York Museums Trust

Museums From Home

Our museums may be closed, but we are striving to bring our amazing collections to you at home. On this page you will find a selection of online tools and tips on how to explore our vast collection. We hope there’s something for everyone!

Social Media:

Check out our social media channels for regular content, games and challenges to keep you entertained! Our aim is to digitally share our collections with you through new and exciting ways to make sure you can always learn and explore the incredible things we look after. Some highlights include:

Signs Of Hope
A Sign of Hope has been placed in York Museum Gardens as part of a campaign to bring small moments of positivity to visitors this winter lockdown.  

The sign will display humorous, beautiful or positive comments, thoughts and quotes to help brighten the days of visitors, with the hope that people will send their own suggestions to the Trust through social media. Also, people on their daily walk are invited to help create a display of brightly coloured pebbles in the Storytelling Area of the Gardens by painting them at home and dropping them off.  

The York Museums Trust team will also be busy using social media to give tips on where to spot the beautiful plants, flowers, birds and animals as the Gardens emerge from the winter months.

Museum ClickBait

Every week we’ll be drawing you in with clickbait titles to highlight objects in our collection! So far we have:
Victorian women use these 3 simple tricks to look beautiful, are you ahead of the times?

Lie to Me! 

Every Monday
Every Monday visitors to the York Art Gallery, Yorkshire Museum or York Castle Museum Twitter and Facebook feeds will be invited to make up a story about a chosen object – the more obscure the better! The curators will reveal the answer once all guesses are in.

Curator Battle

Watch out for our special #CuratorBattle events! Let the battle of the curators commence, as museums across the country debate if they have the best object from a chosen theme – be it the ugliest, dullest, prettiest or biggest! Join the debate by following the Yorkshire Museum’s Twitter, and argue or agree as the curators pit their collections and wits against each other.

Our #CreepiestObject week went viral!

See coverage by CNN here.
See coverage by the BBC here.
See coverage of the battle by The Guardian here.
See coverage by the The Independent here.
See overage by York Press here.

Like us on Facebook – York Art Gallery / Yorkshire Museum / York Castle Museum
Like us on Twitter – York Art Gallery / Yorkshire Museum / York Castle Museum
Like us on Instagram – York Art Gallery / Yorkshire Museum / York Castle Museum

Explore our online collection:

From archaeology to geology, costume and textiles to social history and photography.
Explore our own collections on our website.

You can also use Art UK to explore our Fine Art Collection.
York Museums Trust collection on Art UK

Use History Pin to explore modern York and see how our artworks would have fit within the landscape.
York Museums Trust on History Pin

YouTube Videos:

See Harland Miller’s new film to coincide with his largest solo exhibition to date, in his hometown of York. Harland Miller on North Yorkshire

This playlist on YouTube shows Assistant Curator Adam Parker digging deeper into the objects in our ‘Roman York: Meet the People of the Empire’ exhibition.
Assistant Curator Adam Parker gives insight into our Roman collections.

Check out the rest of our videos, including interviews with artists, curators and insights into our buildings and collections.
Our full YouTube Channel 

Online Exhibitions:

Through Google Arts and Culture, we’ve created some bite-size interactive guides of our current and previous exhibitions.

Explore Kirkgate at York Castle Museum

W. A. Ismay – Collection and Connoisseur of Studio Ceramics 

Yorkshire Hoards

1914: When the World Changed Forever

A History of Shaping the Body

Activities for Families

Box of Hope
The first Christmas of the First World War, 1914, all York soldiers were sent tin of chocolate from the Lord Mayor of York, John Bowes Morrell and his Sherriff, Oscar F. Rowntree. The tin had a message inscribed on it which aimed to lift the spirits and morale of serving soldiers.  

Why not download our template and decorate it with your own message of hope? Who would you give it to and what would you say? Download an information sheet here / Download the template here

An introduction to paper dolls
This inexpensive paper toy has provided entertainment for children for around 200 years. Have a go at printing off our templates and dressing Barbara and Kenneth in their 1950s clothing that you have coloured in. If you are feeling creative, have a go designing your own wardrobe for them?
Download the template here

An introduction to Thaumatropes
The Thaumatrope is an optical toy which became popular in Victorian times in the mid 1800s. The idea is to have two images, either side of a piece of card that when spun very quickly, gives the impression or illusion of a new image. Print off and cut out these four templates to make your own.
Version 1 / Version 2 

An Introduction to Silhouettes 
A precursor to portrait photography and a significantly more affordable option. The Castle Museum holds many examples of silhouette miniatures in its collection. Take a look at some of our examples and then follow our instruction sheet to have a go yourself. Take care when using scissors.
Instruction sheet here / Examples from York Castle Museum here

Life Cycle Introduction
Curious about Caterpillars? Learn some amazing fun facts here, before having a go at our Life Cycle activity.  Download the Caterpillar information sheet here / Download the activity sheet here

Make a Viking Longboat
The Vikings were raiding the Northumbrian coastline of Britain in the late 700s. Their Longboats were designed with shallow undersides which allowed them to glide silently up the River Ouse into the centre of York to take control, in the year 866AD.  Download the information sheet here.

Have a go making your own longboat using our template! Sheet 1 / Sheet 2 

Viking Gods
Before Vikings in Britain converted to Christianity, they worshipped the Norse Gods. These Gods were often associated with certain qualities and carried a symbolic item that provided extra powers. They believed that when warriors died in battle they would be taken, by Valkeries, to a place called Valhalla.

Decorate Thors pendant or complete our sheet, “If you were a Viking God”. What would you be the god of and what object would you carry? 
If you were a Viking God activity sheet
Decorate Thor’s hammer activity sheet
More about Thor
More about Loki
More about Freya
More about Odin
More about Tyr

Rocks Rock!
Learn more about the rocks beneath our feet. What makes them different and how were they formed? Then have a go at our Volcano activity … it’s messy!
Download the activity sheet here

Make and dye your own Pace Egg! Pace Eggs are hardboiled eggs, dyed in various colours, formerly the basis of several Easter customs. Pace eggs are rolled down grassy slope, either on Easter Sunday or Easter Monday!
Download the How To Guide here.
Find out more about the background of Pace Eggs here.