|Location||Museum Gardens, York, England|
|Type||Archaeological and Natural Sciences Museum|
|Director||Reyahn King, York Museums Trust|
The Yorkshire Museum is a museum in York, England. It was opened in 1830, and has five permanent collections, covering biology, geology, archaeology, numismatics and astronomy.
The museum was founded by the Yorkshire Philosophical Society to accommodate their geological and archaeological collections, and was originally housed in Ousegate, York, until the site became too small. In 1828, the society received by royal grant, 10 acres (0.040 km2) of land formerly belonging to St Mary's Abbey for the purposes of building a new museum. The main building of the museum is called the Yorkshire Museum; it was designed by William Wilkins in a Greek Revival style and is a Grade I listed building. It was officially opened in February 1830, which makes it one of the longest established museums in England. A condition of the royal grant was that the land surrounding the museum building should be a botanic gardens and one was created in the 1830s. The botanic gardens are now known as the Museum Gardens. On 26 September 1831, the inaugural meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science was held at the Yorkshire Museum.
The Museum was narrowly missed by a bomb during the Baedeker Blitz on 29 April 1942, though the explosion caused damage to the roof and the windows. The Curator, Reginald Wagstaffe, lived in Manor Cottage (a building adjacent to the museum) and was responsible for the subsequent clean up effort of the debris, during which 'seven large bath-tubs' of broken glass and geological specimens were thrown away.
In 1960, the museum and gardens were given in trust to York City Council, the successor of which, the City of York Council, set up the York Museums Trust in 2002, to manage the York Castle Museum, York Art Gallery, the Yorkshire Museum and the Museum Gardens.
The museum closed in November 2009 for a major refurbishment and reopened on Yorkshire Day on 1 August 2010. The £2 million scheme was largely carried out by the museum's own staff, who restructured and redecorated the interior of the building.
As of 2018, the museum has the following permanent exhibits: "Roman York – Meet the People of the Empire", "Medieval York: Capital of the North", "Yorkshire's Jurrasic World", "After the Ice: Yorkshire’s Prehistoric People", and "William Smith: The Map That Changed The World".
The four permanent collections at the museum all have English designated collection status, which means they are "pre-eminent collections of national and international importance". The collection began in the 1820s, with the collection of animal bones and fossils from Kirkdale Cave.
The biology collection contains 200,000 specimens, including both fauna and flora, with the majority of the collection made up of insects. There are two stuffed specimens of the extinct great auk, an almost complete skeleton of an extinct moa, and a large collection of specimens from the Yorkshire region including the remains of elephants, cave bears and hyena from Kirkdale Cave dated to the Quaternary period, around 125,000 years.
The geology collection contains over 112,500 specimens of rocks, minerals and fossils. Fossils make up the majority of the collection numbering over 100,000 samples, and include important specimens from the Carboniferous, Mesozoic and Tertiary periods.
The archaeology collection has close to a million objects that date from around 500,000 BC to the 20th century. Most of the objects from the Roman, Anglo Scandinavian and Medieval periods are from the York and Yorkshire area. Following the 2010 refit of the museum, the first gallery displayed parts of the Roman collection, focusing on objects from Eboracum (Roman York). A statue of the Roman God Mars is prominently displayed, and there is an interactive display describing the lives of some of the Romans whose remains have been found in York. The final record of the famous lost Roman legion, the ninth legion, is on display as part of the Roman gallery. The stone inscription, which has been dated to Trajan's twelfth year as emperor, between 10 December 107 and 9 December 108, commemorates the legion's rebuilding in stone of the south-eastern wall of Eboracum's legionary fortress. The BBC reports that "Experts have described it the finest example of Romano British inscription in existence".
The museum houses some collections of forged prehistoric tools by the Yorkshire forger, Flint Jack.
- The Wold Newton hoard, a hoard of 1,857 coins dating from the early 4th century AD.
- The Head of Constantine the Great, a fragment of a marble statue of the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great.
