Yorkshire Musem, Gardens, Etc., York
The Museum Gardens were another of my very favourite places in the city. They are a wonderful area stretching from the river to the Yorkshire Museum, and featuring some interesting sights such as St Mary's Abbey, the Hospitium and St Leonard's Hospital. But apart from these sights, they are just a perfect area to relax. I loved coming here in the evening after a day of walking around and sightseeing, and to just sit down on one of the benches and wind down while enjoying the atmosphere. There are many wonderful trees and flowers, and you can also watch countless of squirrels hurrying along and looking for food.
The Museum Gardens are a place that is enjoyed by locals and tourists alike. As they are located on the way from the train station to the city, they are even a perfect stop after a day trip by train, and I always liked to take in a little of York's atmosphere before walking back to my accommodation.
The Hospitium is situated within the lovely museum Gardens. It is the oldest surviving timber framed structure in York today, dating from the 14th Century. It is now cared for by the York Museum Trust and is used as a venue for conferences, seated dinners and Christmas functions.
The atmospheric ruins of St. Mary's are amongst my favourite sights in York. Located in the gardens of the Yorkshire museum, the ruins are only a small part of a once great medieval abbey, which was built as far back as 1080. The west wing of the Abbey is the most visible part of the ruins while parts of its Chapter House have been incorporated into the nearby museum.
The Yorkshire Museum stands in the grounds of St. Mary's Abbey, just inside the town walls. This was my favourite museum in York and we spent an enjoyable couple of hours here escaping the rain and learning about the history of York.
The museum has impressive exhibits on the early history of York, in particular on Roman York. There is also good coverage of the Viking and the Anglo-Saxon periods, while a separate section shows remains of parts of St. Mary's Abbey. The star exhibit in the collection is the 15th Century Middleham Jewel, found as recently as 1985.
Entry to the museum costs 4 pounds for adults.
The ruins of St Mary's Abbey, first built in 1088, are all that remains of one of the wealthiest and most powerful Benedictine monasteries in England.
The abbey estate occupied the entire site of the Museum Garden and the abbot was one of the most powerful clergymen of his day, on a par with the Archbishop of York.
The monks would spend their days working in abbey administration, copying books, trading with merchants, providing food and supplies for the monastery, managing the abbey’s estates and helping the poor.
Visitors can see the remains of the walls of the nave and crossing of the abbey church, where the monks prayed and sang, and the cloister, where the monks washed their clothes, contemplated and were allowed to speak.
King Henry VIII banned all monasteries in England in 1530s. The monks at St Mary's were pensioned off in 1540 and the abbey buildings were converted into a palace for the King when he visited York.
Gradually they fell into ruins and were used as agricultural buildings before being excavated by the Yorkshire Philosophical Society in the 1820s.
St Marys Abbey was one of the first monastic houses to be established in Yorkshire after the Norman conquest. It was founded in 1080 by Benedictine Monks and became one of the wealthiest benedictine abbeys. It was dissolved on the orders of Henry VIII in 1539 and subsequently fell into a state of disrepair.
The Abbey is situated in the corner of the Museum gardens and would be a lovely place to just sit and read a book on a sunny day.
The Yorkshire Museum hosts a wealth of collections, including a large number of archeological finds which portray Yorkshire life from Roman times to medieval. The museum was closed during our visit but we hope to call in here next time we're in York.
The newly refurbished museum opens on Yorkshire Day - 1st August 2010.
This church outside the museum gardens is dedicated to Olaf, patron saint of Norway. Olaf was converted to Christianity whilst in England fighting the Danes. He was king of Norway from 1016 to 1029.
The church used to be a monastery. When it got too small for the monks they used St. Mary's instead. You can see the ruins of St. Mary in the Museum Gardens still. This all took place in the 11th century. In the 15th century the church was rebuilt. Then in the 17th century during the civil war the roof of St. Olave was used as a gun platform in the siege of York. The church was heavily damaged so construction work started another time.
The Yorkshire Museum was opened in 1830 by the Yorkshire Philosophical Society, a society devoted to the study of science through public display and study of archaeology, geology and natural history collections. It was one of the first purpose-built museums in the country.
The museum was built on the site of the medieval St Mary's Abbey and remains of the abbey can be seen on the lower floor of the museum. The story of how the monks lived is told here. The ruins of the Abbey's church, gatehouse and precinct wall can be seen in the Museum Gardens.
Further on in the museum our Hunters and Hunted gallery focuses on the sea creatures which lived millions of years ago in the time of the dinosaurs.
Adult- £5Child - £3.50Under 5s - FreeConcessions - £4Residents with a York Card - FreeTwo adults with:One child - £12Two children - £15& £3 per child after that (2007 prices). However once tickets are purchased you can go back for free for up to a year.
