The collections are divided into three main categories whaling; fishing and the merchant trade and concentrate on Hull's maritime activities from the late eighteenth century to the present. Whaling originaly began in the 16th century but really took off from c.1760. By the 1820s there were more than 60 whalers sailing out to the Arctic every season which brought back the produce, oil and baleen (whalebone), of some 600 Greenland whales. The oil was used for lamp fuel, softening coarse woollen cloths and various industrial processes including tanning. The displays are remarkably comprehensive, showing the skeletons of various species of whale as well as the whole range of harpoons and tools used in the trade. Journals, logbooks and contemporary paintings of the ships are to be found as well as the largest collection of scrimshaw (the picture above is of a carved whale tooth) this side of the Atlantic. These decorated pieces of whalebone, walrus tusks and sperm whale teeth are the folk art of the whaler produced in his spare time aboard ship or after his return home.
Hull's tradition of ocean-going commerce dates from the Middle Ages and has historically targeted the nations of Scandinavia and the Baltic Sea. The Court Room in the Hull Docks building, once for use by the Hull Dock Company's shareholders and now the venue for temporary exhibitions, also pays hommage to Hull's commercial past and present. The room houses a frieze containing the coats of arms of the cities with which Hull has historically had trade relations. The museum is housed in the Victorian Dock Offices in Queen Victoria Square. These nautical themed offices were designed by Christopher G Wray and originally opened in 1871. They are a fine example of Victorian architecture. Due to the Public Realm work in the city centre they recommend that you contact them on 01482 616 434 in advance of your visit to discuss wheelchair access. The contractors are endeavouring to ensure level access but there will unfortunately be periods of time when this is not possible. We apologise for any inconvenience. Assistance dogs are welcome. Please notify the booking office at the time of booking. There are disabled access toilets and baby changing facilities. The Artic Corsair is under the same auspices.
Location : Hull Culture & Leisure, Queen Victoria Square, Hull HU1 3DX
Transport: Hull (National Rail) 7 minutes. Bus Routes : 12, 12F, 50, 151, 153, 155 and PR stop close by.
Opening Times : Monday to Saturday - 10:00 to 17:00; Sundays - 13:30 to 16:30.
Tickets : Free.
Tel: 01482 300 300