- The Statue of Mars, a 4th-century sculpture of the Roman God Mars.
- The Heslington Hoard, a hoard of 2,800 coins dating from the mid 4th century AD.
- The Coppergate Helmet, an 8th century helmet found in York.
- The Ormside Bowl, a silvert-gilt bowl from Cumbria.
- The Bedale Hoard, a hoard of Viking silver jewellery and an Anglo-Saxon sword.
- The Escrick ring, an Anglo-Saxon gold and sapphire finger ring.
- The Gilling sword, a late Anglo-Saxon sword found in a river.
- The Vale of York hoard, a 10th-century niello silver-gilt vessel containing coins and jewellery. It was valued at £1,082,000, and acquired jointly by the British Museum and the York Museums Trust. After being cleaned by the conservation department of the British Museum, it was displayed at the Yorkshire Museum from 17 September 2009, for a period of six weeks before moving to the British Museum. The hoard was re-displayed at the Yorkshire Museum in 2015.
- The Middleham Jewel, a gold, diamond-shaped pendant set with a sapphire and engraved with a picture of the Christian Trinity on the front, and one of the Nativity of Jesus on the back.
- The Cawood sword.
- The Medieval Shrine of Saint William of York.
The front of the Middleham Jewel showing the Crucifixion of Jesus
Carved Medieval Boss from St. Mary's Abbey
Marble bust of the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great
The Bedale Hoard of Viking silver and gold
The museum has 'Finds Days' in the main Yorkshire Museum building where members of the national British Portable Antiquities Scheme and museum staff will identify objects brought to them by members of the public. The information is also recorded to help build up a more complete archaeological picture of the past.
A monthly lecture series by the Yorkshire Philosophical Society is held in the Museum's lecture theatre.
The museum has hosted many exhibitions since its inception.
The 1976 exhibition "The Viking Kingdom of York" was seen by over 78,000 visitors.
The Coppergate helmet was first put onto display in a permanent gallery space in 1980 following a £30,000 grant from the British Museum as part of the "International Viking Exhibition".
A third successful Viking exhibition, "The Vikings in England" was opened by the Prince of Wales on 30 March 1982 and was seen by over 235,000 visitors before it closed in October of the same year. This exhibition was awarded the European Museum of the Year Special Exhibition Award as a result of the presentation of the exhibition in the Museum and for additional educational projects organised by the then Keeper Elizabeth Hartley.
The 2006 exhibition Constantine the Great: York's Roman Emperor was described as "the most important archaeological-historical loan exhibition to have been held in a provincial British museum". It attracted over 58,000 visitors.
In 2017 the Museum hosted the first stage of a touring exhibition titled 'Viking: Rediscover the Legend', opened by Alice Roberts. The exhibition is co-curated by the British Museum and will subsequently travel to the Atkinson Art Gallery and Library in Southport, Aberdeen Art Gallery, Norwich Castle Museum, and the University of Nottingham. The exhibition was awarded the 'Excellence in Media Arts' award at the 2017 York Culture Awards.
In April 2018, Yorkshire's Jurassic World exhibition, including marine and land fossils from Yorkshire and elsewhere, was opened by David Attenborough. The exhibition, like the Viking exhibition the previous year, was also awarded the 'Excellence in Media Arts' awards at the 2018 York Culture Awards.
Keepers and Curators
The museum has had many keepers, curators and honorary curators over its lifetime.
|Name||Title||Dates in Post||Image|
|William Hincks||Curator of Botany||1827–1838|
|Charles Wellbeloved||Honorary Curator of Antiquities|
|Charles Wakefield||Keeper||1858, 1870–1878|
|Henry Maurice Platnauer||Keeper||1883–1904|
|Walter Harvey Brook||Honorary Curator of Medieval Architecture||Early 20th Century|
|Walter Edward Collinge||Keeper||1921–1940|
|Barbara Pyrah||Keeper of Geology||1968–1988|
|Elizabeth Hartley||Keeper of Archaeology||1971–2007|
|Terence Suthers||Curator, Director||1983-before 1992|
|Janet Barnes||CEO of York Museums Trust||2002–2015|
|Reyahn King||CEO of York Museums Trust||2015–|
- "York Museums and Gallery Trusts: Report and Financial Statements, Year Ended 31st March 2018" (PDF). York Museums Trust. 2018. Retrieved 31 October 2018.
