Lifelong learning team training day in York

Lifelong Learning Team Training Day in York

DIG 2018

This training day was set up using grant money from HLF. It was initially to give the learning team an opportunity to;

  • Spend some time together as a team, which asyet had never happened. Some members of the team work with children and schoolswhile others work with adult groups.
  • Understand how other museums and learningcentres operate and engage with different audiences.
  • To spend time with Christine McDonnell ourmuseum mentor.

The day started with a visit to DIG, the archaeological activity centre of York Archaeological Trust (YAT). It was explained how they work with visiting school parties, the virtual offer and different aspects of activities and displays within DIG.

Over coffee, provided by YAT, we had a very useful discussion with Fran Bennett, the learning and interpretation manager at YAT. She explained how they continue to refresh and change the activities offered and continue to work with students and local teachers to raise awareness of what’s on offer. The willingness of the YAT team to help us whenever we need help was greatly appreciated by the group.

Our working lunch with Christine gave each member of the team chance to explain their role in the team and the offers we have worked on over the last 3 years. We also discussed possible ways of working with YAT in the future, particularly on the Romans. We discussed updating the museum’s offer and activities for children through using technology and audio. Setting up community created display and cases and how YAT work with community groups was also very interesting. Some members of the group said they would like to follow this up back at Malton.

After lunch we visited Yorvik, beginning with the display gallery. Then the trip on the train around the Viking “town” and finally the finds display. It was a very interesting and enlightening chance to visit the new Yorvik centre following the update after the floods 18 months ago. It was explained how they had carried out the emergency evacuation of the display and objects and the processes in order to get the museum up and running in as short a time as possible.

The group then left YAT and met together for a feedback session and discussions about the day, over coffee. We wanted to note what we learnt/enjoyed and our thoughts for the future of the group and the museum in general.

For me, the most important outcome was to see this group of 7 very different volunteers, who had never met up as a group before, all working together as a team. The discussions were very much how to secure the future long term for the museum.

Suggestions were such as:

  • Exchanges of ideas and knowledge between the different groups of volunteers
  • Volunteers to meet up in a relaxed setting mornings which could be run once a month on closed days of the museum togive people opportunity to socialise with other volunteers. To be more involvedwill make volunteers feel valued and encourage more volunteers to join.
  • The group realised the vital role played bythe outreach work in the museum world and making people think in a more modern approach to interpretation of history and the past.
  • The importance of the role of the volunteerin the running of the museum needs to be understood by the governing body. There needs to be more opportunities for volunteers to be involved and kept upto date with what is happening. Also to give volunteers chance to air their thoughts and suggestions. To get more involved means we would keep the newerrecruits and the long standing volunteers.
  • There needs to be a sense of ownership of themuseum by the local community. We need to inspire the people of Malton toinvolved in the museum and secure its future.
  • They are happy to help work on the audiences section of Accreditation next year.
  • How can we help to fill the gaps on what wedo at present?

Thoughts from different sections of the team


We could run CPD sessions for teachers, particularly on teaching Prehistory.
Keep up with marketing our resources and new offers to schools.
Make special offers to local schools.
Run events at the museum to show teachers what we can offer and to Launch new products.
Activities within the new exhibition, using audio to give information.


Community cases, objects and info boards within cases. Try to offer more in the exhibition space for people with sight problems.


Views from a Camera

Malton Goes to Market – A Photographic Journey

In 2016 we invited Malton and District Camera Club to join us in our journey through the stories of two towns.  By responding to the theme of Malton Goes To Market, they were asked to explore the local heritage creatively, to capture a snapshot of life in Malton and Norton.



Times of Change

Currently I am reviewing everything we have achieved in the last 3 years. The biggest change for the museum has been its physical space. When I think back to 2015, the museum had very little investment and the volunteers were doing the best they could  with very limited resources. We had awful and inadequate strip lighting, carpets which didn’t fit the rooms and panels of chip board on the walls – what was lurking behind them was a mystery. Besides the inadequate lighting we had no electrical sockets, we had no grab rails, the existing handrails had a gap in the middle!

