Previous history exhibitions at York Castle Museum, York

Previous Exhibitions

Celebrating York’s Gypsy and Traveller Heritage

16 May 2023- May 2024

York Castle Museum is proud to present a new community exhibition developed with York Travellers Trust (YTT), celebrating the rich history of the Gypsy and Traveller Communities (GTC) in York. Through photography, an installation designed by members of the GTC, historical information and a film, the display will celebrate their important connections to the city. Find out more here

The Tiger Who Came to Tea

10 September – 6 November 2022

An exhibition from Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children’s Books
A new exhibition celebrating and exploring Kerr’s life and creations, and marking the 50th anniversary of the much-loved classic. Find out more.



HerStory York: 100 Women Changemakers

March- 21 August 2022

It will celebrate 100 inspirational women who, from 1918 to 2018, have made a difference to the city of York and whose stories have not been told or only partially told. This will be showcased through a series of stories, images, community loans and related objects from the York Museums Trust collection. Find out more.


York’s Jewish story: 1170 to present

November 2021 -6 February 2022

An exciting new community exhibition, in partnership with York Liberal Jewish Community. Telling the compelling history of York’s Jewish community, spanning from 1170 to the present day, is shown through a series of insightful displays and key objects from the York Castle Museum collections. Find out more.


Isolation Art

7 October – 14 November 2021

An exhibition in partnership with Refugee Action York

Showcasing works of art created during lockdown by asylum seekers in York, displayed at York Castle Museum as part of an upcoming community exhibition focusing on the work of the charity Refugee Action York (RAY).  

The works were painted during the COVID pandemic by several people seeking asylum who the Home Office had housed in a hotel in the city.  Find out more.


Museum of Broken Relationships

22 March 2019 – 22 March 2020

York Castle Museum brings a collection of stories and symbolic possessions to the city which relate to the ways we fall out of love.

Always heartfelt, sometimes humorous and often deeply moving, the collections from the Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb, Croatia, will be enriched with objects from York’s collections which illustrate a key moment in a relationship breaking down. Find out more.


Powerful Women, Hidden Histories

March 2018 – April 2019

This trail around the museum’s displays highlights the stories of women, some known and some unrecorded, that can be told through the objects and buildings that we preserve – stories of powerful women and their hidden histories. Find out more.


A Personal Collection of Vivienne Westwood Shoes

13 July 2018 – 23 April 2019

See a prized private collection of Dame Vivienne Westwood shoes and a display of footwear she selected from our historic collection. Find out more.


Chocolate: York’s Sweet Past

April 2017 – April 2018

Visitors were able to delve into the delicious history of some of the world’s most iconic chocolates and sweets on a chocolatey tour of sweets galore in a series of displays across the museum. Find out more.


York Out of the Closet

5 June – 5 November 2017

Our 1960s pub was transformed into an LGBT bar brimming with tales of love, struggle and pride to mark 50 years since the partial decriminalisation of sex between men in England and Wales. Find out more.


From Cradle to Grave

April 2000 – April 2016

This exhibition focuses on the history of three rites of passage: birth, marriage and death. On display were nursery items, wedding clothes and gifts, and an Edwardian hearse. Find out more.


Road to Waterloo

23 May – 30 September 2015

Marked the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, this exhibition highlighted several rare objects including Napoleonic wallpaper, a military jacket and a seven barrel nock gun. Find out more.


Unfair Trade

25 March 2007 – 25 March 2008

Marking the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the British slave trade, this exhibition explored the impact slavery had on everyday life using historic material from York and Yorkshire. Find out more.



Closed 31 December 2004

The exhibition explored the many ways people kept themselves and their houses clean in the past. Items on display included vacuum cleaners, washing machines, soap and cleaning products. Find out more.