Museum’s 50th anniversary

A summer fayre at Beck Isle Musuem in the late 1970s or the early 1980s.
A summer fayre at Beck Isle Musuem in the late 1970s or the early 1980s.

Staff and volunteers at the Beck Isle Museum in Pickering are set to celebrate the attraction’s 50th anniversary.

On Wednesday 24 May, 1967, the museum first opened its doors and this Saturday (27 May), between 10am and 4pm, there’s a chance to join the celebrations when the venue goes back to the 1960s – the decade it was founded.

Admission to the museum, which will be displaying 1960s memorabilia as well as games and crafts for all the family, is free.

Starting out as a museum and arts centre Beck Isle exhibited objects of local interest, displayed to the public for the cost of one shilling.

The museum is still going strong with a team of enthusiastic volunteers and a full time member of staff making sure its collection of social and agricultural history is made accessible to the public.

In the last 50 years the museum has extended beyond its few original rooms and visitors can now explore 27 different displays relating to the history of Pickering, its people, trades and industries.

Over this time Beck Isle volunteers have been involved with all kinds of local events such as the Pickering Carnival and Flower Festival and have organised events at the museum from summer fetes and scarecrow competitions to the centenary of the Pickering pageant in 2010.

As the Beck Isle Museum looks to the next 50 years, it is seeking to refresh and update some of its displays, develop its involvement with schools and community groups, and continue in its aim to preserve and exhibit items of local historical interest.

Founding member Gordon Clitheroe is still actively involved in the museum and regularly delivers talks about the history of Pickering and the local area.

Mr Clitheroe said: “As the museum celebrates its anniversary it is important to recognise all the hard work and many hours of volunteer time which has gone into transforming the home of William Marshall into a treasure house of history in the heart of Pickering.”

A spokesman said: “Come and enjoy joy free admission to the museum to see the displays of 1960s memorabilia as well as games and crafts for all the family. Take a trip down memory lane and listen to your favourite record, visit the village shop to buy penny sweets, and test your knowledge of 1960s popular culture in our quiz.

“There is still a chance to look at the temporary exhibition ‘50 years, 50 objects’ which incudes a range of artefacts from the collection from Bronze Age arrowheads to 19th Century costume to 1960s domestic appliances.

“This exhibition as well as displays about the history of the museum will be running until the end of November.”

The museum is open from 10am to 4pm in February, March, October and November and from 10am to 5pm April through to September.