Monday, 4 July 2016

Museums

Today was our day for seeing museums. We managed two of the three.

We first went to see the Undercroft at York Minster, which has a lot of historical artifacts from the cathedral and what was on the site before it, including from Roman times. Unfortunately the entire cathedral was closed except for a couple of worship services later in the day; they were spending three days dismantling the stage and bleachers for the Mystery Play that has been showing for many weeks.

So we explored a bit to find the Yorkshire Museum. On the way we found the Multiangular Tower, the bottom of which is part of the Roman tower on the same site.
The museum itself is mostly about the history of Yorkshire. On the top ("first") floor is a small display of artifacts from the old stone age through the bronze age. The ground floor had a display on extinctions (the five main ones from geological time, plus the current), then got back to the  main theme with Roman artifacts. The basement covered the Anglian period after the Romans, the Viking period, and Normans, up to Henry VIII (who destroyed many of the religious buildings).

There was once, and will be again, a Viking museum, the Jorvik, but it was flooded last December when the Foss River overflowed its banks. It should reopen in 2017, and for now they've moved some of its contents to other venues. One was in a room in the York Theatre Royal that goes back to medieval times, when it was part of St. Leonard's Hospital.
This particular display wasn't exactly Viking; it was about illness, medicine, and death in the middle ages, which seems especially appropriate for the location. The second segment, on Viking life, is in a disused church, St. Mary's Castlegate, very near the closed Jorvik.

This is our last full day in York. We got to do everything on our planning list except the river tour and the undercroft; maybe if/when we visit Britain again we'll stop by York for a couple of days to finish the list and revisit some of our favourite places.

Edit: here is Margaret's blog about the same day.