Hull Maritime and Toronto Inuit Association ‘dive deeper’ into city’s museum collections

Hull Maritime has joined forces with Toronto Inuit Association in Canada to learn more about the Inuit culture and the artefacts within Hull’s Maritime Museum collection.

The Pangnirtung community share their knowledge and memories of artefacts from the Maritime Museum’s collection

The Maritime Museum’s collections have official Designated status and are viewed as being of national significance. Part of these collections are a varied group of Inuit artefacts, largely collected and bartered for as souvenirs by Hull whalers in the 1800s.

Part of a broader ‘Diving Deeper’ project funded by the Designated Development Fund, Arts Council England, this project has enabled the museum team to understand more about these items and the culture they represent on a much deeper level, and to be able to share that knowledge directly with future visitors and school groups.

After three years of discussions and planning, funding enabled the Toronto Inuit Association to work directly with the community this July in Pangnirtung in Nunavut, Canada. This contemporary Inuit settlement has historic links to Western whaling and a region where Hull whalers worked.

Joined by Curator of Maritime and Social History, Robin Diaper, the team gathered thoughts, knowledge and memories relevant to Hull Maritime Museum’s collections and life there today which will form part of a film, exhibition content and educational material. Part of the aim of the project is to produce material that will benefit and be used by both Hull Maritime Museum and the Toronto Inuit Association.

As part of this project, the project team was supported by co-director Nyla Innuksuk, bringing her wealth of knowledge of film making and the Pangnirtung community. Nyla is a successful director and film maker with experience in feature films and documentaries focussing on Inuit and indigenous peoples’ stories.

Councillor Mike Ross, Leader of Hull City Council, said: “The funding from the Designated Development Fund will bring different voices and perspectives into our museum galleries, in a unique and innovative way.

“It will also enable the museum team to research and discover more about the artefacts and their culture and to let others tell the stories that have yet to be heard.”

Robin Diaper, Curator of Maritime & Social History said: “It was an extraordinary privilege to be given the opportunity to work with the people of Pangnirtung, Sarabeth Holden at the Toronto Inuit Association and Nyla Innuksuk.

“The warmth, hospitality and generosity of the people of Pangnirtung with their knowledge and expertise exceeded my expectations in every way and will add a much deeper level of understanding of our collections and the subject matter for future visitors.”

Sarabeth Holden, President, Toronto Inuit Association said “We are excited to be working with Hull Maritime Museum on this project, it is an amazing opportunity to bring to light the shared history of our communities. We are grateful for the partnerships that we have developed and look forward to the stories that will be shared as a result.”

The knowledge and memories relevant to Hull Maritime Museum’s collections and life there today will form part of a film and new exhibition content within the refurbished Hull Maritime Museum. The transformed museum is part of Hull Maritime, a locally led project funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, that will transform key maritime treasures. Other elements include Dock Office Chambers, restoration of Spurn Lightship and the creation of a new visitor attraction at the North End Shipyard which will become the new home of the restored Arctic Corsair.