Whitby Museum

Whitby Museum 

During your stay in Whitby why not visit the towns museum, which is located in the beautiful grounds of Pannett Park.
There is a huge collection of artifacts and memorabilia that is sure to interest all the family, young and old.

The towns Museum is run by the Whitby Literary & Philosophical Society, it has many major collections including archaeology, social history, ceramics, Captain James Cook, fossils, paintings, photographs, militaria and toys & dolls.

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Pannett Art Gallery

Set in Pannett Park, joined with Whitby Museum, this Art Gallery was presented to the towsfolk of Whitby as a gift from Alderman Pannett. It has two permanent collections and changing exhibitions. Admission is free.

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The Staithes Group Room has a permanent exhibition of work by early 20th century impressionist painters, together with arts and crafts, tapestries and fine pieces of furniture by local cabinetmakers.

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The Weatherill Room displays works by George Weatherill and his three talented children.

There are lots of interesting items relating to the history of Whitby including the Myths and Legends of the town and the surrounding areas, The Hand of Glory is one of these. 

The mummified severed human hand was found on the wall of a thatched cottage in Castleton. It was discovered by a stonemason and local Historian Whitby Museum was discovered in the early twentieth century hidden on the wall of a thatched cottage in Castleton by a stonemason and local historian, Joseph Ford in the early twentieth Century. he instantly recognised it from popular stories of such objects as a "Hand of Glory".
It was given to Whitby Museum in 1935 and is the only alleged Hand known to survive.

The Hand of Glory  

Hand of Glory

A Hand of Glory was supposedly the carefully prepared and "pickled" right hand of a felon, cut off while the body still hung from the gallows and used by burglars to send sleepers in a house into a coma from which they were unable to wake. In one version the clenched hand is used as a candleholder for a candle incorporating human fat, but in another (consistent with the Whitby hand) the outstretched hand has its own fingers lit. In this case should one of the fingers refuse to light it is a sign that someone in the household remains awake. In either case the light cannot be extinguished by water or pinching but only by blood or "blue" (skimmed) milk - the usual method in the tales.
Stories of the use of such hands became common across Europe, from Finland to Italy and Western Ireland to Russia in the last four hundred years. At least two were current in North Yorkshire, one relating to the Spital Inn on Stainmore in 1797 and the other to the Oak Tree Inn, Leeming, supposedly in 1824. The following shorter, but typical, version comes from Northumberland.


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