The Yorkshire Museum is one of a very small number of museums in the UK that has a working observatory. The York Observatory, built in 1831 with a telescope made in 1850 by the celebrated York telescope maker Thomas Cooke, is a prominent feature of the Museum
Our volunteers open the observatory for visitors, explaining the history of the building and the collections it houses. We demonstrate how the historic telescope operates. There are opportunities to learn how to do night time observing sessions and run evening sessions for visitors and specialist groups during the autumn and winter months, but this is optional and is not the core part of the role.
The aim of the project is to increase awareness of astronomy in York and the role York has played in the history of that science. It offers a unique experience for willing volunteers to work in a stunning Victorian observatory and interact with members of the public.
No specific astronomical skills or knowledge are required, but a keen interest in astronomy and/or history is essential as volunteers are asked to learn about the history of astronomy in York and impart this knowledge to visitors in an interesting and enthusiastic manner.
The observatory runs on a rota basis. We currently open from 11:30am - 2:30pm every Thursday and every Saturday throughout the year and we try to open on extra days whenever we can. The minimum time commitment is one Saturday or weekday session every 2 or 3 weeks, though obviously volunteers can do much more if they want to.
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Good Match For
Requirements & Commitment
- Must be at least 18
- At least one 3 hour session per month