The Nidderdale Museum was founded in 1975 by a group of enthusiasts who shared a deep concern for the traditional way of life which they felt was rapidly disappearing after the second world war. Farms were adopting new methods, the former lead and stone industries had collapsed, and families were becoming dispersed.
Our premises are provided by Harrogate Borough Council in the building originally erected as the Pateley Bridge Union Workhouse (1863) to replace an earlier workhouse on Bishopside Moor. It is now known as The Old Workhouse.
Apart from this assistance the Museum has been, and continues to be, entirely run and staffed by volunteers, who were recognised in 2010 by a Harrogate Volunteering Oscar Special Award. In 2017 we were presented with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
The Nidderdale Museum Society has two hundred members, with an elected Committee, and a Board of Trustees.
In 1990 we were given the National Heritage Museum of the Year Award for ‘The Museum which does the most with the least’.
In 2009 we received full accreditation by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) which was until May 2012 a non-departmental public body and registered charity in England with a remit to promote improvement and innovation. After its functions were transferred to the Arts Council England and the National Archives, full accreditation was once again awarded in May 2013.