I thought I would share with you some before and after photos.


exhibition 1exhibition 1 2




exhibition 2exhibition 2 2






entrance 2






Measuring Medieval Malton

Last summer did you notice small groups of people wandering round the middle of Malton clutching measuring tapes and clipboards? They were the ones who could be heard talking about feet and inches, and making the odd mention of “perches”.

They were volunteers on the Museum’s “Measuring Medieval Malton” project, working with Dr Patrick Ottaway who has carried out similar work in York. Over the winter they have been hard at work crunching numbers and studying old maps, finding out what evidence remains for the way that the Borough of New Malton was set out when it was created in the 12th century, and what, if anything, was there before then.

The results of the project will be presented in a new exhibition in the Museum later in the year and a full report on the project is being prepared which you will be able to consult in the Museum’s new Community Resource Area. Watch out for further announcements.

This project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The Burgage Plot teamIMG_0423[1].JPG

Update from our A level student on her prototype

A few months ago, Rosie wrote a blog post for us on her development on her prototype for her A level in Design and Technology. The prototype is now finished so we asked Rosie to share her journey .

The aim for Rosie was to create an prototype for  interactive interpretation station which would be used outside or inside a museum. She needed to work with our style guide and think about who would use the station  and how (both adults and children). This is the first time the museum has worked with an A level student on this type of project so it was really interesting to see how the project has come together, and we have enjoyed having Rosie with us.

Here is her story –

I have come to the end of my personal project into producing a product that will benefit all ages to learn and interact with. It has been a really interesting process that has let me develop my knowledge of working in the industry of designing. The help from Malton Museum has thoroughly aided in my evolution in this project.

I reached out to the Museums Development officer, Claire Sawdon. I initially received a great amount of information surrounding the Roman Fort in Orchard Gardens to support my context and knowledge of the area that can be applied to my ideas when designing the project. We also discussed where I should take my project in terms of what form my product should be in. Claire brought up issues and things to consider that I wouldn’t have thought of. This was thoroughly helpful and developed in what I was designing, which improved the function of my final product.

During this project we have had several meetings discussing all aspects of my project from information of Roman Malton, all the way to showing and discussing images of my final outcome. In one of the meetings we discussed the use of their style guideline. This was a great opportunity to be able to use an institutions style guideline. This allowed me to strengthen the professional influences my product had. This was my first time using a style guideline and at the end of this project it was very rewarding to have the client to approve it as a product that could represent Malton Museum.

Claire also gave me an opportunity to go with the Malton Museum team to a research trip. This was highly interesting and allowed me to gain images to show possible other locations for my product. it also allowed me to take first hand images of interactive ideas that could go on my project. This was on top of the creative ideas that Claire had suggested to me and that were used in my design development. This trip also allowed me to meet and discuss my product with other members of the team, whom were all very interested and supportive of my project.

The support from Malton museum has made it possible for me to produce a product that fits purpose, provides an aesthetic style to it and developed my ideas of producing a product that is different to what is already on the market. Due to Claire the product has become a well thought out design that I’m sure many people would enjoy using and learning from.

I’m currently in the process of planning for Claire to come and see the product first hand. This will be an exciting moment as she will be able to see all aspects of the product up close and be able to test the product out as a client, but also as a member of the public that would use this product. Having Malton Museum as my client has put me in a good position in terms of furthering my interest in this part of the industry. This is because I’m potentially going to university to study design for museums and exhibitions. Therefore, gaining experience in the industry through Malton Museum has been a fantastic opportunity. I am very grateful for the support from Malton Museum and specifically Claire Sawdon, who guided me through the project with her knowledge and experience. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Malton Museum and will maintain contact with them for any future aid they may need.


Madlab Wordpress Training in Manchester

Malton Museum Stores

One of our volunteers Chris in the Malton Museum Stores

So far, so Good

We are having another fun day with Madlab WordPress Training in Manchester.

In fact it is very nearly as exciting as a day volunteering in the Malton Museum Stores (as pictured on the right).

The weather is also perfect, as it is miserable, so what better way to spend the day than completely ignoring it, and staring at a computer screen instead.

My Journey from Malton

The travel from Malton started off very well because I was travelling on a Coastliner Bus and this is always a pleasure.

Much less pleasurable was the travel from York to Manchester using the Transpennine services, only because of the service is well over capacity.

