Museums host fun summer activities to keep children busy

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There’s historic holiday fun galore planned at Ripon’s three museums this school summer holidays.

From traditional crafts such as wax candle making, rag rugging and flower pressing to dressing up, taking part in police drills and not forgetting good old fashioned Punch and Judy.

Bosses at the museums - The Workhouse Museum and Garden, Prison and Police Museum and The Courthouse - will help visitors discover a unique story about Yorkshire law and order by offering an opportunity to find out about the ordinary people who ended up there and what happened to them next.

The packed summer holiday programme features different activities each week.

With the summer hum of honey bees in the Workhouse Garden people can find out what flowers attract bees and why Workhouses often had beehives, sometimes in their roofs, from July 25-29.

August 1-5, 11am-3pm hands-on family will be held at the Prison and Police and Workhouse Museums include drilling (aka the Whitby special constable experience), dressing up in an early police uniform and making a magnificent handlebar moustache as well as bread making.

All in a Day’s Work, August 8-12, where children can do chores at the Workhouse from laundry with dolly tubs and mangles, rag-rugging, hard sums in the schoolroom and cleaning Master’s boots and Matron’s table with good old fashioned spit and polish.

What the Dickens, August 15-19 - Take part as comedy hits the Courthouse. Is Mr Pickwick guilty of raising Mrs Bardell’s hopes of love and marriage? Find out at this Dickens trial re-enactment.

Cakes and Ale, August 22-26 - Get your aprons on to find out about the Workhouse “treats”. What foods were inmates allowed? Visitors can try brewing small beer, which was what Workhouse women and children used to drink, baking cakes and making a clay tankard.

Mourning has Broken, August 29-September 2 - Find out what happened to the dead at the Workhouse compared to wealthier dead people. Dress up in mourning clothes, embalm in the morgue, make a clay memorial and black wax seal, and find out more about funeral food.

No booking is required and all activities are free although normal museum entry prices apply.

For full information about what’s happening each week, visit, email or phone 01765 690799.