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York Museums Trust

York Museums Trust (YMT) is the charity responsible for operating some key museums and galleries in York, England. The trust was founded in 2002 to run York's museums on behalf of the City of York Council.[2][3] It has seen an increase in annual footfall of 254,000 to the venues since its foundation.[4] In both 2016 and 2017 it saw its annual visitors numbers reach 500,000 people.[5]

York Museums Trust
Yorkshire Museum.jpg
The Yorkshire Museum, one of the trust's sites.
Founded26 February 2002 (2002-02-26)
FounderR I L Guthrie, M J Allen, D E Rayner, R E Rushforth
Registration no.1092466
OriginsCreated by City of York Council to manage the city's museums and galleries
Area served
ServicesOperating York's city-owned museums and galleries
Key people
Chairman Sir John Lawton
Chief Executive Reyahn King
352 (2016)[1]


The trust runs four cultural venues and a garden.

The Yorkshire MuseumEdit

This is the historic county museum displaying collections inherited from the Yorkshire Philosophical Society and acting as a regional collecting museum.[6]

York Museum GardensEdit

The Museum Gardens are a botanical garden containing the Yorkshire Museum and St Mary's Abbey.[7]

York Castle MuseumEdit

The Castle Museum is a social history museum housed in two former prison buildings.[8]

York Art GalleryEdit

York's Art Gallery has a large collection of paintings and an internationally important collection of studio ceramics.[9] In 2012 the trust obtained £7 million of funding for major refurbishment of the gallery.[10]

York St Mary'sEdit

York St Mary's is a contemporary art space in the deconsecrated church of St Mary's, Castlegate.[11] The first use of the space was a joint exhibition by a number of artists, but since 2005 St Mary's has hosted installations by individuals, which are changed on a regular basis. The first of these commissions, inspired by the medieval building itself, was a textile work by Caroline Broadhead called Breathing Spaces. This was followed by Echo, a work by Susie MacMurray. In 2012, Laura Belem created The Temple of a Thousand Bells, which used individually-made clear glass bells in a composition combining bell chimes with a narrative describing how a temple sinks into the sea, silencing the music of a thousand bells.[12][13]


The Trust is primarily funded through the City of York Council and the Arts Council. The Trust also derives substantial revenue from admission charges and other income sources. Total funding and income for 2013/14 is expected to be £5.85 Million.[14][15]


Middleham Jewel

Over 1000 nationally important paintings held by the Trust have been made available online as part of a cooperative project with the BBC and the Public Catalogue Foundation.[16][17] A number of objects with a Yorkshire connection and held by the Trust were included in the BBC History of the World project, including the Middleham Jewel, the York helmet, and a tin of Rowntree's cocoa from Ernest Shackleton’s unsuccessful Nimrod expedition to the South Pole.[18][19][20]


  • In 2009 jointly acquired with the British Museum the Vale of York Hoard,[21] a Viking treasure hoard valued at over £1,000,000.[22]
  • An exhibition in 2011 of David Hockney’s largest landscape painting Bigger Trees Near Warter was the most well attended since the Trust had taken over the York Art gallery in 2002.[23]
  • In 2012 the Trust successfully raised enough money to retain one of a pair of Iron Age gold torcs that had been found in Towton, North Yorkshire.[24]
  • In 2013 the Trust in conjunction with the BBC organised a Stargazing Live event at the York Observatory in the York museum gardens.[25]
  • In 2014 an exhibition at York Castle Museum focussed on the changes brought about by the First World War, in the centenary year of the start of the conflict.[26]


  1. ^ Trustees Reports and Financial Statements, Year Ended 31 March 2016 (PDF) (Report). York Museums Trust. 2016. Retrieved 15 February 2018.
  2. ^ "History". York Museums Trust website. York Museums Trust. Archived from the original on 1 December 2012. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
  3. ^ "Brave new world for museums in York". The York Press. 1 August 2002. Retrieved 15 October 2013.
  4. ^ "York Museums Trust". City of York Council. Archived from the original on 18 September 2013. Retrieved 24 October 2013.
  5. ^ "Trustees Reports and Financial Statements, Year Ended 31 March 2018" (PDF). York Museums Trust. 2018. Retrieved 31 October 2018.
  6. ^ "Galleries: Yorkshire Museum". Art UK. Retrieved 28 October 2013.
  7. ^ "York Museum Gardens". PlantNetwork: The Plant Collections Network of Britain and Ireland (2005). Retrieved 28 October 2013.
  8. ^ "Galleries: York Castle Museum". Art UK. Retrieved 28 October 2013.
  9. ^ "Anthony Shaw ceramics collection loaned to York Art Gallery". BBC News. BBC. 19 September 2011. Retrieved 24 October 2013.
  10. ^ "York Art Gallery £8m refurbishment to begin in new year". BBC News. 27 December 2012. Retrieved 28 October 2013.
  11. ^ "Welcome to York St Marys". York Museums Trust. Archived from the original on 17 October 2013. Retrieved 15 October 2013.
  12. ^ "St Mary's Church, Castlegate". Jorvik an illustrated guide to York. Retrieved 28 October 2013.
  13. ^ "Installation: The Temple of a Thousand Bells". Events Arts & Culture. Archived from the original on 31 October 2012. Retrieved 28 October 2013.
  14. ^ "Forward Plan 2012 - 2018" (PDF). York Museums Trust. p. 4. Retrieved 28 October 2013.
  15. ^ "York Museums Trust". National portfolio organisations. Arts Council England. Archived from the original on 10 October 2013. Retrieved 28 October 2013.
  16. ^ "Galleries: York Museums Trust". Art UK. Retrieved 28 October 2013.
  17. ^ "More about York Museums Trust". Art UK. Retrieved 28 October 2013.
  18. ^ "Middleham Jewel". A History of the World. BBC. Retrieved 28 October 2013.
  19. ^ "York Helmet". A History of the World. BBC. Retrieved 28 October 2013.
  20. ^ "Shackleton's tin of Rowntree's Cocoa". A History of the World. BBC. Retrieved 28 October 2013.
  21. ^ "Getting the most out of treasure". BBC news. 17 September 2009. Retrieved 28 October 2013.
  22. ^ In 2007 the Whelans had been quoted as saying that a conservative estimate for the value of the hoard was about £750,000.("Viking treasure hoard uncovered". BBC. 19 July 2007. Retrieved 28 October 2013.)
  23. ^ "Hockney's largest painting pulls the crowds in York". York - Arts and Culture. BBC. Retrieved 28 October 2013.
  24. ^ "Iron Age gold bracelet to stay at Yorkshire Museum". BBC News York. BBC. Retrieved 28 October 2013.
  25. ^ "University helps local community reach for the stars". BBC Stargazing Live 2013. Retrieved 28 October 2013.
  26. ^ "York Castle Museum lottery grant funds WWI exhibition". BBC News York. BBC. Retrieved 28 October 2013.

External linksEdit