I shall attempt to add more exciting post to this website throughout the day so please visit this blog for potential excitement.




Greetings from Manchester

The first step in my WordPress training so far has been logging into the websites to edit it, and after a few attempts, it appears I have succeeded.

Apparently having a WordPress website, and using the blog are different, and now I know the difference.

I expect that there shall be lots of blog posts for you to look forward to in the near future, so until then I am going to make a few notes on the things I have learned, and then hopefully I can put some of this into practice.



Preserving Malton’s Memories

My name is Hannah and I am a Masters student at the University of York. Over the past few months I have been working with Malton Museum on the ‘Malton Memories’ project, a Heritage Lottery funded oral history project which aims to show Malton and Norton through the eyes of those who know it best; the local community.

Since 2016 when the project was initially set up, volunteers from Malton Museum have been working both with members of the local community and visiting tourists in order to gather fascinating insights into Malton and the surrounding area in times gone by. Volunteers from the museum have also worked with Racing Welfare and Slingsby Local History Group, in order to gather as many varied memories as possible. Through this work, we have managed to gather a bank of oral histories and written testimonies which will be included within the display in the museum.

Taking advantage of the fantastic memories we have gathered, I have been working to create a publication which collate a selection of the memories and forms part of the ‘Malton Memories’ exhibition in the Museum. It has been incredible to be given the chance to work so closely with the museum, having been involved in a variety of activities, including setting up a pop-up exhibition which we held in the library to try and improve the visibility of the project within the local community. This proved to be a brilliant opportunity to engage with a variety of people and was an enjoyable few hours which gave us the chance to hear lots of unique and personal stories. I love working with people, so it has been lovely to chat to locals about their memories; one that will stick with me is that of a gentleman who kindly sat and chatted with us, telling us how he used to be the self-proclaimed ‘cab mascot’ for his dad when delivering animal feed to local farms as a little boy. Local farmers would provide cakes and a cuppa for them on their travels and the evening meal was a chocolate bar and a can of pop!

Not knowing the local area very well beforehand, it has been really rewarding to learn about the history of Malton and Norton, particularly through the form of oral history. I find it is always much more interesting to hear about the local area from those who have experienced the town and its many changes, providing a much more personal perspective on the area. ‘Malton Memories’ has been a brilliant project to be involved with and I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the museum, it has provided invaluable experience for me and I am extremely grateful to all involved. In my future career I would love to be able to work in a role which involves public engagement and the visitor experience, so working on this project with Malton has been a fantastic opportunity and really good fun!

The project is still ongoing, so please do get in touch with the museum if you feel you have any memories you could contribute! There is also a box in Malton library where you can drop off your written memories if you prefer.

The publication I have produced to sit alongside the project is available to view both in the exhibition gallery, and in digital form on the link below:

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!


Malton Museum’s quest to revive long forgotten words

There are some great words in the English language that have fallen into disuse.  Take Gallimaufry for instance.  No, it’s not Dr Who’s home planet – that was Gallifrey – it actually means a jumbled medley of bit and pieces. Isn’t that lovely?    Or how about the so-descriptive word Guttle, meaning to gobble greedily.  Perfect to describe Christmas eating!  Why don’t we use that anymore?

Well, though a new talk, offered by Malton Museum’s Education service, we’re hoping to bring some wonderful old words back to life for our audiences in the local area.  And who knows?  Perhaps the campaign to resurrect forgotten words will spread.

What’s in a name?

That’s the title of the talk. If you’re old enough to remember the panel game Call my bluff you’ll have a good idea how it works.  With the help of a panel of three ‘experts’ – who might be museum volunteers, friends, family or even ‘pressganged’ members of the audience – we offer three definitions of a word, and then invite the audience to choose the correct one.   So, for instance, is a Carucate:

  • a spiced pudding popular in Victorian times
  • a term for a measurement of land found in the Domesday book
  • an item of underwear worn by a vicar on a chilly morning?

Hmmm – what do you think?


We had an entertaining time researching likely old words, and an even better time coming up with misleading, but plausible definitions!  As it’s a museum talk we wanted to focus on words that relate in some way or another to Malton’s history.  And as Malton has such a long and lively past it wasn’t too difficult to find some beauties.  So in the space of an hour long presentation we manage to touch on Malton’s Roman heritage, its monastic links, the brewing industry, medicine in the town, coach travel, market days and local traders, and horseracing – in no chronological order whatsoever.   Our aim is to educate a little and entertain a lot!

