Yorkshire Museum - History and Facts | History Hit

Yorkshire Museum

York, England, United Kingdom

The Yorkshire Museum is a true celebration of 2,000 years of history of one of the UK’s most beautiful, traditional and influential cities.

Amy Irvine

08 Mar 2021
Image Credit: Shuttershock

About Yorkshire Museum

One of the UKs first purpose-built museums, The Yorkshire Museum is a celebration of two millennia of history of one of the UK’s most beautiful, traditional and influential cities, with a focus on archaeology and science.

History of The Yorkshire Museum

The Yorkshire Museum was founded by the Yorkshire Philosophical Society, and its first keeper was the famous geologist John Phillips. It was originally housed in Ousegate, York, until the site became too small. The current site was constructed over the remains of some of the St Mary’s Abbey buildings, on land given by royal grant in 1828 (the remains of which can still be seen in the basement of the museum).

The museum was subsequently officially opened in February 1830, making it one of the longest established museums in England. It was designed by William Wilkins in a Greek Revival style and is a Grade I listed building.

Since then, most of the significant archeological objects found within the city become part of the museum’s collection. On 26 September 1831 the first ever meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science was held at the Museum.

The Museum was narrowly missed by a bomb during the Baedeker Blitz on 29 April 1942.

The Yorkshire Museum today

After briefly closing in 2009 for a £2m refurbishment project, the musuem reopened in 2010. It is home to around 1 million exciting archaeological finds from the city’s Roman, Viking and medieval past, including the skeletal remains of the Roman ‘Ivory Bangle Lady’; the Roman statue of Mars; the Bedale Hoard; the thousand year old Cawood Sword; the Anglian Gilling Sword; the 4.5 billion year old Middlesbrough Meteorite, the Middleham Jewel and the York Helmet. There are also amazing collections of stained glass, coins, Iron Age jewellery and the world-famous York Observatory.

The museum is also home to a nationally significant natural science collection, including dinosaur skeletons and extinct Auks – some of which is on show in Yorkshire’s Jurassic World.

There are some great activities for kids as well as competitions and downloadable resources and you can all walk on a genuine Roman mosaic floor and discover what Yorkshire was like when it was still underwater!

This is one of the best regional museums in the UK and if you are in the city discovering it’s wonders, including the magnificent York Minster, make sure the Yorkshire Museum is on your ‘to do’ list.

Getting to The Yorkshire Museum

The museum is a 10-15 minute walk from York Railway Station, and there are entrances into the gardens from both Museum Street and Marygate. The nearest car park is on Marygate, which is off Bootham, the A19, which is the main road into York from the north. The nearest bus stop is on Museum Street where the number 2 bus stops.