Get to meet Jeffrey! The museum opened in 1982. It was originally designed to house a growing collection of farm machinery that had been donated by various farms from North and East Yorkshire to the East Yorkshire Farm Machinery Preservation Society and stored at Burton Constable. The core of the collection focuses on the development of the mechanisation of farming during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. A wide variety of items are on display, divided between two main exhibition galleries, the Four Seasons Gallery and the Livestock Gallery. A number of rare breeds of livestock are kept on site, including a Togenburg goat 'Jeffrey'. The Four Seasons Gallery looks at the farming year, and the different practices and tools which are used across the four seasons. In 2013 a new exhibition opened; 'Feeding the Nation: A Celebration of the Women's Land Army' on the upper floor of the Four Seasons Building. The exhibition showcases some of the museum's rich Land Army collection and includes audio points featuring interviews with ex-members and film footage. The Livestock building considers the rearing and farming of a variety of types of livestock. This also includes a display of the contents of the James Herriot's (Alf Wight) veterinary surgery. The museum is also home to a large manuscript archive which can be viewed on appointment. Subjects covered in the archive include: manorial documents, agricultural machinery manufacturers' accounts, the Women's Land Army, the Derwent Valley Light Railway, the Cleveland Bay Horse Society, and a huge array of miscellaneous accounts, correspondence, certificates, photographs, maps and prints. There is also a sizeable library on-site which contains numerous historic journals, manuals, text books, and magazines.
During 2007-2008, a project which involved interviewing a number of different farming families was completed. This provides an audiovisual display of different types of farms from around Yorkshire, including Dairy, Sheep, Pigs and Arable crops, both organic and those using Agrochemicals, an artificial inseminater and some subsistence farms. A new audiovisual room was built as part of the project. The museum lies on the trackbed of the Derwent Valley Light Railway - a privately owned standard-gauge railway which ran from Layerthorpe on the outskirts of York to Cliffe Common near Selby. This closed in 1981, but a small section has been restored as part of the museum. It opened in 1993, and incorporates a station building formerly located at Wheldrake. There is approximately 0.75 miles (1.21 km) of track running along the original trackbed towards York. Merton Park is also home to the Danelaw Centre for Living History (Stone age village, Roman Fort, Viking village and Tudor farm house).
Access to the library (open by appointment) is via stairs only. The bulk of the museum collection is housed in two main gallery buildings. The Four Seasons building has stair and wheelchair lift access to the upper mezzanine housing the WLA exhibition and photographic gallery. The Livestock Gallery has ramp access and is on a single level. Toilets are located in the reception building and a toilet block is also open towards the back of the site. Both of these facilities have a disabled cubicle. Baby changing facilities are available in the reception building. Hand washing facilities are available at various points around the site. The education areas of the Danelaw Centre for Living History (Stone age village, Roman Fort, Viking village and Tudor farm house) are not open to the general public when school groups are in residence. The nature of some of the outdoor areas and the surfaces of the trackways may present difficulties for those requiring certain kinds of mobility aid or wheelchair. A number of the main tracks have loose gravel surfaces and some surfaces in the Viking village can be slippery in wet weather.
Location : Murton, York YO19 5UF
Transport: York (National Rail) then bus. Bus routes : The 747 (Pocklington) East Yorkshire bus service runs from York railway station to Murton village. The No. 10 First York bus service also runs from York railway station to Grimston Court.
Opening Times : Daily 10:00 to 16:30 Easter through October.
Tickets : Adults £6.50; Concessions £5.50; Children £4.50.
Tel: 01904 489966