Armed with mops, dusters and paint brushes several volunteers set to work on Friday, January 29, to clean the Dales Countryside Museum at Hawes ready for it to re-open on February 1. As a Friend of the Dales Countryside Museum I went along not just to take some photographs but to join the cleaning brigade.
Marcia Howard, David Wright. Donald Brown and Tony Dobson were in the train carriages. I didn’t recognise Marcia at first in her workman’s hat and white overalls. Like David she was repainting the doors and walls so that they were sparkling white again.
Armed with a duster I joined Sue Foster (chairman of the Friends of the Dales Countryside Museum) and Eleanor Scarr and began cleaning the exhibits in the main display rooms. It was certainly a much closer encounter with old knitting machines and weaving looms than I had ever experienced before. I couldn’t help wondering who had carved their names or initials on the old loom.
I certainly didn’t dust the mining or peat cutting exhibits – that would have robbed them of that look of authenticity!
Sue and Eleanor had a much bigger job cleaning all the items in exhibits showing the work of tinsmiths, cobblers and shoe makers in the past.
It was Sue who enlightened Eleanor, Lottie Sweeney and myself about the tar pot in the “sheep pen”.
“I used to do that job when I was a little girl,” she said. “When they were sharing the sheep by hand I had the tar brush. When they nicked the sheep by mistake we put a bit of tar on the cut. It worked – it kept the flies off and that sort of thing and they healed up very quickly.
Eleanor commented: “It’s a blue iodine spray now.”
We didn’t have to dust in the traditional Dales kitchen because Lottie was cleaning up after completing her re-vamp of that display.
Once our work was done we gathered in the small room beside the museum’s own kitchen for tea, coffee and cake.
Click here for photographs taken on January 29, 2016