Hawes museum to get £50,000 investment

First published in News The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter (Richmond)

AN UPPER Dales museum is set to get a £50,000 facelift in a bid to boost visitor numbers and income.

Members of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) agreed on Tuesday (December 18) to invest the substantial sum in the Dales Countryside Museum in Hawes to alter the layout of the entrance area to make it more obvious what is on offer and to encourage more visitors to pay to look around the collections and exhibits.

In a report to the meeting, the authority’s director of park services Kathryn Beardmore said a survey this summer showed that while only 11 per cent of those currently visiting the building actually paid to see the exhibits, 96 per cent of those who did pay were satisfied with their experience.

The cash injection will be used to alter the entrance and layout of the YDNPA-owned museum in an effort to attract people into the paid experience, increase income and help keep people in Hawes for longer.

Ian McPherson, the authority’s member champion for promoting understanding, said: “In these harsh financial times, it is important that the National Park Authority generates income to off-set the buildings’ fixed costs.

“We believe that, with the support of residents and visitors alike, this small investment will reap benefits within a fairly short time period and allow us to continue to offer people the unique glimpse of Dales life past and present that can be found in the museum.

“The YDNPA recognises the contribution the museum makes to tourism in Hawes and its important role in sharing the heritage of the Dales with local people and visitors.”

As well as the collection and exhibits, the museum offers a range of events including the current celebration of local food and produce; education resources and activities aimed at generating community participation in; and developing understanding of the cultural heritage of the Dales.

The site also includes a National Park Centre and a research room where people can investigate the archive and artefacts collection.

The work should be finished in the spring of 2014 and some new exhibitions, based around the current themes, will hopefully be introduced.

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