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York Museums Trust Want To Hear From You About the Future of York Castle Museum

The York Castle Project

What would you like to put in a York Castle Museum of the future? What stories should it tell, what should you experience and how should it make you feel?

These are some of the questions York Museums Trust are inviting people to answer and help shape the future of York Castle Museum.

The Trust are currently working on plans to redevelop the York Castle Museum to ensure it remains a must-see, imaginative and welcoming place to visit for the 21st century visitor.

This summer they are setting up base in York St Mary’s, Castlegate, to run a series of events and activities so the Trust can speak to visitors past, present and future about what they think should be included in the plans.

Helen Langwick, interpretation and content manager for York Castle Museum, said:

“This is a very exciting time for York Castle Museum. As it celebrates its 80th year as one of the best loved attractions in the country, we are hoping people will come forward with their ideas, thoughts and opinions to help shape our ambitious plans for the future.

“We want to ensure that the museum’s stories and content has contemporary resonance and we would like visitors to be able choose how they experience, enjoy, and explore the site and collections.

“To make sure we get our plans for the future right, we want to include the voices of our visitors in this journey from the beginning so they can be incorporated into our plans.

“We look forward to hearing from anyone who has a suggestion, big or small, on how we should approach this project and what the priorities should be.”

York St Mary’s, Castlegate, will act as a hub for the consultation. It will be open Monday to Friday 11am-3pm throughout July and August for people to take part in activities, have a cup of tea and share their thoughts with members of the team.

Extra events and activities will take place throughout August. These include more unusual events such as object speed dating, where you can sit with a curator and an object and you decide whether it should be included in the new displays.

In a similar event, Exhibition X-Factor, experts from near and far pitch ideas and themes to an audience for them to decide their importance in the museum’s plans.

In collaboration with Digital Labs, visitors will also be able to test the latest technology and discuss how it could create immersive experiences in the museum, just like Dr Kirk did in his original displays which still captivate audiences today.

More details of all the events and activities above will be released shortly. To find out more please visit the York Castle Museum website.

For those who can’t attend, online surveys will be set up and people can comment through the museum’s social media channels using the hashtag #yourcastlemuseum.

In addition to this, and to make sure the Trust speak to a wide range of people from different groups and backgrounds, focus groups will be organised to gather thoughts from current visitors as well as people who have never been to the museum.

York Castle Museum is one of the country’s most popular museums, regularly winning awards and named as the best paid for museum in York by Trip Advisor – but York Museums Trust want to make it better.

Remaining true to the vision of its founder, Dr Kirk, the Trust hope to build on the success of Kirkgate, its world famous recreated Victorian Street, and create a truly immersive and ground breaking visitor experience.

To do this the Trust would like to involve visitors and local residents from the early stages of the planning process. The stories that are told, the objects shown and the way they are interpreted are all open to discussion as well as the museum’s position in interpreting the whole Castle area.

If you would like to get involved please get in touch by:

• Visiting York St Mary’s Monday to Friday 11am – 3pm throughout July and August
• Engaging on Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #yourcastlemuseum
• Emailing your comments to enquiries@ymt.org.uk with the subject line Your Castle Museum
• Visiting the York Castle Museum website to register an interest in one of the forthcoming events