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Hull’s Wilberforce House Museum to reopen this weekend following revamp

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Hull’s historic Wilberforce House museum is preparing to welcome visitors once again following a period of closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The museum has taken advantage of the downtime to carry out essential maintenance work and revamp its galleries. This Saturday, May 20th, marks the eagerly awaited reopening of the museum, allowing the public to once again explore its treasures.

Throughout the closure, Hull Museums and the local council have overseen various building maintenance tasks, including the refurbishment of the heating system and extensive restoration work on the exquisite 18th-century plaster ceiling above the main staircase (see notes to editors).

In addition to these necessary repairs, the Grade I listed building has undergone extensive redecoration. The museum has also improved its education and conference facilities, added a new temporary exhibition gallery, conducted thorough roof and drainage repairs, and completed structural surveys and investigations.

A notable collaboration between Hull Museums and the Wilberforce House Museum Advisory Board has resulted in an exciting new gallery dedicated to examining the legacies of transatlantic slavery. With funding from Arts Council England, this gallery offers visitors a reflective and thought-provoking space that serves as a culmination of the museum’s exploration of slavery. The project has also uncovered the stunning historical architecture of the building, which was previously hidden by display structures.

Moreover, Hull Museums has joined forces with the Humber Modern Slavery Partnership and the Wilberforce Institute at the University of Hull to create a temporary exhibition titled “Uncovering Modern Slavery.” This exhibition, which sheds light on the present-day reality of slavery, will be unveiled alongside the reopening of the museum.

Councillor Mike Ross, Leader of Hull City Council, expressed his delight at the reopening, emphasizing the importance of ensuring that repairs and investigations were conducted to the highest standards. He noted the museum’s new galleries, refreshed displays, and the preservation of the building’s structural heritage, assuring visitors that their patience during the closure will be rewarded.

Robin Diaper, Curator of Maritime & Social History at Hull Culture and Leisure, praised the collaboration with the Wilberforce House Museum Advisory Board and the University of Hull in developing the museum’s new galleries. Diaper expressed hope that visitors would perceive these spaces as fitting environments for contemplation, encouraging reflection on the past and contemporary issues.

The Wilberforce House museum will reopen its doors at 10 am this Saturday, May 20th, offering free admission to all. Visitors can explore the museum from Monday to Saturday, between 10 am and 4:30 pm, and on Sundays from 11am to 4pm.

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