2023 commemorates the centenary of the Wakefield Museums & Castles collection. For the past century, the museum’s service has diligently gathered artefacts and recounted tales.

Throughout 2023-2024, the Museums & Castles team will be honouring this significant occasion with an array of digital content, exhibitions, and events, culminating in a special Curator Talk in October.

In 1923, the inaugural civic museum and art gallery of Wakefield welcomed its first visitors at Holmfield House in Thornes Park. Patrons were treated to exhibitions featuring archaeology, Egyptology, natural history, social history, and art.

Today, Wakefield Museums & Castles are stewards of more than 112,000 objects chronicling the narrative of the district from ancient times to the present. The collections span archaeology and social history. The team orchestrates exhibitions and showcases at Castleford, Pontefract, and Wakefield Museums, along with the Pontefract Castle Visitor Centre and museum hubs scattered across the district.

On the 11th of October, Wakefield Museum will host a complimentary Curator Talk, titled “100 Years of Wakefield Museums & Castles,” offering a retrospective on a century of acquisition, exhibitions, and narratives.

Councillor Michelle Collins, Cabinet Member for, Culture, Leisure and Sport, said, “The centenary of the Wakefield Museums & Castles collection is an important milestone. It’s the perfect time to celebrate our district’s proud history. This free talk promises to be a fascinating look back at the development of our museum service and its treasure trove of objects. I hope lots of people will join the museum in marking this important anniversary and enjoy the celebrations throughout the year.”

The talk will delve into a century of acquisition, exhibitions, and narratives, marking the centenary of the ceremonial inauguration of the Holmfield House Museum.

On the 10th of October 1923, the Mayor, Councillor Harold H. Holdsworth, formally inaugurated the new museum. In his address, he expressed the hope that the museum would instil civic pride in the city’s enduring history. Attendees were served tea in the refreshments room and treated to performances by an instrumental quartet.

Attendees of the talk will have the opportunity to spot numerous objects from the “100 Years of Collecting” exhibit in the museum galleries. Keep an eye out for the distinctive WM&C100 labels and scan the QR codes for additional information.