The Residency is a hands-on museum where you can explore the history, culture and technology of the region’s past and how this relates to today. There are a range of activities from quiet to active, all linked to an exhibition area so adults can help children understand the displays whilst having lots of fun.


Built in the 1850’s the Residency Museum building had several lives as the Depot Superintendent’s Quarters, the Magistrate’s Home (hence the Residency), part of the Old York Hospital and finally a museum since the 1970s.

There are plenty of exhibits and hands-on activities to keep you busy, as well as a range of worksheets such as ‘museum maths’. They are all linked to an exhibition area so adults can help children understand the displays whilst having lots of fun.

In the original kitchen you can peer down at the original convict-built foundations through a floodlit hole in the floor. While technology changed many manual tasks around the home you can see several forerunners to today’s gadgets here.

Leisure time was also different before electricity and electronic devices became part of everyday life. Much like modern virtual reality goggles, 150 years ago people used stereoscopes to see the world in 3D.

Our perception of space is created by our eyes – an image is projected onto our retina by each eye and processed into a complete image by our brain. As stereoscopic photographs are produced in pairs, with a gap of 2 ½ inches (roughly the gap between the eyes) when they are viewed through a stereoscope it creates one image and the illusion of depth.

Several scientists and mathematicians were involved in inventing and refining the stereoscope – making them smaller and including lenses. The Brewster Stereoscope credited to Scottish scientist Sir David Brewster in 1849 set the template for mass produced stereoscopes which quickly become commonplace in homes.

The design principle remains virtually the same today with Google cardboard VR viewers, except they use an app and a smartphone in front of the lenses instead of a picture card!

You can try out a stereoscope and plenty of other activities at the Residency Museum, as well as learning more about the history of the region.

Where to find it

4 Brook St, York WA 6302