Built in 1830 on the remains of York’s Abbey, St Mary’s, the museum is dedicated to its founders original interests: archaeology and science.
The archaeology relates largely to York and North Yorkshire, however today it also showcases some of Britain’s finest archaeological treasures from the city’s Roman, Viking and Medieval past, alongside a nationally significant natural science collection. Some highlights from the collections include: the York Helmet, the best example of 3D Roman sculpture found in Britain, and the Middleham Jewel. In the Museum Gardens, there is the York Observatory which forms a large part of the museum’s Astronomy Collection. It includes the 4 inch refractor telescope, built by Thomas Cooke in 1850.