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Yorkshire Museum 73


scientific thought and debate at that time. All the top professors from Oxford and Cambridge came here. “It all started in the 1820s when they found hyena,


elephant and hippo bones in Kirkdale Cave in North Yorkshire, which was a huge surprise to say the least. As a result the whole movement of Darwinian thought began in Yorkshire. The museum was actually excommunicated by the church at one point for questioning the story of Genesis.


“AN EIGHT- FOOT TALL


BIRD? IT’S JUST A


BRILLIANT THING.





“The history of the museum, and of all the exhibits


here, shows how important Yorkshire is historically. Five Roman Emperors came to York, the Roman Empire was run from here for a number of years and this was England’s second city for the whole medieval period.” Great efforts have been undertaken to make a visit


to the Yorkshire Museum as engaging as possible from the word go. As soon as you step into the main foyer downstairs you are confronted with an impressive statue of Mars, the Roman God of War. Beyond that is a huge floor map showing the Roman Empire at its height, and a large screen on the far wall where you can hear the stories of four different Roman people from York, as related by actors. To the left of the foyer are the Roman and Medieval


exhibitions, together with a 300-seat auditorium showing an audio-visual introducing the story of York’s history. To the right are the natural history rooms and the ‘Extinct’ exhibit, wherein you’ll find the famous Moa. Upstairs is the extensive Learning Level, complete


with activity rooms, walls of books, comfy leather chairs and the marvelous library – which has been opened to the public for the first time in more than 150 years. Strolling along the balconies of the first-floor brings you close to the giant skull of a Baleen Whale among other things, not to mention the fascinating time-line of Yorkshire painted around the walls. Here you learn that the first evidence of humans living in Yorkshire consists of an axe found in Hunton, dating from 20,000 BC. Then there’s the thought that 180 million years ago Yorkshire was covered by a sea teeming with gigiantic monsters. It’s a good job people weren’t around then, or they’d have doubtless found themselves in the belly of an Ichthyosaur. Taking time to look around the Yorkshire Museum


adds up to a fascinating experience – one that is now housed in fittingly impressive surroundings. “This museum is home to some of the most important


and impressive treasures found in the UK,” said Andrew, “and I’m delighted that the building has been restored to the grandeur it deserves. It’s a beautiful space, and we hope that it inspires local people and visitors to go and explore York and the wider region for themselves.”


The Yorkshire Museum is open daily from 10am to 5pm. Entry is free for children under the age of sixteen and £7 for adults. Tickets are valid for 12 months, allowing repeat visits and no extra charge. For more information visit www.yorkshiremuseum.org.uk


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