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Historic treasures return to the Yorkshire Museum
The Vale of York Viking Hoard, Yorkshire Museum.
The Vale of York Viking Hoard is just one of the treasures in the museum

The Yorkshire Museum, home to some of Britain's greatest treasures, will reopen its doors on Sunday August 1 after a major refurbishment.

The two million pound project has completely transformed the interior of the museum.

Objects on show include the Vale of York Viking Hoard, the Middleham Jewel and the Ormside Bowl.

The museum was opened in 1830 by the Yorkshire Philosophical Society and is now run by the York Museums Trust.

The project has taken nine months and construction work has involved removing false walls, opening up blocked windows and restoring 19th century skylights.

Light now floods the interior and gives the museum a more modern and fresh appeal.

Andrew Morrison, head curator at the Yorkshire Museum said: "People had told us that the museum was dark and dingy and they were right.

"When the building was designed it was meant to be a light space. When you let in natural daylight, as we've done in this project, it just makes everything, all our wonderful objects, look so much better."

Andrew Morrison, head curator at the Yorkshire Museum

Yorkshire Museum refurbishment

Another significant change is how people can use the museum. There isn't a single 'Do not touch' sign in the building, there's a reading room and it is even possible to walk across a beautiful 2,000 year old mosaic floor.

Historic treasures

Whilst the museum was closed many of the most important object in its collections were put on display at the British Museum in London.

It was the first time the national museum had dedicated a gallery to a regional collection and is proof of just how highly regarded the Yorkshire Museum's collections are.

The highlight of the newly restored museum must be the Vale of York Viking Hoard. The collection includes 600 coins, complete ornaments, ingots, chopped-up fragments known as hack-silver and a gilt silver vessel.

The Middleham Jewel.
The jewel is heavily engraved and was discovered at Middleham in 1985

It was found by metal-detectorists in a field in 2007 and was acquired by the Yorkshire Museum in partnership with the British Museum. The objects will be displayed in York for the next year.

Another highlight is the magnificent Middleham Jewel. This small, beautifully engraved piece of jewellery was discovered in 1985 at Middleham Castle in North Yorkshire.

It may be that this jewel was designed for a female member of the powerful Neville family whose principal home was at Middleham in the 15th century.


The York Museums Trust, who run the Yorkshire Museum, believe the refurbishment has transformed the building into one of the greatest museums in the country.

Importantly it provides a suitable home for collections that are of national and international importance.

Andrew Morrison also believes that they've created a building that, "shows off its proud heritage while at the same time being a place that will inspire and delight the 21st century visitor."

In pictures: Yorkshire Museum
30 Jul 10 |  History
Viking hoard saved for the nation
27 Aug 09 |  North Yorkshire
Viking treasure hoard on display
17 Sep 09 |  North Yorkshire
Skeleton found buried at museum
19 Jan 10 |  North Yorkshire



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