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A Free Weekend of Art and History!

29 January 2016

York Residents’ Festival January 30th and 31st

Make Roman face pots, try your hand at painting a still life and meet Victorian shop keepers as part of this year’s York Museums Trust events for York Residents’ Festival 2016.

Residents with a Valid York Card or York Student Card are invited to York Art Gallery, the Yorkshire Museum and York Castle Museum for free to enjoy a weekend of world-class art, archaeological and geological wonders, and immersive social history.

The Yorkshire Museum have teamed up with York College to offer visitors the chance to learn about the Roman Ivory Bangle Lady, what your bones can tell archaeologists and also offer the chance to make Roman face pots.

York Castle Museum will have a host of Victorian shopkeepers for the weekend, allowing visitors to explore more of the shops and learn about the businesses that thrived in York 100 years ago.

At York Art Gallery there will be artistic activities to try and tours of the new gallery spaces, following its £8 million development.

On Saturday York Observatory will also be open in the York Museum Gardens, while on Sunday visitors can hope to spot treecreepers, goldcrests and even the odd sparrowhawk at the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch.

Reyahn King, Chief Executive at York Museums Trust, said:

“We are looking forward to welcoming York residents to our attractions over the weekend. We have a special range of activities and events for York residents to try for adults and families.

“The festival is a great way to show residents of York how much we appreciate their support and we hope they come and enjoy a fun-filled two days of art and history.”

Below are the events in detail.




York Art Gallery

Saturday 30th Jan

The Collectors’ Eye – Anthony Shaw

2pm – 3pm

Anthony Shaw, well-known collector and curator, explains what he looks for when choosing a pot to add to his collection.

Art Shot Tours
11am and 2pm

10 minute tours highlighting the favourite works of the York Art Gallery Welcome Team.

Sunday 31st Jan

 Highlights of the Collection Talks
11:15am and 2pm

Join our welcome team to discover more about our collections

Talk lasts approximately 30 minutes.

No need to book, maximum 15 on a tour. Please meet in the ground floor reception.
Art for Wellbeing
12.30pm – 3pm

York Residents’ Festival workshop. Informal practical sessions for adults, just drop-in and release your creative energy in the company of others and with gentle guidance on hand.

FREE to York Residents with a valid YORKCARD or York Student Card. £5 per session, gallery admission applies to non-residents.


Yorkshire Museum

Saturday 30th and Sunday 31st January

Everyday life in Roman York


Lead by York College A-Level students studying history, archaeology and geology, residents are invited to come and explore the story behind Ivory Bangle Lady and find out how she might have lived.

Find out about how your bones can tell archaeologists where you grew up and mark your place on our map. Have a go at making a small Roman face pot.

Write your year of birth in Roman numerals and learn about Roman inscriptions. Pick up a self-guided trail to places of interest in Roman York so that you can see where some of the finds in the museum came from.

FREE admission to York Residents with a valid YORKCARD or York Student Card.

York Castle Museum

Saturday 30th and Sunday 31st January

Take a journey of discovery to our world-famous recreated Victorian district, Kirkgate. Soak up the sights, sounds, and smells of Victorian York as you explore its cobbled streets and alleyways.

Visit shops packed with fascinating objects – from luxurious costumes to traditional sweets and the pharmacist’s unlikely ‘cures’- and take a wander to the Victorian watermill, meeting the shopkeepers and locals and experiencing the life of a Victorian in York.

Next, make your way to the 1914: When the World Changed Forever exhibition for the chance to handle some authentic First World War artefacts such as a genuine Lee Enfield gun with our knowledgeable volunteers.

FREE admission to York Residents with a valid YORKCARD or York Student Card.


York Museum Gardens 

Saturday 30th January

 York Observatory
11:30am – 2:30pm

York Observatory in York Museum Gardens was built in 1832, making it the oldest working observatory in Yorkshire.

The clock in the observatory is a Barraud of London made around 1810; it was presented to the observatory by William Pearson in 1831.  In its day it was the most accurate timepiece in York and it would cost you sixpence to check your timepiece against it.

York Museums Trust volunteers will open the Observatory for visitors to see the historic 1950s Cooke telescope and discover the history of this unique building.


Sunday 31st January

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch
10am – 3pm

Treecreepers, nuthatches and Britain’s smallest bird – the goldcrest – are just some of the birds you could spot at this year’s Royal Society for the Protection of Birds’ (RSPB) Big Garden Bird Watch at York Museum Gardens.

Curators and the gardens team will be leading organised bird spotting tours at 10am, 12pm and 2pm – each lasting one hour.

All are welcome to join to try and count as many feathered friends as possible in an hour as part of the biggest bird watch in the world.

There will also be our regular free garden tour from 1pm-2pm.


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