Whitby Museum, Library & Archive – Whitby, England - Atlas Obscura

Whitby Museum, Library & Archive

The curious and tiny collection contains some very odd objects. 


The bustling seaside town of Whitby in North Yorkshire is best known as the backdrop of Bram Stoker’s Dracula and its carved jet jewellery. However, away from the crowds is a hidden gem: the Museum, Library and Archive.

Reverend George Young and a group of leading Whitby residents founded the Whitby Literary and Philosophical Society in 1823 with the principal mission to open a museum showcasing the fossils of the area. Since then the Society built a larger building in 1931, donated it to the town council, and acquired objects of a much broader and stranger nature then just fossils

The expanded museum contains a wide range of specimens including rather creepy antique toys and dolls, gold coins, some amazing taxidermy such as a stuffed stoat, to shipping and fishing lore. However the highlights of the collection are the “miscellaneous” bizarre items, such as a Glory Hand, supposedly cut off of a hung criminal and embalmed, the cabinets of curiosity known as the Ripley Cabinets, a collection of ships in bottles, and a model of the Tempest Prognosticator, a weather forecasting device employing leeches.

The Society also boasts a large library and archive containing numerous antiquarian volumes as well as many on local topography and history, for research as well as hosts monthly lectures for the community on a range of studious topics.

Above the town the picturesquely gloomy ruins of Whitby Abbey were Mina Harker’s favorite spot in town in the Dracula story.

From Around the Web