We are proud to be a vital part of the York community. We are responsible for 16 buildings, 20 properties including the 17-acre Steedman Woods, 5 full-time and 25 part-time employees, over 20,000 artifacts, over 50,000 archival materials in our library and thousands of people served year-round through tours, educational programs, and special events.
The Museums of Old York, formerly Old York Historical Society, is the product of a merger of three historical organizations founded in York with histories dating back more than one hundred years.
Our exhibits, historical buildings, nature paths and wonderful waterfront views are awaiting you.
We serve the community throughout the year. Our Tavern Dinners are very popular. Be sure to come warm up during our Winter Soup series with interesting speakers and hearth cooked soups!
The Best of York
Treasures from the Old York Historical Society Collection
The Bulman Bed Hangings are back!
Worked in wool on hand-woven linen by Mary Swett Bulman (1715-1792) of York in the 1730s, these extraordinary textiles are considered to be among the finest art works created in 18th century Maine.
In 2014 Old York embarked on an ambitious project to ensure their long-term preservation, and to rediscover their story. As part of the initial phase of the project, the textiles were professionally conserved for the first time in their 300-year history. Conservation is complete and the bed hangings have returned home to York and will be on display for the first time since 2012.
The Best of York Exhibit brings to Old York’s Remick Gallery the finest 18th century and maritime objects in the permanent collection. Many of these objects have previously been in storage, or were part of period room settings in historic buildings. Together, they tell the story of one of New England’s oldest communities, development from a frontier outpost in the 17th century, to a community of sophisticated tastes and world views.
Recent research has revealed hidden gems, including:
- A document box from the 1500s that descended in the Sewall family of Coventry, England.
- Chairs made by generations of the Donnell family who arrived in York in the 1630s.
- Never-before-seen ca. 1715 portraits of Pemaquid proprietor Habijah Savage and his wife Hannah.
- Queen Anne style furniture made by the John Bradbury cabinetmaking shop starting in the 1730s.
- An exquisitely detailed, ca. 1853 painting of the ship Empress of the Seas by James E. Buttersworth.
Over seventy artifacts complete the exhibit, most made or used between 1690 and 1850 in Southern Maine and the Piscataqua Region of New Hampshire. These regionally-made objects are of such high quality, that examples similar to those in Old York’s collection may be seen in museums ranging from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts; Old Sturbridge Village, Sturbridge, Massachusetts; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City; Winterthur Museum, Wilmington, Delaware; and the Bayou Bend/Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas. A visit to Old York brings Colonial American high culture to Northern New England’s backyard.