A Christmas weekend has been planned at the Dales Countryside Museum in Hawes that includes a special birthday milestone.
On Saturday, 5 December, as part of the Hawes Christmas Lights activities, staff at the Museum have organised craft and produce stalls, children’s activities, a visit by Mother Christmas, free entry to the museum, mulled wine and mince pies, quizzes and competitions from 10am to 4pm.
Then, on Sunday there will be a celebratory event for invited guests followed by a seasonal concert of songs and carols from 2pm to 4pm that is open to the public to mark the Museum’s 30th birthday.
The concert will feature the Alverton Singers with musical direction by Joan Foster and keyboard accompaniment by Jean Pocock and refreshments will be available.
The beginnings of the Museum, which is owned by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, go back to the 1940s when Marie Hartley and her friend Ella Pontefract attempted to stop the region losing an important collection of artefacts from a private museum at Leyburn by buying 13 lots. Over the years, other items were bought and donated, providing an insight into personal, domestic and working life in the Dales.
After Ella's death in 1945, Marie continued to document the Dales, working with Joan Ingilby. The collection grew until it finally found a home with North Riding County Council, in the converted Victorian railway station in Hawes. This was opened to the public in 1979 as the Upper Dales Folk Museum and has become a well-loved public museum. This year is therefore a special year as it marks the thirtieth anniversary of the opening of the Museum.
Marie was the founder president of the Friends of the Dales Countryside Museum and the co-author of a number of books about Yorkshire that she wrote between 1934 and 1998 firstly with Ella and later with Joan. She first visited the Dales in the 1930s and was living at Askrigg in Wensleydale when she died in 2006.
In 1997 she and Joan were each awarded an MBE. Both also received a Silver Medal award from the Yorkshire Archaeological Society for their contribution to Yorkshire history.
The Museum has transformed over the years both in terms of its name, the building and the services and facilities on offer, but it still reflects Marie's original intention to "provide a place for everyone with an interest in the Dales and its history". Her aim of making the history of the Dales available or accessible to a wide range of people continues today.
Museum Manager Fiona Rosher said: "By acting as a focus for Dales cultural heritage, we help to highlight its importance and value as one of the special qualities of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. We're thrilled to be celebrating 30 successful years of enabling people to explore and enjoy the heritage of the area and will be holding an event to thank all those who support us in our work".
The museum is open every day between 10am and 5pm.