Posted: 22nd June 2020
My name is Simon Braithwaite and I’m the Assistant Curator Registrar for Hull Museums. My job normally involves overseeing and coordinating the loans coming in to our museums for display and exhibition and doing the same for those objects going out on loan. We have a busy and ambitious exhibition programme and we have constant requests to borrow from our collections from museums and galleries around the world. However with museums and galleries across the country and Europe closed and travel and transport largely at a standstill my work has pretty much ground to a halt. Like much of the country everything is currently on hold. However, along with my colleague Caroline Rhodes, I have been looking at how museums around the word have been responding to the pandemic and more locally how Hull has been responding.
One of my very last tasks before the lockdown was to arrange the safe return of Herbert Draper’s ‘Ulysses and the Sirens’ from the British Museum’s ‘Troy: Myth and Reality’ exhibition.
Sadly plans to loan the painting to France this summer have had to be paused for now. Hopefully we can re-arrange the loan and allow us to share this highlight of the Ferens’ collection with new audiences. As you can see from this map produced by the Network of European Museums Organisations (NEMO) some museums are already starting to open their sites to the public, so fingers crossed.
Rest assured that planning for upcoming exhibitions across Hull Museums continues. We have had to re-schedule and rethink some of our plans but we hope to have an exciting and varied programme ready for when we get the go ahead to once again reopen Hull’s museums and galleries. In the meantime you can see the sort of arrangements we will be making to keep our visitors and our own staff safe with these guides from ICOM, the International Council of Museums
And in case you are wondering what this all may look like take a look at these images from Art Net.
Meanwhile out on the streets of Hull the Council have been busy with these new signs to encourage social distancing.
As this view of Trinity Square shows it seems to be working. In the background the poet and Hull MP Andrew Marvell keeps his own 2 meter distance stood on his plinth. It is interesting to reflect that plague was a constant presence in Britain during Marvell’s lifetime.
Finally I was delighted to come across this excellent piece of graffiti art in support of the NHS on a walk through town.
I know Hull has a flourishing graffiti art scene but this is the first I have seen inspired by the current pandemic. There must be more but like all of us I probably need to get out more…
To get involved and help us collect your experiences, please go to the following link and tell us your story: http://hullhistorycentre.org.uk/whats-on/activities/Living-Through-the-Lockdown.aspx
Written by Assistant Curator Registrar Simon Braithwaite