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Christmas Day in the Workhouse

Ripon Workhouse Museum invites you to step back in time with us to the year 1890 and join us as we open our doors for ‘Christmas Day in Workhouse’, now a firm favourite on the museum calendar. The event is based on the Ripon Gazette reports of the time, detailing the Mayor’s annual treat for the poor inmates.

We have been decking the halls and scrubbing the floors ready for this special day when the old workhouse will bustle with the sights, smells and sounds of the past.  As you walk the corridors you will meet some of the real life characters of the workhouse itself: disgruntled inmates, pompous guardians, strict school mistresses, bossy matrons and even a drunken vagrant with a hidden past as life is breathed once again into the cells, corridors and work yard of this wonderful building.

You will have chance to talk to the inmates to see how the poor lived and learn what it was like to spend your day oakum picking, breaking stones, doing laundry and scrubbing.  The guardians will tell you about their last inspection, their views of the inmates and their new pride and joy, a hot water system! 

‘We are looking forward to welcoming visitors to drop in a see us this special day in the Workhouse calendar and experience a very different Christmas’  says Sue Dalton Head of Museums.

Refreshments will be served and performances of music hall songs, Victorian music and Christmas carols will be provided by ‘Marking time’ throughout the day.

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Shadows of the City.

Explore the darker side of Ripon’s history at Ripon’s Museums Museum this half term. The Prison & Police Museum, Workhouse and Courthouse Museums all remember the harrowing stories of those who have passed through their doors...

Experience the Workhouse by candlelight on Halloween and meet some of its ghostly inmates, finishing with a spooky story around the fire.

But it’s not all gloom! The museums also celebrate light at half term - experience the thrill of the Victorian Magic Lantern Show with its clever changing pictures and beautiful patterns. Children can also make moving shadow puppets and perform their own live show.

 

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Heritage Open Day in the Loo!

• As part of Heritage Open Days, Ripon Museum Trust is letting the public explore the Workhouse Garden and newly restored Workhouse Piggery on Saturday 8th September and on Sunday 9 September the Workhouse, focusing especially on our smallest rooms - and you don’t have to spend a penny! The Garden and Piggery will be FREE to explore on the Saturday and the Workhouse will be FREE to explore on the Sunday.

• The Workhouse Garden is a restored 1890’s kitchen garden located behind the Workhouse on Allhallowgate, This is your chance to meet out volunteer gardeners and explore the garden with our children’s trails and meet the workhouse pig trying to come out of the newly restored piggery.

• At the Workhouse we are opening our two historical toilets. The old outside privy which dates from 1850’s and our 1920’s Tramps loo, which was still in use up until 2008!
To help you explore we have a potty trail around the museum; full of toilet facts and jokes, learn how the Victorian poor made loo paper and a find out a brief history of the toilet.
‘We are looking forward to making a feature of these often overlooked places in the museum’ says Head of Museums Sue Dalton

• The Workhouse Garden is open Saturday 8 September 10am – 4pm admission FREE and the Workhouse museum is open Sunday 9 September 2pm – 4pm admission is FREE


No booking required just turn up on the day. Normal admission prices apply outside the time and dates specified
 

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Discover Ripon Video

One thousand three hundred years of history a stunning city center, beautiful shops and magnificent attractions come and see for yourself why Ripon is so special. Go on, Discover Ripon.

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Award winning!

Volunteers from Ripon Museums travelled to the British Museum in London this week to collect a prestigious award for their services to education.
The schools team, who work with some 50 groups visiting Ripon’s museums each year, are regional winners of the Volunteers for Museum Learning Marsh Trust Award 2012. The award recognises the ‘innovative ways in which volunteers work in museums and galleries to engage the public with collections and bring the museum experience to life’.
“We had a wonderful day and we are very proud of our award,” said Shirley Jones, a volunteer for many years at the Workhouse Museum and known for her stern portrayal of the workhouse matron. “It was lovely to meet other museum volunteers who are as enthusiastic as we are, and the British Museum looked after us superbly”.

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HeArts Festival

It is surprising what people get up to in Ripon ... make corn dollies and mosaics, build coracles and use bows and arrows, carve wood and fashion metal in the forge... there are all sorts of forgotten arts out there waiting to be rediscovered. Ripon Museums will again be celebrating traditional arts and crafts this year for three days from 4th – 6th during their Jubilee HeArts Fest (short for Heritage Arts Festival) at the Workhouse Museum on Allhallowgate, supported by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

In today’s world of mass-production and price-driven markets it is nice occasionally to appreciate objects made with attention to detail, unique design and consummate skill - the art of the blacksmith and green-woodsman, the spinner and the lace-maker. HeArts Fest is a chance to celebrate our local craftsmen and women and perhaps pick up a new hobby yourself. Expert demonstrators will be on hand to inspire and advise you and you will be able to try your hand at some crafts. There will be activities for children throughout the event, all included in the normal museum admission price.

Different skills will be demonstrated on each day, so make sure you pick up a leaflet with the correct timetable- available around town. Buy Ripon Museums’ Family and Friends or 3-in -1 ticket and you can  see all the demonstrators over 3 days and join in with all the activities.
 

