The Yorkshire Museum can be found—where else?—the Museum Gardens! Situated right in the centre of York, the museum was first opened in 1830, one of the first purpose-built museums in the United Kingdom. After nine months of refurbishment, it was reopened in August of 2010 and now showcases some of Britain’s finest archaeological finds: treasures, birds, animals and fossils.
The museum’s five galleries take you on a tour of Yorkshire’s history, right from its origins in the age of the dinosaurs to its founding by the Roman Empire as Eboracum in 71 AD and its occupation by successive empires. A statue of Mars, found at St Mary’s Convent, greets you as you enter the entrance hall. On the floor behind him is a map of the Roman Empire, which stretched across most of Europe’s landmass. The galleries will lead you through the evolution of Earth and mankind, and lead you specifically through the history of York and its development since its founding. Another gallery presents fossils of ancient animals, including a great fossilised ichthyosaur and the skeletons of a moa and dodo. An upstairs floor also leads you through the evolution of mankind and the development of his tools, from stone to bronze to iron. The downstairs galleries represent human development since the Roman Empire and display many artefacts excavated from Yorkshire, including a Roman tomb and many Viking weapons. The skeleton of a man found in a mass grave, whose injuries indicate he was a victim of war.
Not only does the museum present some of the finest pieces of archaeology in Britain, within the collection is also the Middlesbrough Meteorite, which fell in 1881 and is currently on display. The Yorkshire Museum is a popular tourist spot right in the middle of York’s city centre and is a must when visiting this historic city. With a Yorkshire Museum’s Trust card, you can enter any of the YMT venues in York completely free for an entire year!
By Fearn Britton