In 1961 Otley Archaeological & Historical Society formed a The Museum Committee to ‘collect, house, exhibit and promote public interest in all objects of historical value to the town of Otley'.
The first advertised public opening of Otley Museum was on 14th January 1977 since when more than 50,000 visitors have passed through its doors. The museum houses a comprehensive collection of artefacts, photographs and documentary material relating to the development of Otley and District since prehistoric times.
The unique character of the museum is represented by a number of significant collections:
The Eric Cowling Collection
A unique collection of prehistoric stone tools and artefacts collected from the middle Wharfe Valley by the founder of the Otley Museum Collection.
The Archbishop's Manor House Collection
An archaeological collection from the excavations of the Palace of the Archbishop of York at Otley.
The Otley Printers' Engineers Collection
Industrial artefacts and archives recording the history and development of the town's Victorian machine makers and centred on the invention of the Wharfedale Printing Machine.
The Urban Development Archive
A significant and comprehensive collection of building records showing the development and planning of the town during the 19th and 20th centuries.
The Otley Story
The principal museum archive of documents, photographs, locally printed material and personal records from the 18th century onwards, showing a detailed social history of the town.