We are a charitable trust (No. 517546) and fully Accredited Museum (RD 1339). 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.
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.
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 the visitors. It is a challenging task!
Some Major Achievements
- Partner with national museums, e.g. joint purchase of Parry painting with National Portrait Gallery and National Museums & Galleries of Wales, and with National Maritime Museum and three others in ‘Travellers Tails’ display of Stubbs’ painting of kangaroo
- First display of Sir Joseph Banks historic collection given to Christ Church, Oxford, in collaboration with Pitt-Rivers Museum
- Brought back to this country original Cook voyage drawings by John Webber which had been sold abroad in 1932
- Winner of Yorkshire White Rose Award 2005 and 2012, and Winner of national VisitEngland Gold Award 2013
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.
Dr. Sophie Forgan, Chairman
The Marquis of Normanby, Vice-Chairman
Paul Thomas, MBE, Treasurer
Richard Kornicki, CBE
Dr. Nigel Rigby
Barbara Woroncow, OBE
The Chairman of Whitby Literary & Philosophical Society, ex officio
The rear courtyard overlooking the harbour, during the visit of the First Sea Lord, June 2012
Around 60 Volunteers enable us to function. Volunteers currently fulfil a 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 different contributions.
Chairman of Management Committee – Peter Brown
Operations Manager - Maria Aparicio