The Castle museum itself was founded by Dr John L Kirk in 1938.He often took payment in chattels and goods instead of money from many hard-up patients in and around the North Yorkshire(then West Riding?) areas, and basically hoarded all these items until the foundation of the museum where they were presented as a historical account of Yorkshire life.
The museum is housed in the old prison buildings which were built on the site of the castle in the 18th century, the Debtors Prison (built in 1701-05 using stone from the ruins of the castle) and the Female Prison (built 1780-1785).
It is adjacent to another historic site that of Cliffords Tower a stone fortified tower rebuilt in the 13th century atop the original Motte of a Norman Motte and Bailey Castle one of the two built by the Normans to con trol river traffic along the river Ouse in and out of the city...
Inside the museum you will find artifacts from various periods of York and Yorkshire life, Kirkgate - a recreated Victorian Street, named after the museum's founder. This was redeveloped and expanded in 2012
A section entitled'Toy Stories' - A history of children's toys
Recreated period rooms including a Victorian parlour and a 17th-century dining room.
The Cells - A display about life in the prison has been opened in the cells of the old Debtors Prison. The former Condemned Cell, possibly once occupied by Dick Turpin, can also be visited.
Also in the adjoining grounds is Raindale Mill is a reconstructed early 19th century flour mill which was moved from the North York Moors to the grounds of York Castle Museum in the 1960s.