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An award winning museum located in an old prison and showing what life was like in York in days gone by

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60's Gallery
Costume Collection
Cradle to Grave
Edwardian Street
Prison Cells
The Studios
Toy Stories Gallery
Victorian Street
War Galleries
The word museum usually brings to mind old, boring antiques, locked away inside dull glass cases. Visitors have to walk around in complete silence without touching anything. York Castle Museum, on the other hand, aims to challenge the stereotype, and this starts straightaway when you realise that the museum is housed inside an old prison!

The front of the Castle Museum
After you walk inside, you'll soon see the other differences. Here, entire rooms are made into giant displays, so visitors actually feel like they've stepped back in time.
The main display is a recreated Victorian Street called Kirkgate - which is named after the museum's founder, Dr. John Kirk. The street is eerily realistic, with its cobbled stones, family homes, and curious shops. And if you get into any sort of trouble - there is even an old police station! Everything is done to a very high standard, and with the addition of various sound and lighting effects, the whole atmosphere is really brought to life.

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Other displays include an 1850s cottage, and several different examples of everyday living and dining rooms, from throughout history. This includes recent history in the 20th century, so it's possible to chart the progression of family life from many generations ago, all the way up to the present day. Similarly, a gallery has recently been opened called The Sixties, which takes a look at the music and fashion of that swinging decade. It's unusual for a museum to focus on a time period so recent, but it is a decision which has proved to be very popular among visitors.

Recreated rooms from the past
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Of course, it's also fun to look back at some of the dramatic events in history, and the museum manages this by paying tribute to its past as a jail. Dick Turpin, the North's most famous highwayman, was imprisoned here in the 1700s, and his cell is also recreated to look as it did back then. From this small room, Turpin was led to the hanging block, and executed for his life as a criminal.
York Castle Museum is one of the best museums in the city, and has gained well-deserved acclaim for its fun and modern approach to telling the stories of the past.
Visitor Information
The Castle Museum is open daily, 9.30am to 5pm. Entry costs around £8 (kids FREE). There is a cafe and shop inside the museum. Tel: 01904 687687

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