The Yorkshire Museum

The Yorkshire Museum in York was one of the earliest purpose-built museums in the country. It opened in 1830 as the new home for the collections of the Yorkshire Philosophical Society. The first keeper was the famous geologist John Phillips. The museum is built in the grounds of York’s Abbey, St Mary’s, on land given by royal grant in 1828. It was constructed over the remains of some of the Abbey buildings. These can still be seen in the basement of the museum.

The building was designed by William Wilkins in Greek Revival style. It’s neo-classical columns and other features echo a Greek temple – making the museum a ‘shrine to science’. Wilkins also designed significant parts of the University College London and the National Gallery. The Tempest Anderson lecture Hall on the west side of the building, was added by Edwin Ridsdale Tate in 1912. It was paid for by Anderson as a gift and is a very early example of a reinforced concrete building. The concrete has been cleverly designed to look similar to the York stone of the main building.

The Collections

The Yorkshire Museum continues the tradition of its founders by displaying excellent collections of Yorkshire’s archaeology as well as geology (rock specimens), palaeontology (fossils – including dinosaurs) and natural history (extinct plants and animals.

The statues and other decorated stonework from St Mary’s Abbey is on display.


Visiting The Yorkshire Museum:

Visit the museum website here to find out more.