Hull Maritime Museum

Conservation experts appointed to remove marine skeletons during Hull Maritime Museum redevelopment

Image: Phil Rye (L) and Nigel Larkin installing the Cambridge fin whale

A specialist conservation firm has been called in by Hull Maritime Museum to manage the removal of eight fragile, rare marine skeletons and specimens for the duration of its £11 million regeneration scheme.

Nigel Larkin Ltd has been appointed to dismantle, pack, conserve and transport the items in readiness for long-term storage as work gets under way on site. With over 30 years’ experience working with museums around the world in the excavation, conservation, curation and display of fossils and skeletal material, the company was seen as the perfect fit.

Recent projects undertaken by the firm have included work on skeletal structures at Cambridge University Museum of Zoology, Tullie House Museum, the National Maritime Museum Cornwall and Leeds Museum.

The Hull Maritime Museum specimens requiring relocation include the skeleton of a 40ft North Atlantic right whale. Once the refurbishment is complete, the conservation experts will work alongside curators to re-install some of the skeletons in more realistic poses and equip the exhibits with more engaging interpretation.


“The museum has an important and fascinating collection that tells the story of Hull’s unique maritime heritage. These whales play a crucial role in the telling of that story, and the wider history of Great Britain,” notes Nigel Larkin, who will be leading the removal.

Councillor Daren Hale, Hull City Council’s portfolio holder for economic investment, regeneration, planning, land and property, says the conservation of these eight items is a “really important element of the project”.

This, he adds, is vital “not only to secure the future of the skeletons but to enable the curatorial team to display the objects in new and imaginative ways to really stand out and be enjoyed by the public when the museum re-opens”.

Work is expected to begin this autumn, with the venue now closed to the public to facilitate the removal of all exhibits. Once the site is clear, a 19-month timeframe has been proposed to complete the redevelopment work.