Hull's popular Maritime Museum will close in January for three years, it has been announced.

The historic city centre venue is set to undergo an £11m refurbishment as part of the Hull: Yorkshire's Maritime City project.

Its doors will close to the public on January 19 to allow work to start on the Grade II listed building which was originally the Victorian head office of the Town Dock Company.

There will be a 19-month refurbishment, followed by a period when displays for the new look collections are installed.

The initial phase of the work will see changes to the main entrance off Queen Victoria Square where a new access ramp and re-designed stairs will be installed to improve access for visitors.

Currently, disabled visitors and people with pushchairs can only enter the museum via the emergency exit at the rear of the building.

Councillor Daren Hale, portfolio holder for economic investment, regeneration, planning, land and property, said: "This is the start of a new and exciting journey for the museum and the city’s strong maritime story.

An artist's impression of the one of the new-look exhibits at Hull's Maritime Museum

"The festive period is a great opportunity to explore the much-loved collections and objects within Hull Maritime Museum for one last time ahead of the major improvements.

"Although we have to close the museum for an extended period, the team are developing an exciting programme of activities during the closure. When the museum reopens in 2023 the city will have world-class displays that will match our internationally renowned collection.

"The new facilities will allow everyone to access the lives and stories of the people and places that made maritime Hull what it is today."

Before work can start inside the museum, more than 50,000 unique and culturally priceless objects will be checked, documented, conserved and safely packed before going to secure storage.

It is expected to take just over a year to move the collections before the full refurbishment of the museum starts in early 2021.

During the closure a range of maritime-themed activities will take place with several joint projects with a  number of community groups are being developed.

Museum curator Robin Diaper with one of the model ships in the city's maritime collection

Four touring exhibitions will also be launched in the city centre before travelling to venues around Hull and the wider region.

Once the 50,000 objects in the collection have been removed, visitors will have the rare opportunity to visit the empty building before the construction works start.

Over Christmas, the museum will be closed from Christmas Eve to December 28 and on New Year's Day.

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