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. Now they display Hull's maritime activities from the late 18th century to present. Whaling, fishing and trawling exhibits as well as local history around the evolution of trawling and Hull's docklands.
Discover the whaler’s craft of Scrimshaw and see a full-sized whale skeleton, alongside superb ship models and stunning artefacts from Hull's whaling, fishing and merchant trade.
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 originally 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 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.
Admission is free.
- Monday to Saturday: 10am - 5pm
- Thursday 10am - 7:30pm
- Sunday: 11am - 4.30pm
Last admission is 30 minutes before closing.
Open bank holidays (excluding Good Friday) and closed 24th to 28th December inclusive, and 1st January.