Community Projects


From time to time Malton Museum invites the local community to get involved with projects relating to the history of Malton and its surrounding area, or to the collections held by the Museum.

Calls for participation in such projects will appear on the Museum’s News page and on its social media sites.

Here is a selection of some of the previous community projects that the Museum has run.

A Day in the Life- Oral History Project

In 2019 Malton Museum ran an oral history project to capture local stories of those who work in the horse industry. The interviewees work in a range of roles, from horse transport, saddlery, welfare and farriering through to racing. The recordings, which form part of the Museum’s Horse Power exhibition, capture what it is like to work in these roles and the rewards and challenges that come with the job.  This project was funded by Arts Council England.

Reminiscence Project

As part of the Horse Power Exhibition, the museum created two memory boxes based on horses:  one designed for adults and one for children. Each box is filled with a range of objects to help trigger horse-related memories. The boxes have been loaned out to various organisations.  The reminiscences project was funded by Arts Council England.

You and Your Horse Selfie

At the start of 2019 visitors were asked to share their own horse selfies. The museum received a large number of photographs, which were used to create an artwork display in the museum.  This project was funded by Arts Council England.

360 Degree Imaging

The aim of this project, which ran from November 2017, was to train a group of volunteers in the process of taking multiple photographs of objects from the Museum’s collection and turning them into images which could be rotated and viewed from any angle on screen.

The learning curve was substantial, but we persevered and the results can now be viewed at:

Measuring Medieval Malton

How much of the pattern of Medieval Malton still exsists? That was the question this project sought to answer. A group of seven local people under the guidance of archaeologist Dr Patrick Ottaway set out with notepads and tape measures to record the widths of all the building frontages and alleyways along the main streets in the centre of Malton. Using this data the task was to establish if the pattern of the original burgage plots could be indentified.

But what is a burgage plot? When the town of New Malton was created in the late 12th century the main streets that we see today were laid out. Long plots (the burgage plots), set out at right angles to these streets, were leased by the Lord of the Manor to tradesmen (called burgesses) who paid rent for them.

The plots would have been laid out in a regular manner based on the historic measurement of the ‘perch’, which was commonly 16ft 6ins (5.03m) in length. Over time the original plots were subdivided to create more properties along the street fronts, but otherwise the widths of the plots tended to remain fixed throughout the following centuries.  It was only from the mid 19th century that larger-scale redevelopment started to merge adjacent plots and hide some of the earlier boundaries.

However, in spite of all the changes that have taken place in the past, our measurements showed that in most areas of the centre of Malton it is still possible to detect the use of the 16ft 6ins perch.

Interestingly, there are two areas of the town, in Castlegate and on the south-east side of the Market Place, where a perch length of 18 ft (5.49m) has been used. Patrick Ottaway’s work in York would suggest that these areas are older and might possibly have been in existence before New Malton was created.

The results were presented in a display in the museum, and a full written report was prepared (a copy of which can be viewed in the Museum’s Community Resource Room).

Download a copy of the full project report (PDF, 5 MB).

This project was funded by Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund.


Oral History Project

Preserving Malton’s Memories

This project, which was originally set up as a strand of the Malton Goes To Market exhibition, interviewed local people to record for posterity their recollections of Malton and Norton from days gone by.

More information about this project, along with the audio recordings that were made, is available on the Oral History Project page.

Hannah tells us about her involvement with the project

My name is Hannah and I am a Masters student at the University of York. For several months I worked with Malton Museum on the ‘Malton Memories’ project, a Heritage Lottery funded oral history project which aimed to show Malton and Norton through the eyes of those who know it best; the local community.

Since 2016 when the project was initially set up, volunteers from Malton Museum have been working both with members of the local community and visiting tourists in order to gather fascinating insights into Malton and the surrounding area in times gone by. Volunteers from the Museum have also worked with Racing Welfare and Slingsby Local History Group in order to gather as many varied memories as possible. Through this work we have managed to gather a bank of oral histories and written testimonies for inclusion within the display in the Museum.

Taking advantage of the fantastic memories we have gathered, I have been working to create a publication which collates a selection of the memories and forms part of the ‘Malton Memories’ exhibition in the Museum. It has been incredible to be given the chance to work so closely with the Museum, having been involved in a variety of activities, including setting up a pop-up exhibition which we held in the library to try to improve the visibility of the project within the local community. This proved to be a brilliant opportunity to engage with a variety of people and was an enjoyable few hours which gave us the chance to hear lots of unique and personal stories. I love working with people, so it has been lovely to chat to locals about their memories; one that will stick with me is that of a gentleman who kindly sat and chatted with us, telling us how he used to be the self-proclaimed ‘cab mascot’ for his dad when delivering animal feed to local farms as a little boy. Local farmers would provide cakes and a cuppa for them on their travels and the evening meal was a chocolate bar and a can of pop!