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Live It

For three days in the Easter school holidays you can meet the inmates of the workhouse to experience their daily tasks.
From Wednesday 11 – Friday 13 April you can work for your food and shelter alongside inmates: oakum picking, wood chopping, and stone-breaking. Learn about Granny’s homemade cures for aches and pains and how to darn your underwear! Meet Polly as she makes a meal costing only a few pence; re-use your old clothes to make rag rugs and make your own toys and games.

This Easter sees the launch of the new Friends and Family Ticket.
This ‘3-in-1’ ticket last 12 months and is valid for all three museums in Ripon, for up to two adults and three children costing only £19.00.
This includes free quizzes, trails, children actives and entry to most of the events planned for the year.
 

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Open Cell

On Sunday 11th September, with the kind permission of the Dean & Chapter of Ripon Cathedral, Ripon Museum Trust opened the (long disused) cell below the Courthouse.

Known as the holding cell, this is where, in the early years of this building, prisoners were brought from the Liberty Gaol in St Marygate. He, or she, was then escorted up the stone steps into the courtroom for their trial.

Although today it houses the central heating boiler, it has great atmosphere.

The event was a huge success and our volunteers clearly enjoyed getting into the role of  prisoners waiting sentencing...

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Kids in Museums

We love kids in our museums and constantly strive to do our best for visiting families. We're proud to sign up to the Kids in Museums' manifesto.

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Courtroom Drama!

Put mum and dad in the Dock… What does it feel like to be a witness?... Explore our new Family Trail around Ripon’s Georgian Courthouse and decide who’s guilty and who’s not, which Victorian crime was the most serious and learn what a magistrate actually does!

We have just completed our new displays for the Courthouse Museum. Our very popular Transportation exhibition (which was only intended to be on display for a year and stayed for more than five years!) has not been completely removed - we are producing booklet that will contain all the information from the old display.
 

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Fat Lazy Blonde in the Workhouse Garden!

After last year’s first full season in the Workhouse Garden we can only anticipate the flavoursome delights of authentic Victorian varieties such as Purple Podded Peas, Dog’s Snout apples, Fellside Hero potatoes and Fat Lazy Blonde lettuce! Let’s hope the weather gives us a bumper crop in our second year and continues to delight our visitors.

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Bring a magnifying glass…

…to the Workhouse Museum and examine the highly detailed 1851 Ordnance Survey Map of Ripon and surrounding area in the Guardians’ Room. The map was discovered by the museum architect John Witherick while he was investigating the Workhouse attic above the Guardians’ Room. It is nine feet wide and six foot high, made up of nine individual sheets. It is so detailed that you can see every tree between West Tanfield and in the North and Burnt Yates in the South!

The map was painstakingly restored by Richard Hawkes of Wormald Green with the help of an AIM grant.
 

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We Love Our Volunteers!

In 2010 we gained an Investing in Volunteers Award by the UK Volunteering Forum.
Without volunteers we would not be able to operate or open to the public so we make sure we look after them! We are always looking for new people to join our enthusiastic and friendly team. There’s a role for everyone so drop in for a chat and find out what you can do for us and what we can do for you!

For more information, please visit http://riponmuseums.co.uk/volunteers

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Old Time Radio Show

Radio York popped in on Tuesday afternoon to make some short programmes on the museums’ history – We don’t know when the 5 minute slots will be aired but we’ll keep you posted.

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All our Museums are Accredited Museums

In 2010, all three museums were accredited by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council. This is a fantastic achievement as the majority of the hard work was all done by volunteers. We are very proud that all three museums gained Accreditation and we hope to continue to keep up the good work and continue to improve the museums for visitors, local residents and volunteers.

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Victorian Values Help Your Money Go Further In 2011

Where better to learn the fine art of ‘thrift’ than a Victorian workhouse? The Guardians, Master, Matron and inmates practised recycling, self sufficiency and plain old ‘make do and mend’ on a daily basis – not a penny was wasted. In the current challenging financial environment couldn’t we learn a thing or two from them?

Rags recycled into rugs; garden scraps fed to the pigs and pig manure to feed the soil; chimney soot to make boot polish and clean teeth; paper-saving slates and scratchers in the classroom... a stream of money saving ideas made the workhouse as cheap as possible for  the ratepayers to maintain.

Ripon’s Workhouse Museum & Garden on Allhallowgate illustrates many of these money saving methods and tells the whole story of life in the ‘place of last resort’; follow a poor family coming in for the first time as they are stripped of their flea infested clothes, scrubbed with carbolic, and sent their separate ways to live and work in the segregated wards of the ‘main block’. The kitchen garden (restored by volunteers over the last two years) once provided work experiences for the workhouse boys about to be apprenticed to local farmers, and provided fresh fruit and veg for the inmates.

Ripon Museums also offers excellent value for money today!

Where else can you pay as little as £7/£8 for an annual pass to, not one, but three visitor attractions, allowing up to three children in free each time you visit?
 

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