York Castle Museum is built on the site of York Castle which was built by William the Conqueror in 1068. The museum was founded by John L. Kirk, an amateur archaeologist, in 1938 and housed in the prison buildings built on the site of York Castle in the 1700s.
I really enjoyed the museum with many interesting displays spanning over two buildings. One of my favourite areas would have to be the recreated Victorian street, Kirkgate (named after the museum’s founder) which has recreated the shop fronts of real York businesses from 1870 to 1901, also including a schoolroom and a police cell. It was quite darkly lit so getting decent photos in this area was quite difficult.
One of the highlights though has to be a visit to York Castle Prison, the original cells of the 18th century prison buildings which now house the museum. Dark and gloomy they are lit by video projections on the walls of some of those who had been incarcerated there, and the outdoor space which housed the gallows. Interestingly the 18th century courthouse is now York Crown Court which still operates as a court of law.
A really interesting place and well worth spending an afternoon, you can find more photos here.