The guinea-pig audience

Once we’d put the talk together it needed a maiden outing – and we were so lucky with our very first audience; the Over 50s Forum, all 60 or so of them, who meet at Malton Rugby Club.   We couldn’t have had wished for a better group.  Everyone joined in with great enthusiasm. They showed real ingenuity in wrinkling out the correct definitions for some of the words but, to our secret satisfaction, were hoodwinked and bamboozled by other made-up explanations!   And, it was great at the end to chat with people who had their own stories to tell about some of the topics we had discussed and learn a little more about Malton’s colourful history.

Looking for more groups to Jargogle (to confuse or bewilder)

We already have bookings in 2018 for this talk, and for the other talks offered by the Education Service to adult groups.  But we’d love to introduce lots more people to the wonderful world of archaic wordery. So if you’re involved with any groups of societies who are looking for a speaker, do tell them to get in touch with Margaret Shaw, Volunteer and Learning Manager on 01653 691262 or to make a booking.   Margaret is definitely not an Ultracrepidarian (somebody who gives opinions on subjects they know nothing about) and would love to hear from you.

Christine Pietrowski

Learning from Others – Trip to Skipton

I am Nick and I have been volunteering for the museum for nine months.  I have been mainly involved in the media side of things, but I have also done some front of house.  I have very much enjoyed this and have worked with some very nice and friendly people, who have been very helpful and supportive.  It has also been great to talk to visitors.  It has been fantastic to learn about Malton’s history and gain confidence.  I have felt part of a wonderful team.

I have mainly worked on Malton Museums Oral History Project 2017.  I have thoroughly enjoyed this and although it has been a learning curve, the chance to create an important archive for future generations has been brilliant.  Maurag has been a superb interviewer!

The trip to Skipton was excellent.  The Castle was stunning and the tour guide was very helpful and friendly.  We then had a very nice lunch at the very beautiful Holy Trinity Church, next to the castle.  It was good to mix and chat with colleagues and also with some volunteers from Craven Museum.  A lady who had done oral history recordings for Craven Museum gave a fascinating insight into local characters and stories from farmers.  I also spoke to a lad was studying media and who was about to help Craven Museum with some additional history recordings.  I gave him some hints and advice of what I had learned in Malton and he said that I had been a great help.

After lunch we walked to Craven Museum.  It was quite larger than Malton.  The staff were very welcoming and we had an excellent talk from the senior curator.  The museum was very well set out and had many informative displays.  I thought it captured the spirit of the community.  The Roman times, wars and farming life were very engaging.  There was also a computer, which allowed you to view historic photos.  I was also very impressed with the oral history section.  It was easy to operate for visitors and had a number of professional recordings.

As the sun started to set, we then had a quick walk around town and along the famous canal, before heading back to the bus.  It was a grand day out!

To find out about volunteering – please visit the website


Malton Museum seeks handwritten recipes of Ryedale

Before the memories of festive feasts fade away, Malton Museum is asking for your help in a fascinating new project, with a foody theme, that we are planning as we move into the second year of our ‘Malton Goes to Market’ project which will open in April 2017.

Well-known food historian, Peter Brears, says:

‘Ryedale has a long history of agriculture and for hundreds of years Malton’s market was famous for the sale of items of food, a history that continues today through its wonderful food markets.’

However, memories of the simple everyday things soon get lost, so we plan to collect recipes and stories, from the Ryedale area, connected with producing, cooking and eating, in order to preserve them for future generations. With Peter’s expert help we will then publish selected ones in a recipe book.

Therefore, we are appealing for your help. Do you or your family and friends have, or know of, hand-written or locally published collections of recipes or memories of stories passed down the generations that you would be willing to share with us – to let us look at them, and perhaps to copy and use selected ones?

If so, please email the museum on

or leave us a message on 01653 691262, with your contact details and a brief description of what you can offer. We will contact you and arrange either for you to bring things to the museum or to collect them from you.

This project has been made possible through the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund.