It was an exciting day on Saturday as approximately 400 guests turned out for the community opening of the Clayton Museum of Ancient History featuring the Stanback collection on the York College campus.

​Special guests at the event included members of Legion Six Victrix, a group of “living historians” based in Los Angeles, Calif. The legion, dressed in Roman military garb, set up a garrison camp with authentic tools and weapons on the field outside of the Mackey Center. They gave demonstrations and talked to museum visitors about life and times of Roman soldiers in AD 122-138, during the reign of the Emperor Hadrian. 

See event photos

Also participating in the opening day events were John Clayton, for whom the museum is named, and Mr. Stanback, who provided the collection and the funds for the museum, as well as their families.The historians also participated in the Yorkfest parade, marching with military precision while wearing authentic body armor and carrying swords, spears, and heavy shields.

They were an impressive sight, parading with characteristic Roman gravitas through the streets of York.  

Guests to the museum were excited to be among the first to witness York’s newest attraction. The Clayton Museum of Ancient History features a variety of artifacts, including coins, rings, tools, statues, and weaponry, as well as leaves of bibles from the 16th century and a cuneiform tablet containing a portion of the epic of Gilgamesh. The core of the collection is focused on the Roman soldier and includes a full-size onager (similar to a catapult).

The museum also includes a replica of the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Museum patrons can write prayers to put into the cracks of the wall, just as religious pilgrims do at the real site.

York College wishes to thank all of the donors who have given of their time, talent, and treasure to make this museum a reality. The museum is a fantastic addition to the college and the community.   In addition to the permanent collection, the museum features a space for a temporary exhibit. Currently on display are images from cultural heritage sites that have been influenced by nearby conflict. Related to that concept, the entryway to the museum depicts part of the ruins of the ancient city of Palmyra in modern day Syria. The significant historical site is now under threat from ISIS.

​The museum is now open Tuesday through Friday and some Saturdays. Hours will be adjusted to need and demand. There is no cost for admission. See for hours and additional information.