Currently our artefacts are in store but our documentary and photographic archive on the collections is open for research.

The unique character of this Museum is represented by several significant collections accumulated over a period of fifty years:

The Eric Cowling Collection
Hundreds of prehistoric stone tools and artefacts mainly from the Middle Wharfe Valley collected by Eric over many years. He was a founder of the Museum in 1961, and was awarded an Honorary Citizenship of Otley for this work.

The Archbishop's Manor House Collection
An archaeological collection from the 1970s' excavations of the medieval Palace of the Archbishop of York at Otley.

The Otley Printers' Engineers Collection
Industrial artefacts and archives recording the history and development of the town's Victorian machine makers and centred on the invention of the Wharfedale Printing Machine.

The Urban Development Archive
Building Records, plans and maps showing the development and planning of the town during the 19th and 20th centuries.

The Otley Story
Objects, documents, photographs, locally printed material and personal records give a detailed social history of the town from the 18th century onwards.


Two of our volunteers specialise in family history and are available
 for personal and postal advice.


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