The Stewart Museum is primarily dedicated to the travels of Major Percy Stewart and the eight World Tours he undertook between 1906 and 1926.
Often accompanied by his wife Katharine, Percy visited every continent, explored remote regions and collected a remarkable range of cultural and religious exhibits. Several of these have been recognised by UNESCO as of national and international importance.
The Stewart Collection is now housed in state-of-the-art display cases in the museum with a number of interactive stations.
In 2012, Yorkshire Museums selected 100 objects from around the region for their “Precious Cargo”project, an exploration in depth of the exhibits in Yorkshire Museums that celebrate world cultures, and five artefacts from the Stewart Museum were featured.
These were a Maori feather cloak made from Kiwi feathers and given to the Major by a Maori Chief, the diary of Herbert Stewart, Percy’s brother, who was tutor to the Tsar’s nephews at the time of the Russian Revolution, a ceremonial facemask from what is now Papua New Guinea; a decorative snuff bottle from China with incredible artwork painted inside the bottle, and a carved wooden figure of a man from the Solomon Islands, collected by the Major en route from Singapore to Sidney in the early 1900s.
In 2014, the “Mr Stewart and the Romanovs” project received some international and academic attention, following research completed in relation to Herbert Stewart’s life in imperial Russia, and this was followed in 2015 by “The Adventurous Stewarts” project, which raised the profile of several of Percy Stewart’s siblings who each travelled the world in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.