Creating the Community Resource Area:Books which caught our eye!

Hello, my name is Janet and I have been asked to write a post about the what I have been working on whilst the museum is closed for winter.

Pam (another volunteer)  and I have been cataloguing and categorising the Museum’s collection of books, and a little library is gradually being created, shelved in two cupboards in the kitchen. It is hoped that everyone will find it interesting and useful for any one wanting to conduct any research. To date, we are still cataloguing the books but the shelves are starting to fill up!

The library contains a wealth of information on many subjects, and one book which caught my fancy is “Women in Roman Britain” by Lindsay Allason-Jones, not least  because of the many wonderful illustrations throughout the text.

The women in question include numerous nationalities (from native Celts to visiting Syrians, Italians.. in Britain for whatever reason) and all classes (from unknown slaves to Julia Domna wife of Emperor Septimius Severus), and the scope of the book covers contraception, birth, death, army wives, camp followers, clothing and fashion, the “new towns”, food and homes, trade with the empire, religions…. and how women passed their days, their duties and pleasures and in some cases their powers and authority. All over a very long period.

The author uses information from all over the Empire to try and give a picture of what life might have been like for women in this most northerly of outposts and how it might have changed during the occupation, the influence of for example the Roman women on the native population. One illustration is of a tombstone at Ostia depicting a woman on a birthing stool assisted by two midwives;  another tombstone shows a lady from Carlisle sitting fanning herself whilst lovingly watching her child playing with a bird. And the hairstyles of these wealthy women look fantastic, to say nothing of the beautiful pins created to keep their hair in place. Did the more affluent locals copy these styles? The illustrations alone conjure up many a question.

Another publication, this time a short pamphlet by Patrick Ottaway entitled “Romans of the Yorkshire Coast” might be interesting to anyone planning a trip to the coast. Ottaway concentrates on the five recorded signal stations, defences built towards the end of the imperial Roman era on the Yorkshire coastal headlands between Huntcliff (Saltburn) in the north and Filey in the south, the three intermediary stations being Ravenscar Goldsborough and Scarborough.

By this later period forts had been built to defend the south east coast from Germanic raiders and there was the defence of Hadrian’s wall and a fort at the mouth of the Tyne. However raids from the Picts and other northerners highlighted the need to fortify the Yorkshire coast and enable warning signals to be sent from station to station and as far as possible to the inland forts (notably Malton).

After a general introductory background to the times, topography, settlements, communications systems, Ottaway describes the individual excavations at the 5 sites, beginning with the discovery of Ravenscar in 1774. Erosion has taken its toll; there may have been other stations now lost, but considerable earthworks and artefacts have been found at all sites.

From the earthworks Ottaway is able to sketch a conjectural likeness of the Filey signal station, but he does concede that it is difficult to determine exactly the form of the stations. From the coins found he is able to work out that the forts were probably built in the reign of Magnus Maximus (383 – 8) and are thus amongst the latest fortifications erected in Roman Britain.

A handy leaflet to carry on your travels.

The research area will be a bookable space for anyone wanting to research. More photos will follow.


Capturing stories – Oral History Project

Hi, I am a volunteer at Malton Museum. I have been volunteering for three years and just this year have been involved with a great project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.  I have been meeting and recording the oral histories of local residents.  All have fascinating tales to tell of growing up in the Malton area and the changes they have seen in their lifetimes.  From the jockeys I met from the Racing Welfare, one who was with his trainer at the Doncaster sales – the trainer looked at a little horse – said to the jockey” it’s too small ever to make anything” and walked away. The name of the horse – Red Rum!!

Other stories include how Coca Cola came to Ryedale during WW2 and how the warehouse first used by Woollons and Harwood was the former local prison. Situated in Finkle Street but demolished many years ago! It was a great privilege to listen to the interesting stories of bygone days and to record them for Malton Museum archives

You can hear a selection of these stories in the exhibition when we reopen on the 31st March.












Student project: Creating a prototype for an interpretation pod

Hello, my name is Rosie and I am currently in my final year of sixth form in Malton School, within my subject Product Design.  I am planning to design and make a product (final prototype version) that will be suitable for the outdoor Roman fort site that is located in Orchard Fields. It will also be beneficial for the variety of people whom intend to interact with this product for learning about the fort. The design will be accessible for mixed generations and disability friendly. I intend to make a single product that will contain technological elements to illustrate the historical value of the Roman fort in an intriguing and modern approach but also use traditional and fun activities as well. This product should also have the ability to be transferable to other museums. Thus, I will use multiple mediums to stimulate the imagination and enhance the historical importance.

As this is a rather monumental challenge I have put upon myself, I have searched for guidance from people and groups that are knowledgeable about the local history of Malton and specifically the location of what was the Roman Fort. Therefore, I reached out to Malton Museum, whom have from the start been extremely supportive, especially the Museum development officer, Claire Sawdon. The ability to have feedback and support from a creditable source has helped form my product into a well-researched and viable development. I have had multiple meetings with Ms. Sawdon, that have made progressive steps within my ideas for the product and using the Malton Museum style guideline and applying it onto my ideas has enabled me to gain access into a more professional outlook of my project. The annual volunteer development trip that was to Skipton Castle and the Craven Museum this time, was a fantastic experience that I was invited to by Claire Sawdon, to help me with my ideas for my project and to also visit other local museums, where my product could be located. The knowledge I have gained from the input of the people whom work within Malton Museum has made it possible to create quality ideas that are conscious of all aspects when producing a product that will be open to the public, that I may not have thought of without the feedback!

The project is ongoing, and I have obtained these connections with Malton Museum, they have given me a vast amount of helpful input throughout the project which will hopefully continue right through to the end, all the way to producing my final product!