Pontefract Museum

Pontefract Castle Pontefract Museum Wakefield Museum Castleford Museum Sandal Castle

Castleford museum

Family exploring Pontefract Museum’s display on liquorice

Contact Details:

01977 722740

museums@wakefield.gov.uk

We love our museums and castles and we know you will too.

Keep up to date with all the news, events, activities and exhibitions by following our dedicated social media channels, signing up for our newsletter or reading our Discover the Extraordinary blog.

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Visit Pontefract Museum

Entrance is free

Opening hours – Reopening 24 May 2021

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Monday
​10am – 4.30pm
Tuesday
​10am – 4:30pm
Wednesday
​10am – 4:30pm
Thursday
​10am – 4:30pm
Friday
​10am – 4:30pm
Saturday
​10:30am – 4:30pm
Sunday
​Closed

Facilities and services

  • Café nearby
  • Parking nearby
  • Accessible toilet
  • Step free access
  • Hearing loop
  • Assistance dogs welcome
  • Free family activities and resources
  • Education visits

Covid-19 measures

Good to goCastleford Museum has followed VisitEngland guidelines in order to ensure that it is safe to visit. This includes:

  • Social distancing
  • One way systems
  • Hand gel
  • Face coverings
  • Restricted numbers
  • Additional cleaning of displays and toilet

Visitors do not need to book, but may be asked to wait if the museum is busy. Our quietest visiting times are between 10 and 11am.

Wednesday and Saturday are our busiest days due to it being market day in the town.

On arrival you will need to wear a face covering, unless you are medically exempt.

Under the UK Government's NHS Test and Trace scheme we are also required to ask every visitor over the age of 16 to provide their name and contact details. These will be kept secure for 21 days before being destroyed.

To help keep visitors safe we have removed most of our interactive displays in the museum, and closed the Reference Room and Glass Room. However, the museum displays are still full of wonderful objects that tell the story of this historic town. 

For more information about coming back to Pontefract Museum please watch our short video

Address

Salter Row, Pontefract WF8 1BA  Get directions with Google Maps. Entrance is free

Getting there:

The museum is located a few minutes’ walk from the town centre.

Public Transport:

Pontefract Museum is a 3 minute walk from Pontefract Bus station, 9 minute walk from Pontefract Baghill Rail Station, 12 minute walk from Pontefract Tanshelf Rail Station and 14 minute walk from Pontefract Monkhill Rail Station.  For details about local buses and trains please see Metro

By Car and Coach:

 Get directions with Google Maps

Parking:

The nearest car park can be found at Aire Street car park at WF10 1JL
Alternative parking in Pontefract

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Access

Accessible parking

  • The nearest Blue Badge parking is near the rear of the museum accessed via Stuart Road 

Assistance

  • Staff are on hand to help in any way we can and wear a purple uniform. There is always a member of staff in the museum reception
  • Volunteers are often in the building and are also available to help. They wear a green uniform

Moving around our spaces

  • There are three exhibition areas and a reference room. They are all on a level surface accessed from the main entrance
  • The floor surfaces are polished wood, linoleum or mosaic tile
  • The museum is level access throughout
  • Some of our exhibition spaces have low light levels to protect delicate objects on display
  • Sometimes our exhibitions include audio
  • We can provide chairs if you need to sit down during your visit

Toilets and baby changing

  • The museum has an accessible toilet and baby changing room on the ground floor
  • We do not have changing places facilities. The nearest changing places toilet can be found at Junction 32 Outlet Shopping Village, WF10 4FR, 2.5 miles away

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Things to see and do

Step inside our beautiful art nouveau building and find out more about the rich history of Pontefract. From liquorice to glass making, we have lots to show you.

Highlights

Ackworth Hoard

The Ackworth Hoard was found buried in a garden in Wakefield, inside a pot made locally in Wrenthorpe. 

Coins and a gold ring from the Ackworth Hoard on display at Pontefract Museum

This 200 year old hoard is the only one found in the Wakefield District. It’s made up of almost 600 gold and silver coins and one gold ring and can be linked to Royalist troops during the English Civil Wars.

Ballot Box

Britain’s first secret ballot was held in Pontefract in 1872 and we have the first ballot box on display in Pontefract Museum. 

A comic about the first ballot has been created thanks to a collaboration between Wakefield Council and artist Jade Sarson.

Potwallopers tells the story of the town’s historic role in UK democracy. For the first time voters in a Parliamentary by-election were able to make their choice in private using an ‘X’ on a ballot paper. 

The Comic has been funded by the Speaker’s Art Fund, a charitable trust which aims to spread knowledge about the UK’s system of Government.

Download the comic (60mb)

Potwallopers Comic

Special Exhibition:  Bracing Air, Abundant Amusements: The Travel Posters of Charles Pears

24 May 2021 – 25 February 2022

Image from the London Transport Museum collection showing a travel poster for Southend-on-Sea with three ladies in bathing costu
© TfL from the London Transport Museum collection

Admire vibrant travel posters from Pontefract artist Charles Pears. Featuring bustling beaches, bathing belles and bold art deco design. 

The exhibition will transport you back in time to the heyday of rail tourism and the British Seaside holiday, with posters and artworks filled with sun, sea and sand. 

With special family friendly object labels and activity bags for you to take home, it’s perfect for those craving a fun family day out.

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What's On

We have a regular programme of exhibitions, as well as online, drop in and bookable activities across all our museum and castle sites throughout the year. Please see ourDiscover the Extraordinary blog for all the latest news

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Learning

We can help you bring excitement to learning!

For more information about our learning programmes, flexible workshop sessions, loans boxes and free downloadable teaching resources please see our Museums Blog Pages or select the link below

Schools Learning Programmes

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Collections

Objects from the Wakefield Museums and Castles' collection

Since 1923, Wakefield Museums and Castles has collected over 110,000 fascinating objects that help to tell the story of the Wakefield District from the distant past to the present day.

Visit our Discover the Extraordinary blog to see more from our collections and explore resources created for you to enjoy at home or at school.

To donate an item to our collection or explore some of our online collections please click below

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Get involved

  • Volunteer with Wakefield Museums and Castles
  • Support Us

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About Us

Press and Media Enquiries

All Press and Media enquiries for Wakefield Museum should be made to the Press Office at pressoffice@wakefield.gov.uk