Interest in the past of the Malton and Norton area goes back a long way – it is known that an inscribed Roman stone from Malton was shown at the Royal Society in London in 1755. By the 1880s the Malton Field Naturalists and Scientific Society was a small group with a growing interest in the area’s past; they set up a museum in the Subscription Rooms to display their collection of geological and natural history specimens.
Roman Malton Museum
In 1932 the natural history, geological and fossil collections were given to Hull museum where some of it was subsequently lost due to the bombing in 1943.
In the late 1920s and early 1930s, excavations of sites at Malton fort, Langton villa and Crambeck by Dr J.L. Kirk and Mr Philip Corder produced a wealth of Romano-British material. A room in the newly-built Milton Rooms was made available for the display of this collection and the facility was known as the Roman Malton Museum, as announced by a hanging sign outside the Subscription Rooms in Yorkersgate.
The Town Hall
By 1982 the Museum had outgrown the space in the Milton Rooms and a new museum was established in the Old Town Hall at Malton. Still entirely run by volunteers, it thrived, with an extensive Roman exhibition on the ground floor, and a room on the first floor for temporary exhibitions, including one about the long-running excavations at the deserted medieval village of Wharram Percy in the nearby Yorkshire Wolds.
The addition of an education room meant that the Museum was able to welcome school groups.
Museum in the Community
The 21st century brought changing fortunes, and an expiring lease led to the museum facing closure in 2012. Many museums might have withered, but enthusiasm and determination ensured Malton Museum’s rebirth as Malton Museum in the Community. If the public could not come to the objects, the objects would go to the public through a creative programme of events for audiences of all ages.
The Museum Today
In 2013 the Museum was fortunate to obtain use of two large rooms back in The Subscription Rooms. This was an opportunity once again to create permanent but changing displays to share some of the collection with the public, as well as to restore the rooms to some of their former glory. The volunteers rose to this challenge and the Museum is now more engaged and active than it has ever been.
The Museum is fully accredited by Arts Council England, and is a registered charity.