What to see at Wilberforce House Museum

Our museum is home to a fascinating collection of important social history. From the far reaches of West Africa, to Hull's own William Wilberforce.

We have eight galleries to explore, set in the historic surroundings of Wilberforce House. Discover stories of the transatlantic slave trade. Uncover the legacies of slavery. And encounter goods made in Hull and East Riding.

Take a look at what's on offer in our galleries below to help you plan your visit

The History of the Building Gallery

This gallery explores the three-hundred-year history of Wilberforce House. First built in the 1660s for Hugh Lister, the building has many fascinating stories to tell.

The William Wilberforce Gallery

William Wilberforce is Hull's most famous son and early abolitionist campaigner. This gallery follows his life and political career through artefacts, costumes and documents.

The West African Gallery

The transatlantic slave trade uprooted many people from their homes in West Africa. This gallery explores the rich cultural traditions of various African societies. Exhibits include items connected to religion, ceremonies, music and adornment.

The Capture and the Middle Passage Gallery

This gallery exposes the horrific reality faced by people kidnapped into slavery. And the appalling, often lethal conditions, of their transportation across the Atlantic.

The Plantation Life Gallery

Explore what life was like for enslaved Africans working on plantations in the Caribbean and the Americas. Exhibits look at working conditions, health, punishment and death rates. As well as the many ways in which plantation workers rebelled and resisted slavery.

The Abolition Gallery

Take a look at the campaigns to abolish the slave trade. Find out about the many campaigners, black and white, who fought to end slavery. And discover what happened after emancipation was achieved. The gallery includes the famous Brookes slave ship model used by Wilberforce in the Houses of Parliament.

Legacies of Transatlantic Slavery Gallery

Uncover the legacies of transatlantic slavery and take a moment to discover inspiring people you may never have heard of.

Temporary Exhibition Gallery

The displays in this gallery change throughout the year depending on our programme of events and exhibitions. Check out What's on for the latest information or explore our Community Projects to see how you can get involved.

Further galleries

In the former Georgian Houses attached to the museum are further galleries. These include displays of Hull and East Riding’s finest craftsmanship in silverware, clocks and furniture. They also include the history of the East Yorkshire Regiment and local history, and a gallery on Edwardian Hull. Activities for children include a dressing-up area with replica historical costumes.


If you’d like to journey further into the fascinating stories at our museum, take a look at our collections.