Ripon museums reopen today with new exhibition
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May 17, 2021
Photo of lives unravelled exhibition at Workhouse Museum
Part of the Lives Unravelled exhibition at the Workhouse Museum

The death of Harriet Rodwell, who committed suicide in the city’s workhouse in 1855, features in a new exhibition opening in Ripon today.

Ms Rodwell’s hard life and sad demise is remembered in Fragments — one of five textile installations.

Created by 6-Ply — a group of North Yorkshire textile artists — it is part of the Lives Unravelled exhibition at Ripon’s Workhouse Museum.

The display, dedicated to Ms Rodwell and created by Eileen Sweeney, reflects the fact that only fragments of the former inmate’s life remain.

Photo of Ripon's Prison & Police Museum

The Prison & Police Museum – one of Ripon’s three heritage attractions now reopened for visitors

The new exhibition marks the reopening of the city’s three heritage attractions.

The workhouse, along with the Prison & Police and Old Courthouse are operated by Ripon Museum Trust.

The custom-made Lives Unravelled exhibition is Inspired by historical research into the lives of workhouse women.

It will be on display until September 5.

Artists have used a variety of materials and techniques to convey the real experiences and imagined emotions of being a woman in the workhouse.

Pieces installed as part of the exhibition, also include Room for Mother and Infant, by Hazel Waite; Jane Button’s “Fancy Apron”, by Sarah Lowe; Veg, Glorious Veg, by Mary Exelby and Apron of Feelings, by Jenny Bradbury.

Helen Thornton, director of Ripon Museum Trust said:

“It’s so exciting to be able to reopen our museums with this very moving and powerful temporary exhibition by local textiles group 6-Ply.

“We’re delighted to share these works with visitors and I hope they encourage people to consider the lives of people who lived and died here.”

Following today’s reopening, the museums will be open Tuesday to Sunday and on selected Bank Holidays, including bank holiday Monday, May 31.

Entrance to the exhibition is included in the cost of museum entry. All tickets to Ripon museums are valid for repeat visits over a 12-month period.


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Bookings can be made via the museum trust website or by calling 01765 690799.

Ripon Museums have covid safety measures in place and have been awarded the Visit Britain We’re Good to Go industry standard.

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