Labour of Love

shepherds standing on top of mountain with sheep dogs

Land, lives and nature in England’s Upland Commons.

19 April – 8 September 2024

Over one third of England’s moorland is ‘common land’. Shaped by hill farming and cherished by many, upland commons are at the heart of rural culture and are vital for enriching nature.

This exhibition shares photography, film, prose and poetry by Rob and Harriet Fraser and videos captured by farmers through the nationwide Our Upland Commons project, alongside artefacts and archaeological pieces from the Dales. The exhibition presents a point in time and looks ahead, with perspectives from people involved in farming, wildlife conservation, habitat restoration, land management and tourism here in the Yorkshire Dales, and in Cumbria’s Lake District, the Shropshire Hills and Dartmoor.

Cry of the Curlew

curlews in flight

1 February – 10 April 2024

Cry of the Curlew is a celebration of the Curlew and the upper Dales landscapes to which they have returned to breed every year since time immemorial. The graceful and elegant Curlew has iconic status in the Dales because of the impact made by the birds’ annual reappearances, their engaging presence whilst with us, and the absence felt when they depart.

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In Your Words – A celebration of the Rich Dialect Heritage of the Yorkshire Dales

15 October 2022 to 19 April 2023

Be a part of history and see how your family words compare with those gathered by fieldworkers from Leeds University in the 1950s and 60s, a time of huge change in the Dales. Features fascinating field books, photographs and word maps linked with the communities of Muker, Askrigg, Dent, Horton-in-Ribblesdale, Grassington, Pateley Bridge, Gargrave, Burton-in-Lonsdale and Soulby.

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Within these Walls – Haytime in the Yorkshire Dales

29 April to 17 September 2023

Artist Hester Cox shares her passion for the hay meadows of the Yorkshire Dales and the diversity of meadow plants and wildlife found living and feeding in this special habitat. The exhibition features linocuts and a variety of collagraph work by Hester, including her stunning “Within these walls” installation. Together with hay time artefacts from the Museum collections, archives connected with the Irish workers who once came to work in the Yorkshire Dales at hay time and woodcuts by Marie Hartley, this exhibition is a wonderful exploration of the history and contemporary importance of hay meadows.  

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Give Peat a Chance

Bringing the Yorkshire Dales Peatlands to Life

16 July to 09 October 2022

In an exhibition that starts thousands of years ago and runs up to the present day, we look at how Dales peatlands formed; the wildlife that lives there; how our actions have affected our peatlands; and what we’re doing to restore them. We will explore these beautiful, brooding landscapes through visual arts, music and film.

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Dales, Land and Sky

Dales Land and Sky Header

Contemporary textiles by The Small Group, inspired by the Yorkshire Dales

09 April to 10 July 2022

A vibrant and varied textile exhibition exploring different aspects of this beautiful Dales landscape. Landforms and dwellings, plants in the wild or cultivated in gardens, living creatures which make their home here and the words found in dialect poetry have all provided a source of inspiration.

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Love Tokens, Sittings and Songs

Knitting Sticks from the John Dixon Collection

02 October 2021 to March 27 2022

A stunning exhibition showcases collection a special form of folk art, the knitting stick. The collection belongs to John Dixon, a retired carpet fitter from Huddersfield. During the past twenty years he has collected more than 400 sticks, each unique in design.

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Story of Schools

17 May to 18 July 2021

The Story of Schools in the Upper Dales features spectacular 4.5 metre-wide photo mosaic was unveiled to the public on Monday 17 May, as the museum celebrated the end of a six-month closure owing to Coronavirus restrictions. A Mosaic of Dales Youth, created by art and design studio The People’s Picture led by digital artist Helen Marshall, features nearly 2,300 photo tiles of youth and school-life in Upper Wensleydale, Swaledale and Arkengarthdale. The images were shared by local people over eight weeks in autumn 2020.

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Run the Dales

23 July to 26 September 2021

With over 200 years of history behind it, fell running is one of the Yorkshire Dales’ original sports, no doubt inspired by its awesome fells. A ‘race up and down a nearby hillside’ has been a pursuit passed down through the centuries. This exhibition lifts the lid on fell running heritage and the contemporary running scene. Its stars, pioneers and iconic races feature through brand new imagery by award winning photographer, Stephen Garnett.

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The View from the Fells – In the Footsteps of Marie Hartley

19 August 2020 to 24 January 2021

An exhibition of collagraphs by Hester Cox, inspired by the life and work of Marie Hartley and the Yorkshire Dales landscape.

The View from the Fells is the culmination of the Ink Inspiration Project, a two-year project inspired by the life and work of artist, writer and cultural historian, Marie Hartley MBE, the founder (with Joan Ingilby) of the Dales Countryside Museum.

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Ink Inspiration Project 2019 -2020

The Ink Inspiration project centred on woodblocks held in the collection that were part of a bequest from Marie Hartley. Upon her death, Marie left an extensive collection of her personal belongings including diaries, sketchbooks and 127 woodblocks. Many of the blocks were created to illustrate the books that she co-wrote with Ella Pontefract in the 1930s and 1940s: Swaledale, Wensleydale and Wharfedale.

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Passing Through: An Exhibition of Poetry and Photography

Online exhibition

Barbara Murray and Paco Valera divide their time between the Yorkshire Dales and Spain and are inspired by the woodlands on their doorsteps. One wood is the mythically atmospheric ‘Shaw Gill Wood’ in Wensleydale, the other, privately owned ‘Can Coll Wood,’ near Barcelona. Their bold collection of prose-infused monochrome tree portraits is a powerful combination of poetry and photography. Their work encourages people to give time to the ‘passing through’ moments of reflection offered by woodlands. “Without trees, we cease to exist.”

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Celebration of Musicians in the Yorkshire Dales – New Book for 2020

A new book has been published titled There was None of this Lazy Dancing! : Folk Tunes and Dances from the Yorkshire Dales.

Written by Bob Ellis the book celebrates the musicians who led Dales folk dancing right through the night in the early 1900s. It is full of fascinating detail and is the most complete record to date of Dales musicians and their music. It features transcriptions of more than 200 tunes collected from the Yorkshire Dales, together with biographies of the musicians who played them, notations of dances, and contextual essays about traditional village dances in the Yorkshire Dales.

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Easter Cakes

Fran, Centre Manager for the National Park Visitor Centre at the Dales Countryside Museum in Hawes, shares a recipe for Easter Cakes. The recipe was given by Mary Bell for use in the Dales Countryside Cookbook, published by the Friends of the Museum in 1993.

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