If you do not want to visit the museum the grounds are very welll worth seeing.
Closes 2/11/09 until 1/8/10.
York Art Gallery re-opened in March 2005 following a 445,000 pounds refurbishment project with a new cafe and learning room called The Studio, thanks to generous support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and many other sponsors and donors.
The gallery's outstanding collection of British and European art spanning the last 600 years is now displayed in new themed areas under the headings of people, places, stories, devotion and morality. I do love that last one.
These themed areas also feature guest contemporary works, including video, photography, ceramics and painting, but one of the things I enjoy about the less well known galleries is they often have things you'd never see elsewhere.
An installation of dyed-black turkey feathers, called Flock, confirms my theory on this. Thinks "They'll be flocking in to see this".
I love Science Museums the MOST! I love historical museums too. This place is both. I was in heaven. Its next to the ruins of St. Mary Abby, take a bit of time to enjoy it and the gardens. That part is free to everyone. But don't miss the museum. It wasn't an expensive museum to visit (7 pounds). It has a whole range of exhibits.
The Abbey of St Mary in York is a ruined Benedictine abbey. The original abbey on the site was founded in 1055 and dedicated to Saint Olave. St Mary's was once the largest and richest Benedictine establishment in the north of England and the abbey was one of the largest landholders in Yorkshire. However, in 1539, during the Dissolution of the Monasteries under Henry VIII, it was closed and subsequently substantially destroyed.
Okay, while we're on the theme of names, how about we rename the Yorkshire Museum? It should become the "Archeological Museum," or perhaps the "Roman History Center."
Now that we've got that settled, I can say that I enjoyed the "Yorkshire Museum" and the beautiful gardens it is set in. There's an interesting assortment of Roman artefacts from the 300+ year roman occupation. Roman "Eboricum" was a major military and trading center, and was one of the final posts before the "frontier" which separated "civilized" Britain from the barbaric land of the Picts. (Hence the nearby Wall of Hadrian.) The museum here used both static displays and interactive features to tell the roman story. There are a number of those interesting "listening stations" where you can pick up headphones and listen to first-person narratives of a roman soldier, or a British farmer, or a Gallic slave. Emperor Constantine was crowned near here; when I visited in 2006 there was an excellent temporary visit that told his story. (Unfortunately, it occupied space normally given over to Viking and medieval exhibits.)
The gardens are a pretty place for a picnic. You can sit on the grass and eat your sandwich, or simply lie out and absorb the afternoon sun for a moment. The gardens feature the fragmentary remains of the 14th century St. Mary's Abbey: the ruins can help you focus your thoughts on the passage of time and the evanesence of all human things. "Vanity, vanity, all is vanity."
I had seen the grand looking building of the Yorkshire Museum from the outside quite often before I actually visited the museum itself, and it lived up to my expectations! Moreover, 2012 was a special year for a visit, as the museum celebrated "1212 - The making of York", in celebration of the thousand year old history of the city.
When you enter, you first encounter displays about Yorkshire's Roman history, showing many Roman artifacts. These include tomb stones, everyday articles, a Roman mosaic floor, as well as a statue of the Roman god Mars, according to the museum "the finest Roman statue in Britain". This gallery is a partnership gallery of the British Museum.
You then walk down to the basement where the Medieval galleries are located. Here you can see quite a lot of things connected to the Minster and other churches in York, as well as displays connected to Medieval kings and queens. There are also some wonderful Anglo Scandinavian gold items and weapons.
In addition to these historical collections there are geological and biological galleries, but I mostly skipped these.
I could not at all decide which pictures to include in this tip and which not, so in the end I created a separate travelogue - please click here to see my favourite displays of the museum!
Admission fee: Adults £7,50, concession £6,50, children under 16 free
Opening times: 10.00am to 05.00pm daily
Close to the Yorkshire Museum building, there are the ruins of an old abbey. Unfortunately, I could not really see them, because when I visited York the ruins were covered by a large stage construction, erected for the Yorkshire Mystery Play, which is an annual event taking place every summer. Thus, not much of the abbey was visible, basically just the entrance. Through the windows of the basement of the Yorkshire Museum it was possible to see another area of the abbey, but rather an unpretentious one with only a few smaller stones.
The first abbey in this location was founded in 1055, and in the following decades and centuries it changed hands several times. The abbey was totally rebuilt in the second half of the 13th century and it became one of the richest abbeys in Northern England, but during the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry XIII it was dissolved and destroyed.
Apart from the ruins in the gardens, there are some other remains you can see around York: The Hospitium, that is located in the gardens, too, and the King's Manor at Exhibition Square which once was the abbot's house. Along Bootham, you can also see part of the old walls that once encircled the whole abbey. Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures of it, although I walked along every day.