The Mysterious Millennium Museum

The short-lived Millenium Museum, described as a ‘time travel experience’, was located near the South Bay harbour in Scarborough. The attraction opened in May 1993, but closed less than ten years later due to extensive financial losses.

viking3

Above: Millennium merchandise  (source)

Local businessman Henry Marshall was the creator of Millennium. Having started out in the fairground trade, he built up an impressive collection of attractions, both in Scarborough and elsewhere.

Amusements

Above: One of Henry Marshall’s amusement arcades on Scarborough seafront (source)

Marshall set himself the ambitious challenge of depicting 1000 years of Scarborough history in a single museum.The resulting multisensory experience was highly praised by visitors and won a regional tourism award only one year after opening. Around 100,000 children passed through its doors and the museum was a popular destination for educational trips.

From the moment you enter the 1930s railway station the time clock is racing backwards. Alight from the train and you’ll begin discovering the ancient Viking settlement of SKARTHABORG and the legend that gave it a name. You’ll press on through the mists of time to the Norman Castle. Eavesdrop on Edward I as he schemes with James of St. George, his Master Mason, to rebuild the ruins of Scarborough castle into one of the most impregnable fortresses in his kingdom. You’ll witness the growth of Scarborough as a medieval port. Learn the secrets of the Spa, whose healing properties enticed the rich from far and wide. Next you’ll be plunged into conflict. 1645. Civil War. Scarborough is under siege as the Roundheads bombard the beleagured castle garrison with the largest cannon in the kingdom. Exhausted? Don’t worry, you’ve still 300 years to catch your breath. Ahead of you lies the coming of rail, the Victorian Promenade and the shocking practice of sea bathing!! Scarborough was the UK’s first seaside resort.

The author found this text some time ago, in an obscure corner of cyberspace. Unfortunately she forgot to record where. Nonetheless, the museum sounds thrilling. Sadly this was not reflected in monetary terms, and Millennium closed at the end of 2001, shortly after being renamed The Scarborough Story.

Although I remember very little about the museum itself, a childhood visit in the early 1990s left me fascinated by the history of Scarborough, particularly its colonization by Vikings. I have vague recollections of waxworks, the entry sign, and a desire to revisit. Whilst it may seem strange to become so fixated on an attraction I barely remember, there is something about it, like Marvels and Atlantis, which feel important. You know that feeling, when you’ve forgotten something that feels like it may have been important? That’s what Millennium feels like to me.

There seems to be very little information available about the Millennium Museum/Scarborough Story, and it appears to be the least well documented of the attractions selected for this project.

What was it like inside? What was this ‘living history’ experience like? Do you remember Millennium?

Please comment below with memories and/or corrections, and please get in touch if you have pictures you’d like to share.

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11 thoughts on “The Mysterious Millennium Museum

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  8. I remember visiting the Millenium Experience whilst on a Primary School Trip. It has always stayed with me which I why I googled it tonight and came across this page!
    I remember sitting on a “train” traveling back in time. When we got off the train we sat on a small cart thing which took us on a journey through time. It was dark and we passed different scenes that marked history periods. The thing that sticks out in my memory the most was the smell of the place as the cart drew around the corner to the Viking part and we could hear the crackling of a log fire, you could smell it too. Another great memory was the Victorian era, there was a lady getting into her swimsuit in a stripy changing hut on the beach and as our cart moved past her she shouted “Ey, do you mind!” we all found it hilarious at that age.
    It really was a great experience and i still think about it to this day, I wish there was something like that around now.

    • Thank you Emma! Really appreciate the detail in your comment – it’s been difficult trying to piece together information about the attraction, so this kind of information is very helpful.

      Thanks again,

      Sarah (Stories From Scarborough)

  9. I have a vague recollection of visiting this attraction. I’m rather upset it is no longer there and like you I would love to know more about it. Thanks for creating this page.

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