Pontefract Museum


Important Information

Museum closed for redevelopment

Pontefract museum is closed for redevelopment work from Saturday 23 December 2017 and will re-open in Spring 2018. Visit Wakefield Museums blog or follow @WFMuseums for news and updates.

​​ 5 Salter Row
WF8 1BA​
01977 722740



Something wonderful is about to happen at Pontefract Museum

Pontefract Museum is about to receive over £50K of investment to redevelop some of the displays. Since 2015 Pontefract Museum has undergone a programme of gallery development worth a total of £119,700. 

The new displays will tell the story of Pontefract from the Georgian period up to the present day.  The ballot box used in the first secret ballot to elect an MP in 1872 will take a prominent position, with a new comic book style interpretation. More display space will be created alongside interactive and family friendly elements.

This project is supported using public funding by Arts Council England


Free entry

Located in the town centre, Pontefract Museum offers a warm and friendly welcome. Here you can discover the history of Pontefract told with fascinating objects housed in a beautiful art nouveau building. Built in 1904 as the town's original library, the building still contains many of its original fittings. There are intricate door handles and matching chairs, and beautiful tiles that decorate the entrance and staircase.

Highlights to explore

The Pontefract Gallery tells the story of Pontefract and its people, revealing the area's outstanding history and bringing to life an exciting and often surprising past. Charting the history of Pontefract and the people that have lived, worked and played here, this exhibition boasts the world's first secret ballot box and a unique display of objects related to Liquorice.

The Ackworth Hoard was found recently buried in a garden in Ackworth inside a pot made locally in Wrenthorpe. The hoard is made up of 52 gold and 539 silver coins and a single gold ring, and some of these treasures are on display here. Dating from the Civil War, it is the only hoard known from the Wakefield District and has a distinct Royalist association.

The Bagley's Glass Room tells the remarkable story of the area's rich and important glass industry. The exhibition explores the history of glass-making in the area from Roman times to the present day, with many items from the museum's large collection of Bagley's Glass on display.

The Special Exhibition Gallery showcases a varied programme of displays inspired by the museum's collections along with loans from other people and places, and is a space to share our work with local groups.

The Reference Room can be visited in order to explore Pontefract's fascinating history. Our excellent collection of reference material includes books, articles, photographs and maps.

More information

See Pontefract Museum for information about exhibitions and events that are on now or coming up. Our Exhibitions and Events Leaflet contains details of events in all the District's museums, and our Wakefield Museums & Libraries Blog has all the latest news.

See our special Museum collections and find details of our Learning and activities at museums and castles.

Contact us

Museums and Libraries

Wakefield Council
Wakefield One
PO Box 700
Burton Street

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01924 302 104