Many of those who benefit from the varied and important exhibits at Malton Museum are very likely never to have stepped over its Yorkersgate threshold.

Volunteers at the museum have created an ‘outreach’ service, which means many children get to delve into their community’s history from their classroom, including a half-day workshop called Our Roman Legacy. A package of different talks also available for adult audiences.

They encourage children to have a hands-on experience of the Malton and Norton area’s distant past, quite literally, through artefacts in a series of boxes made up to be loaned to schools, covering the highly important Roman era, as well-as pre-history and the more recent Georgian and Victorian societies.

Volunteers also deliver a range of talks and activities aimed at adult audiences in the community.

That work is important, not only for firing interest in local history but also because it is acknowledged that the current Yorkersgate premises are not in a good location for encouraging footfall, with the entrance off a road with heavy traffic.

Malton Museum has been based there for the last decade, after a period without premises, but trustees have an ambition to move to a location more attractive to visitors, where it could become an further attraction for those tempted by the town’s lure as ‘Yorkshire’s food capital’.

That remains an ambition for the future, but in the meantime the dozens of volunteers who run the museum have been fine-tuning their work of taking it into the heart of the community.

Their talks cover varied aspects of the collection and guided tours are also organised, covering the Roman fort site and Georgian aspects of the town.

In the museum itself, visitors can see a new exhibition, What Lies Beneath, with items recovered prior to building work on a new school, on the site of what was a Roman rubbish dump, offering rich archaeological pickings.

Malton Museum’s history dates back to the mid-20 century, when some residents realised the importance of keeping artefacts found in archaeological excavations of Roman sites together. That collection, along with other exhibits, which help to illustrate the social history of Malton and Norton, have recently been re-catalogued.

Trustee Margaret Shaw said that work had confirmed the museum held “a significant social history” of the district.

“We have a group of very, very supportive volunteers and we are up to about 40,” she said. “Everyone is so dedicated and everyone wants the place to succeed.”

A new chairman and trustees have recently been appointed, a development expected to give the museum added impetus towards extending visitor numbers.

One of the museum’s educational options is an innovative ‘museum in a box’ learning aid, which effectively allows teachers to set up a museum in school, operated by pupils.

That level of community involvement should help to guarantee a healthy level of support from Malton and Norton’s next generation.

Find out more about the museum and its outreach work.