s History of Hull Museums (part 1) - Hull Museums Collections

History of Hull Museums (part 1)

municipal museum

In 1900 responsibility for the collections acquired and developed by the Literary and Philosophical Society was handed to Hull Corporation. Thomas Sheppard was appointed Curator in January 1901, and the first thing he did was to close the museum for 18 months. When the Municipal Museum in Albion Street (always referred to as the Albion Street Museum) was re-opened in June 1902 visitors found that it had been refurbished, the collections had been re-displayed and the admission charges had been abolished.Centenary Celebrations in 1933

The Art Gallery effectively became a separate entity with the appointment of a Curator in 1904. In 1905 T.R. Ferens gave some money for the purchase of art works and in 1917 donated funds for a new building on the site of the former St John's Church. Ferens also provided a substantial endowment for the purchase of works of art and the existing collections have mainly been funded from this provision.

Sheppard the collector

Sheppard quickly developed a reputation as a ruthless collector, developing an ability to acquire objects of interest for Hull far quicker than other collectors could. He put much more time and effort in collecting objects than he did towards their cataloguing, display and interpretation. Sheppard collected enough to open and fill 8 museums in Hull over his 40 year career.

Wilberforce House Museum (opened in 1906)

Wilberforce House was at one time in danger of being removed to America, but was purchased by the Corporation and transformed into an historical museum and memorial to William Wilberforce. Opened in 1906 it is in many ways one of Sheppard's greatest achievements. He collected material relating to Wilberforce and slavery, and developed a series of period rooms in the house with the help of local benefactors.

Natural History Museum (1910)

The Natural History Museum opened to the public in 1910 in the space where the art gallery had been above the Municipal Museum on Albion Street. The building was destroyed in the bombing in 1941.

Museum of Fisheries and Shipping (1912)

The Museum of Fisheries and Shipping was opened in 1912. Sheppard had obtained a building in Pickering Park from a local trawler owner who was interested in the whaling equipment displayed in the Municipal Museum. The museum displayed both whaling and fishing material, a reflection of the history of Hull as a major shipping and fishing port. The museum moved to the Town Docks Museum building in 1974 where it remains today as the Maritime museum.