Guest post: Emma McKenzie on Ryedale Folk Museum’s behind the scenes tour

Our latest guest post is by Emma McKenzie from the Ryedale Folk Museum! Emma gives us an insight into the museums plans for a late night behind-the-scenes tour of this very special venue…

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The Ryedale Folk Museum is a small independent museum occupying a six acre site in the small village of Hutton-le-Hole, on the edge of the North York Moors. It was created by local people out of a passion for their heritage and we have, and always will be committed to being a part of the community we inhabit. The Museum was started in the 1930s by volunteers and was officially opened in 1964.

three men in a doorway of a ruined building

Rebuilding Harome Manor

As a small rural museum, one of our greatest challenges is to find ways to offer something extra special. Our regular program of events is held during the day; we rarely organise evening events during the main summer season, so opening up in May for an evening event is a new thing for the museum. We wanted to play our part in something bigger and being a part of Museums at Night is really important to us as a smaller museum.

We see Museums at Night as a great opportunity for us to fully connect with our audiences and show them the real ethos of the museum. Therefore when it came to planning our event, we decided to create a behind the scenes guided tour of the museum, revealing key areas that are not usually accessible to the public, and which give a real insight into the museums importance and unique sense of place. We are focusing on our costume & photograph collection, our new library and Archive room, and our workshops and stores.

old fashioned dress

Victorian dress from Ryedale Folk Museum collection

At the museum we believe that objects hold stories, and that those stories are what make the objects evocative, and allow people to engage with them.

One personal example comes to mind: we have a tractor within our collection, which never meant a great deal to me, until one day our Director told me a story about it. When that tractor was still in use, they used to call it a courting tractor; it was used to take dates to the village barn dances. This brought the tractor to life for me, and now every time I see it I imagine that story, and the romance and the fun times that it represents.

I want our visitors to experience that feeling of connection to the past when they visit us. Through showing them the way we began and continue to work with our volunteers, I hope the event will show them that special sense of place we believe we represent, and really connect our audience with the museum.

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Blonde woman smilingEmma McKenzie has worked at Ryedale Folk Museum for just over 2 years as a Development Officer & Events Co-ordinator. She has a first class honours degree in Entertainment Design Crafts specialising in the design and construction of costumes. She began working at the museum as a volunteer, drawing the costume collection for the catalogue cards.

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Thanks, Emma!

If you’re reading this and you have an interesting story to tell or case study to share about planning or marketing after-hours events, I’d love to publish your guest posts as well. Please get in touch at rosie@culture24.org.uk.

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