A brand-new exhibition has opened this week exploring entertainment for workhouse inmates. The exhibition Workhouse Entertainment: Paupers and Philanthropists features objects donated by Ripon antiquarian and former mayor William Hemsworth and can be viewed in the dining room of the Workhouse Museum.
People often think of workhouses as harsh and depressing places to live however research suggests that there were occasional moments of light relief. Inmates were offered entertainment within the workhouse that was lively and intended to improve/educate them. This exhibition will seek to expand this picture and show that occasionally, those outside of the workhouse would try and improve the lives of inmates by visiting, giving gifts, and organising entertainment.
Workhouse Entertainment: Paupers and Philanthropists has been curated by volunteers at Ripon Museum Trust. Accompanying the exhibition is an activity trail alongside baking and craft activities focused on the theme of entertainment in the workhouse. Activities will take place between Monday 30 May and Friday 3 June, 12pm-3pm and are free with museum entry. Our museum tickets are valid for 12 months with unlimited return visits.