- Willis, Ronald (1988). The illustrated portrait of York (4th ed.). Robert Hale Limited. p. 176. ISBN 0-7090-3468-7.
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- "MLA Programmes designation". The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council. 2007. Archived from the original on 22 August 2007. Retrieved 4 September 2007.
- Pearce, Susan M. (1996). Exploring science in museums. Continuum International Publishing Group. pp. 35–39. ISBN 978-0-485-90006-4.
- "Biology". "Geology". and "Astronomy". York Museums Trust. 2006. Retrieved 8 September 2007.
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- "Yorkshire Museum marks 'lost' Roman legion". BBC. 29 March 2011. Retrieved 2 March 2012.
- "Yorkshire Stone Age pendant goes on display". BBC News Online. 26 February 2016. Retrieved 16 February 2018.
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- Timpson, Trevor (17 September 2009). "BBC News Channel". Getting the most out of treasure. Retrieved 20 September 2009.
- "Viking Hoard". Yorkshire Museum. 1 September 2009. Retrieved 20 September 2009.
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- "The Middleham Jewel". The Art Fund. Retrieved 13 October 2007.
- "Archaeology". York Museums Trust. 2006. Retrieved 24 June 2007.
- Cherry, John (1994). The Middleham Jewel and Ring. The Yorkshire Museum. pp. 4 and 24–26. ISBN 0-905807-12-X.
- Lewis, Haydn (18 December 2007). "Return of the Viking sword". Yorkpress.co.uk. Retrieved 7 February 2017.
- Harris, Richard (8 June 2010). "St William of York shrines on display for first time in 400 years". Yorkpress.co.uk. Retrieved 7 February 2017.
- "YMT: Portable Antiquities Scheme". York Museums Trust. Retrieved 16 February 2018.
- "YPS Lectures". Yorkshire Philosophical Society. Retrieved 31 October 2018.
- Grahame Soffe (October 2006). "Constantine the Great at York" (PDF). Association of Roman Archaeology Bulletin. 17: 38–40.
- Barnes, J. (2007). "Yorkshire Museum and Gardens 2006". Yorkshire Philosophical Society Annual Report for the Year 2007. Yorkshire Philosophical Society: 39.
- "Richard III's replica head on show in York". BBC News. 19 July 2013. Retrieved 16 February 2018.
- Laycock, M. "Shakespeare's First Folio goes on display at the Yorkshire Museum". York Press. Retrieved 16 February 2018.
- "Britain's oldest dinosaur fossil found on North Yorkshire coast". The Guardian. 1 June 2015. Retrieved 16 February 2018.
- "Yorkshire Stone Age pendant goes on display". BBC News. 26 February 2016. Retrieved 16 February 2018.
- Lewis, H. (19 May 2017). "TV professor opens York museum's Viking exhibition". Retrieved 16 February 2018.
- Lewis, S. (12 May 2017). "Face to face with the Vikings". York Press. Retrieved 24 May 2017.
- "A new understanding of the Vikings". Minster FM News. 18 May 2017. Retrieved 24 May 2017.
- "The 2017 Winners". York Culture Awards. Retrieved 16 February 2018.
- Laycock, M. (23 January 2018). "Sir David Attenborough to open York Jurassic exhibition". York Press. Retrieved 16 February 2018.
- Graham Lawton (21 April 2018). "Here be sea dragons". New Scientist. p. 46.
- "Here are all the winners from the York Culture Awards 2018". York Mix. 19 November 2018. Retrieved 20 November 2018.
- "Terence Suthers MBE". York Civic Trust. Retrieved 31 October 2018.
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