Hull’s ‘Cabinet of Curiosity’ wins £100,000 National Lottery support

Mystery object from Hull's Curious Collection

Now, thanks to National Lottery players, people from Hull will have the chance to discover the amazing untruths about the most intriguing artefacts hidden in their city.

HLF has awarded £100,000 to Hull City Council, in partnership with Burton Constable Hall and Hull History Centre, for a project exploring the most unusual and intriguing objects from Hull’s museum and archive collections, which will form part of the wider celebrations of Hull’s heritage and culture taking place as part of the City of Culture year in 2017.

The project takes inspiration from William Constable’s 18th century ‘Cabinet of Curiosity’ collection, once purported to relate to mythical beasts, magic and alchemy. Local volunteers will help to develop exhibitions of objects from the internationally significant collections held by Hull Maritime Museum, the Burton Constable Foundation and Hull City Council, which include unicorn horns' (narwhal tusks), ‘scrimshaw’ (bone & ivory carvings), a stuffed brown bear; and caricatures and doodles by Hull poets Philip Larkin and Stevie Smith.

Activity includes two focal point exhibitions:  Cabinet of Curiosities and Drawings & Doodles.  Cabinet of Curiosities will be at the Maritime Museum inspiring family trails (including one at Burton Constable Hall), educational sessions and family activities across sites.  Drawings & Doodles will be later in the year at the Hull History Centre, during the same time as the Turner Prize will be hosted within the City.  This will be a surprisingly rich and varied display of doodles, drawings and sketches within the archives.

The Cabinet of Curiosities exhibition will draw on the comedy writing talents of youngsters from 10 schools in Hull, who will mix factual and imagined interpretation to create an ‘openly populist’ and ‘light-hearted’ feel.

This the first grant as part of HLF’s ‘Revealing Hull’s Heritage’ initiative, which sets aside National Lottery money to fund small heritage projects in Hull during the City of Culture programme, ensuring heritage is at the heart of the city’s cultural celebrations. With the country’s eyes on Hull, HLF wants to encourage community groups in Hull to develop projects to explore, share and celebrate the fascinating stories and history that have shaped the city’s historic landscape, alongside the wider City of Culture programme in 2017.

Councillor Terry Geraghty, Hull City Council Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Culture and Leisure and Chair of Hull Culture and Leisure Limited, said: “I would like to thank the Heritage Lottery Fund for their continued support. This generous funding will enable visitors to find out more about the city’s heritage exploring the most fascinating objects from our museum and archive collections, like never before.”

Sue Bowers, HLF Deputy Director of Operations said: “Maritime history and the abolitionist movement are well documented aspects of the city’s heritage but Hull has many other fascinating stories to tell. This project is a great way for communities to delve and explore the unusual, intriguing and eccentric aspects of their past, and we are delighted that National Lottery players have been able to support it.”

Further information

  • For further information about the Revealing Hull’s Heritage campaign, please visit the HLF website, email Helen Peacock, or follow @HLFYandH on Twitter and look out for the hashtag #RevealingHull.
  • HLF: Felix Gott, Communications Manager on tel: 020 7591 6138
  • Hull City Council: Robin Diaper, Curator of Maritime and Social History, on tel: 01482 612 459
Back to top of page