It is known that Antiquarians were collecting in Malton during the 18th and 19th centuries, but the museum’s main collections come from excavations that took place between 1925 and 1970. The Museum also holds archaeological material from subsequent, smaller excavations.
These collections have been augmented by generous donations from members of the public of a wide variety of objects, of all historical periods, from Malton, Norton and the surrounding area of Ryedale.
One significant donation was the metal detecting collection of the late Jim Halliday who had worked closely with the Portable Antiquities Scheme and various subject specialists to ensure that his finds were fully recorded and documented. Another notable donation was a group of local pictures from the late Nigel Hudleston.
The museum’s collection comprises about 1,100 standard boxes of artefacts, of which 96% is archaeological material. It is only possible to display a small fraction of this at any one time in the current museum, but to compensate for this there is a rolling programme of changes to the contents of the display cases.