2017 is proving to be the busiest year for Hull museums and art gallery since records began in 1960 – and there are still four months to go.
Visitor numbers collated from Ferens Art Gallery, Hull Maritime Museum, Streetlife Museum of Transport, Hands On Museum, Hull and East Riding Museum, Wilberforce Museum, Hull History Centre, Arctic Corsair, Spurn Lightship and Hull History Centre are impressive.
These attractions have given the city a stellar cultural and visual arts programme to be reckoned with, and (rightly so) the crowds have gathered in unprecedented numbers.
To put one million into context – you could fill the KCOM Stadium 40 times over, or form an orderly queue of people outside Ferens Art Gallery that spans all the way to Bordeaux in France, or Stettin in Poland. Impressive, huh?
The opening of Francis Bacon: Nervous System and Open Exhibition in January contributed toward the busiest day on record in 2017, with 12,805 visits to all the museums and the art gallery. The day Ferens Art Gallery reopened following its refurbishment saw 6,215 visits – the busiest day at a single site.
The iconic SKIN exhibition, featuring Spencer Tunick’s renowned Sea Of Hull alongside staggering works from Ron Mueck and Lucian Freud attracted 175,793 visitors.
Councillor Terry Geraghty, Hull City Council Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Tourism and Chair of Hull Culture & Leisure Limited, said: “There’s always something new to experience. Of course, admission is free, providing a great-value experience for visitors from near and far, making a significant economic impact in the city that supports jobs and businesses.
“Reaching one million visitors in just eight months acknowledges the quality programme of exhibitions and events developed and delivered by our superb staff during 2017, and has been made possible by working with our partners including the National Gallery, Tate and The Royal Collection to name a few.
“We are committed to offering residents and visitors alike the opportunity to experience our fantastic art gallery, Hull History Centre and the museums, with thousands of artefacts, collections and world-renowned art.”
There’s lots to look forward to across the coming months, too. Family favourite Big Bus Day at Hull’s Streetlife Museum of Transport takes place Saturday 9 September, while the Maritime Museum is bringing four J.M.W Turner paintings to Hull. The paintings (three rare whaling scenes, one maritime) are on loan from the Tate’s national collection and will sit alongside Hull’s own striking whaling art.
Plus, Turner Prize 2017 rolls into town next month. From Tuesday 26 September to Sunday 7 January 2018, you can see some of the finest contemporary art from four artists at the top of their game at Ferens Art Gallery.