While exhibits vary, they are mainly made up of exhibits from Leeds' history. The central hall has a large map of Leeds printed on the floor. There is also a scale model of the Quarry Hill flats. The exhibits are organised among several galleries. The Leeds Tiger - so beloved of the Leeds populace that when the curators wanted to throw it away, the Yorkshire Post newspaper held a campaign to retain it - has a strange history. It was a tigerskin rug when presented to the Museum in the 19th century. Museum records give the impression that the tiger had been shot for spending too much time near a village in India. The pelt was then combined with one or more other tigerskins, and instead of being mounted properly it was stuffed with straw. For over a century it has sagged somewhat, as can be seen in the photograph above. Meanwhile, the story of a tiger shot for its mere presence at the edge of a village became a legend of the killer of one man, then of two people, then the serial killer of forty. However the pelt may now be dangerous after all, in a sense, as the Victorians may have preserved it with arsenical soap. Museum staff have considered remounting it properly to improve its appearance, but it was felt that that would destroy its character and historical identity as a Victorian artefact and as the centrepiece of the museum in the eyes of the citizens
In the Ancient Worlds gallery are archaeological items from home and abroad including: Roman floor mosaic ca 250 CE. This was discovered at Aldborough (Yorkshire), known to the Romans as Isurium Brigantum. Hellenistic Greek tomb doors ca 250 BCE. These are carved in marble, in bas relief. The Leeds Mummy. In the 1941 bombing raids, two other mummies were destroyed, but Nesyamun's 3000-year-old mummy survived. It is displayed in the current museum building, alongside a rather striking reconstruction of his face. Iron replica of Hellenistic Greek head of Aphrodite. This is a cast replica of the original 1st century BCE head in the British Museum. The original was discovered in 1872 at Satala (now Sadak) in north-eastern Turkey. The eyes were once inlaid with precious stones or paste. Apparently the top of the head was not designed to be empty, like a piece of modern art. It seems that the farmer found it when he hit the top of the head with his axe and damaged it. The World View gallery has various exhibitions which showcase different cultures in turn. The Leeds Story gallery tells the history of Leeds from prehistory to the modern day. Various collections are exhibited in rotation at Collectors Corner.
The entire museum is accessible. Some things to note are that: Seating is available around the museum, in every gallery and in the café. Light levels may be low in certain galleries. This is to protect and conserve the objects in those areas. Large print exhibition guides are available in most galleries. There are a number of tactile, audio, visual and interactive exhibits and spaces throughout the museum. There is a lift to each floor that has capacity for up to two wheelchairs on any one journey. There are accessible toilets on every floor in the Museum. Copies of the site map are available at the Museum entrance. Facilities in the accessible toilets include emergency alarms and fire alarms with flashing lights. These toilets are not RADAR key operated. There are two wheelchairs available to borrow on your visit. Guide and assistance dogs are welcome and dog bowls are available on request. Induction loops are in place in the shop and conference rooms. Touch tours can be arranged with two weeks’ notice (dependent on staffing) for individuals and small groups. To get online, just turn on your Wi-Fi service and select Leeds Free Wi-Fi.
Location : Millennium Square, Leeds LS2 8BH
Transport: Leeds (National Rail) 10 minutes. Bus Routes : 6 Skyline, 1, 5, 28, 29, 56, 69, 97, X7 and X84 stop closeby.
Opening Times : Tuesday to Friday 10:00 to 17:00; Weekends + Bank Holidays 11:00 to 17:00
Tickets : Free.
Tel: 0113 224 3732