The Reception Area
Your journey through time begins here. The reception area contains several exhibits including a plaque carved in the workshops of Robert Thompson, the famous Mouseman of Kilburn. You can find books, postcards and tourist information here too.
The Thomas Lord Room
Cricket fans can see a portrait of Thomas Lord presented by the MCC, a copy of his only known surviving signature, and a number of items connected with Yorkshire cricket and Yorkshire players. There are maps, drawings and photographs tracing the changes in Thirsk over the last 200 years, together with a collection of sticks and riding crops belonging to Dr MacArthur, a Thirsk GP. The fine watercolour was presented to him on his 80th birthday.
The Herriot Room
Evoking the farming life of the 1930s and 1940s, this room contains agricultural and dairy tools, a collection of antique animal traps and a display of the blacksmiths craft. A series of illustrative panels traces the development of agriculture in the Vale of Mowbray and explains the processes of butter- and cheese-making.
The Cottage Kitchen
With its stone sink, cast-iron range and linen hanging above to air, this is where the 19th century housewife spent her time washing, cleaning and cooking. The kitchen has a variety of household utensils once in daily use, including an early washing machine and a heavy mangle. High up on the wall is one of our best-known exhibits, the Busby Stoop Chair.
The Busby Stoop ChairThomas Busby, coiner and drunkard, murdered his father-in-law Daniel Auty in 1702. He was arrested, tried and condemned to death by hanging. After his execution, his corpse was suspended in chains from a gibbet erected at the lonely crossroads where an inn stood nearby. The inn later became known as the Busby Stoop Inn, taking its name from the stoop or post on which his remains could be seen.
The place was said to be haunted by his ghost, and a chair at the inn gained a sinister reputation. Wartime bomber pilots thought it unlucky to sit there, and in the 1970s some fatal accidents were linked with the chair. In 1978 the landlord asked for the chair to be removed to the Museum, and hung out of harms way. The Busby Stoop Chair has not been sat on since.
The First Floor Display Area
Make your way up the stairs to discover collections of toys and childhood possessions, items reflecting the experiences of two World Wars, and photographs telling of the lives and fortunes of local families. A special exhibition follows the rise and fall of Bamletts, the agricultural engineering firm synonymous with Thirsk for over a century. Also on display are the Flappers in the 20s and the Scandinavian Red Cross Nurse in her outdoor uniform.
Among the displays are The Office - ledgers, writing equipment and stationery from the 19th and early 20th centuries; The Music Shop - wind-up gramophones and 78rpm records from the 1920s and 30s; and Lace - examples of lace-making in a variety of styles. See the coat and wedding dress of Thomas Smith and Elizabeth Fawcett at Thirkleby Church in 1841.
The Edwardian Sitting Room
Step back in time to the beginning of the 20th century. An invalid lady and her young maid can be seen by the fireside, surrounded by cabinets of fine china, intricate needlework and other treasures. Her furniture, sewing machine, harmonium, pictures, books and curios complete the scene.
The Victorian Bedroom
A traditional iron and brass bed is covered by a patchwork bedspread originally from a maids bedroom in Thirsk Hall. Freshly laundered undergarments are laid out ready to wear, while the gentle ticking of the grandfather clock leaves the quiet of the room undisturbed.
The Reynolds Room
See ceramics, coins, jewellery and tools found by archaeologists around Thirsk. Among the exhibits are the remains of the Saxon Giant recovered from an ancient burial ground near the Museum. This room is named after Bernard Reynolds who converted the room for the Museums use.
Thirsks Saxon GiantThese bones from the early Saxon period (around the sixth century) were found during excavations at Castle Garth in the 1990s. Analysis of the bones showed that they belonged to a man who stood nearly seven feet tall. He lived at a time when the average height was less than it is today, making him a giant among his contemporaries. Normally these exhibits are covered, but visitors can see them simply by raising the cover.