to the Arctic whaling trade, which centred on Greenland, and there is a large collection of artefacts related to the 19th-century industry.
Hull City Council’s portfolio holder for economic investment and regeneration, Councillor Daren Hale, says: “This is an excellent opportunity for specialist conservators to be involved in a major and exciting development scheme in Hull. To enable the refurbishment works to take place, we have to pack and move the 50,000 objects from the museum, and this is the first element of this complex task.
“The conservation of these priceless objects will secure their long-term future. Some of these significant skeletons will play a starring role in our new displays, helping to tell the story of Hull’s maritime past.”
The deadline is Monday July 27 and the procurement documents are available online. Work is expected to get underway in the autumn.
The museum, which has occupied the Grade II-listed former Hull Dock Company offices since 1974, closed in January for the three-year refurbishment project. When it re-opens in 2023, it will be the focal point of the Hull: Yorkshire’s Maritime City project. The building will undergo an extensive modernisation programme with a new exhibition floor added and one of the domes becoming accessible to the public for the first time. The display capacity will increase by around 50 per cent and a new cafe will open.