Not knowing the local area very well beforehand, it has been really rewarding to learn about the history of Malton and Norton, particularly through the form of oral history. I find it is always much more interesting to hear about the local area from those who have experienced the town and its many changes, providing a much more personal perspective on the area. ‘Malton Memories’ has been a brilliant project to be involved with and I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the museum, it has provided invaluable experience for me and I am extremely grateful to all involved. In my future career I would love to be able to work in a role which involves public engagement and the visitor experience, so working on this project with Malton has been a fantastic opportunity and really good fun!

The project is still ongoing, so please do get in touch with the Museum if you feel you have any memories you could contribute! There is also a box in Malton library where you can drop off your written memories if you prefer.

The publication I have produced to sit alongside the project was available to view in the exhibition gallery, and in digital form it is still available from

‘How long would you survive in Roman Malton?’

Working with students from University of York to create a digital game

In May 2017 we worked with first year undergraduate archaeology students from the University of York. Tasked with creating a digital output to be used online, and potentially in the museum, the students embraced the project and the game ‘How long would you survive in Roman Malton?’ was born.

The brief given to the students was to create something to appeal to a younger audience, using Fido, our museum dog icon as the guiding figure. The students spent time with the museum volunteers, looking at objects in the store and seeing how and what the museum currently did for families and in schools. The students then pitched their ideas to the volunteers and a plan was agreed. The students would create a series of scenarios and ask the ‘player’ to make certain choices. The ultimate goal was to see if you could survive until the age of 52 years in Roman Malton.

The game was then tested with volunteers, a school group and visitors to the museum, before the final version, which you see today, was completed.

The students blogged about their experience, which can be seen at

The museum was thrilled with the outcome. The game has been running in the museum since the summer of 2017. We would like to thank the students and supervisors listed below;

Emily Pearson
Hayden Chamberlain
Marionna Sandin Catacora
Isobel Christian
With thanks to –
Sara Perry
Steve Roskams
Meghan L Dennis
Harald Fredheim
Tara Copplestone

Ryedale Family History Group

The Ryedale Family History Group assisted Malton Museum with a research project based on an indenture, which featured in the Malton Goes To Market exhibition, between a young boy, Fred Witty, and a local baker in 1888. The report was displayed alongside the indenture in the exhibition.

Malton and Norton Camera Club

In 2016, Malton Museum asked Malton and Norton District Camera Club to respond to the theme of Malton Goes to Market. The members were asked to explore creatively the local heritage and to capture a snapshot of life in Malton and Norton today. The successful images then featured within the exhibition and a catalogue.

Tales of the Castle

In 2014 Malton Museum participated in a joint project with Kirkbymoorside Camera Club, Malton Castle Garden volunteers and artist Peter Coates to explore the history of Malton’s castle through a display and a magnificent sculptural feature on a newly-restored stretch of wall in the gardens.

Living History Project

The 2020 Covid-19 virus outbreak across the world will be an event remembered well into the future as one of the key events of the 21st-century.

Museums collect information as well as objects, and they have a responsibility to store it safely for the public. Often it is looked at again well into the distant future. Here at Malton Museum we are keeping a record of how life presented itself this year of Covid-19.

Our work will be an asset for future volunteers, historians and the public who are interested in the past. It is, if you like, a very small-scale version of the Mass Observation Project that was run in the Second World War and which has now proved so helpful in understanding how ordinary people lived, behaved and what they valued in war time.

We are asking you to help us by providing details of your experiences of living in this area during the Covid-19 outbreak – this will be added to the museum’s archive.

Please send us your special stories of Covid-19 as well as details of your regular activities through the pandemic and tell us how the present restrictions and changes have affected your daily life.

We are keen to receive photos as well but this is not essential.

We would like you to tell us about your everyday life this year during Covid-19. For example:

How has life changed?

Are you doing things for the first time like growing vegetables?

Have you had time to develop a new hobby? If so please give details.

Have you baked more – and what have you cooked?

How do you communicated with your family and friends?

Have there been any surprises or special stories arising from lock-down.

What have you missed?

How are things changing as lock-down eases?

Tell us as little or as much as you like. Think about what in 2070 our descendants will learn about us?

All this information will be kept in the Museum’s archive and is not intended for publication or to be part of any current exhibition, although this may change in the future.

If you live in the Malton / Ryedale area and would like to contribute information to the project please write to us at [email protected]

You are welcome to send up to three photo images as well, although if these include images of people we will send you the necessary data protection form to sign, just in case they are needed for exhibition purposes in the future.