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About Us

Founded in 1985, the Museum opened in 1987 in the historic building in the heart of Whitby where the young Cook served his apprenticeship. In 2001-02 the site expanded to take in the harbourside courtyard and cottage wing. In 2016 we acquired a room in the adjoining building to use as an Education Centre.

The collections continue to grow through purchases, donations and loans from other museums. We now have a very significant collection of original material relating to Cook and his associates. We have benefitted from collaboration over the past three decades with the National Museum of Ireland, Dublin, comprising loans of ethnographic material not previously seen in Britain.

Entirely independent, the Museum is self-financing through income from admission tickets, retail sales and occasional project grants. A dedicated team of unpaid volunteers, Trustees and Management team support a very small staff in caring for the house, the collections and welcoming our visitors.

Who we are

Day to day management is devolved to the locally based Management Committee. Close contact is maintained with the Trustees, who are hands-on and contribute directly in many ways.

We have many wonderful Volunteers! Some 60 people undertake a great variety of roles including guiding and welcoming visitors, room attendance, working with the education team, gardening, library and indexing, and helping with special activities. We are enormously grateful for their many different contributions.

Operations Manager -

Collections Outreach Officer -

Awards and Achievements

We have much to be proud about - here are just a few: Partnerships with national museums, including joint purchase of Parry painting with National Portrait Gallery and National Museums & Galleries of Wales; chosen by National Maritime Museum to display Stubbs’ painting of a kangaroo with four other museums in ‘Travellers Tails’ project.

We brought back to this country original Cook voyage drawings of Kamchatka by John Webber which had been sold abroad in 1932.

We won the Yorkshire White Rose Award 2005, 2012, and were Winner of national VisitEngland Gold Award 2013. The Judges’ Overall Summary read: ‘A unique and delightful experience when visiting this little ‘gem’.

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