Founded in 1938 to display the personal collections of Dr John L. Kirk, the York Castle Museum is situated close to Clifford’s Tower on the grounds of the former York Castle. Celebrated as one of the UK’s most unique museums of everyday life, the vast exhibitions center around a series of period reconstructions, designed to evoke the feeling of stepping back in time.
There’s an 1850s-style cottage and a 1940s kitchen; Jacobean and Georgian dining rooms laid out with china tea sets; and a Sixties gallery crammed with music, fashion and design from the era. There’s even a prison cell, fashioned like the one where notorious highwayman Dick Turpin was kept prisoner; an early 19th century flourmill; a military exhibition; and a collection of Jane Austen costumes.
Most renowned is the reconstructed Victorian street of Kirkgate, which was renovated in 2012 and is now kitted out with sound and light effects to offer an interactive experience of Victorian Britain. Strolling down the cobbles of Kirkgate and you can peek into family home; call in at the police station; hail a horse-drawn Hansom cab; and enter the shops like George Britton's Grocers and Terry's sweet shop, based on real-life York shops, stocked with genuine Victorian goods and run by costumed actors.