The Museum continues to develop and to offer new services and improved collection care. As part of the continuing development programme there have been a number of changes over the past year.
Perhaps the most obvious changes have been those affecting the displays. New displays have been erected on the first floor which illustrate medicine and shoemaking. These displays incorporate much of the material which was previously on show in the attic as well as some new material which has not been displayed before.
Also incorporated into the new display is a recently acquired 'Cathedral Clock' made from one of Hargers fretwork kits in the late 19th Century.
Another new addition to the displays on the first floor is a section devoted to the Settle-Carlisle Railway. The Railway Shanties and the use of the line as a test route is illustrated and a number of recently acquired railway models are displayed.
There have also been additions to the Carnegie Exhibition. A new audio tape loop has been installed which plays extracts from the Museum's collection of oral history tapes. Some new objects have been added to the displays here too.
A short guide to the Museum has been produced which welcomes visitors and describes what they can see at the Museum. This also provides a souvenir of their visit and can be passed on to interested friends or relatives generating additional visits.
There have been improvements to the meeting room which has been provided with curtains, cushions and decorations, thanks to the generosity and hard work of volunteers.
Opening hours have been extended to include Tuesday mornings and a series of combined coffee mornings and book sales have been held on Tuesday mornings also, in order to raise funds and encourage local people to visit.
A number of groups have visited the Museum during the year including Ilkley Middle School, Little Chalfont School from Buckinghamshire, West Bridgford School from Nottingham, Crowthorn Special School from Bolton, Settle Church of England School, the adult education department of Rochdale Technical College, the University of the Third Age and the Friends of Leeds Museum.
A number of steps are underway to encourage additional visitors, however. New leaflets have been produced and distributed throughout North Craven and to Tourist Information Centres and major attractions in the surrounding areas.
Organisations within the area and in the surrounding areas have been contacted in order to encourage group visits.
Schools in the area have been contacted and an open evening for teachers arranged in order to discuss potential development of the education services offered by the Museum.
A number of educational projects are already underway with the production of work sheets and the organisation of loan and handling collections for use by schools and other interested organisations. It is hoped that closer links with schools in the area will result in an extension of such services and increased use of the Museum both by local schools and schools visiting the many field centres and youth hostels in the area.
Work continues behind the scenes also, with the Museum records being transferred to computer in order to produce various indexes not previously available and make information about the collection more easily available.
Storage facilities have been improved too, with new racking being provided for the storage of framed works and additional shelving for books and other two dimensional material.
A number of acquisitions have been made during the past year including the following:
- A number of photographs have been donated by Mr Miller,
- A large model railway depicting Settle station complete with rolling stock, has been donated by Mrs Wilkinson of Worthing in Sussex,
- A cathedral clock made from one of Hargers fretwork kits has been loaned by Miss Quincey of Northamptonshire,
- A model of a blacksmiths forge has been donated by Mrs Schulte,
- A number of books have been loaned by Mrs Carr and a ration book has been donated by Mr Foy,
- An anonymous donor has given a number of clothing accessories,
- A number of items associated with Trueloves shop in Austwick have been donated by Mr Blackmore Tucker
and Mr Baines,
- Mrs Lawson has donated an advertising calendar from the late 19th Century,
- Miss Buckle has donated copies of her books of poetry and Mr Moody has donated a copy of the leaflet Wenning Memories,
- Mr Foster, of Leeds University, has donated a catalogue of the Petyt Library in Skipton, and Miss Leaworthy has donated a copy of Craven's Part in the Great War.
Thanks are due to all those who have given material and to many more people without whom the Museum could not function.
Thank you to all the faithful volunteers who give up their time to staff the Museum week after week and especially to Mr Newby who has been organising the volunteer rota this year.
Thanks to Miss Pierce and Mrs Parkinson who have been running the weekly coffee mornings and have provided the new furnishings for the meeting room.
Thanks to the Management Subcommittee of the North Craven Building Preservation Trust who continue to give up their time in order to manage the Museum and especially to Mr Lupton, who represents the Heritage Trust on that Committee.
And thank you to you all for your support and interest.