MUSEUM staff have reported a massive boost in visitor numbers from all over the world after three years of stagnation.

The Richmondshire Museum, based in Ryder’s Wynd in the town, opened in April for its summer season and said increased visitor numbers and the reintroduction of fundraising lectures have contributed to a successful year.

Volunteers said they had seen a greater number of visitors than over same period in the past three years, and an upsurge of overseas tourists especially from USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Curatoral assistant Julie Dodd said: “I’m not sure what has caused this upturn but we have put in a lot of hard work to prepare new exhibits and we are not allowing children to go free so that has helped more people to be able to come and visit us.

“A lot of people don’t know where we are because we are quite tucked away so we just want people to come and have a look – visitors often tell us they didn’t expect the museum to be so big as it looks small from outside.

“It really is good value for money.”

The museum covers the history of Richmondshire from the Stone Age to the mid-20th century and looks at life in the district over that time, with exhibits including lead mining, a model of the railway and of filming for James Herriot series All Creatures Great and Small.

The annual series of museum lectures was successfully reintroduced, taking place at the museum over three evenings in July including a glass of wine and a viewing of the exhibits after each lecture.

The history of the British woodland, Florentine Tuscany and Victorian stereo photography were explored along with special exhibits and hands on demonstrations.

Richmond Mayor Councillor Bob White said: “Richmondshire Museum is a real asset to the town and this upsurge in visitors is very good news. I am constantly impressed at the ongoing changes and achievements being made at this storehouse of local history.”

Museum Chairman Mike Wood added: “The resurgence in visitor numbers is down to many factors but visitors to Richmond are attracted by the unique nature of the town and its surrounding countryside and are seeking out the museum of Richmondshire to find out about its history and often, their own local heritage.”

The museum is open daily from April to October from 10:30am until 4.30pm - last entry at 4:00pm.

Call 01748-825611 for more information.