Exciting moves to make Harrogate's Royal Pump Room Museum a hub for tackling isolation

The Royal Pump Room team with guests at the open house event.
The Royal Pump Room team with guests at the open house event.

Harrogate Museums have teamed up with the Harrogate Advertiser to organise a series of open house events at the Royal Pump Room Museum.

As part of the 'Advertiser's long-term commitment to its Ending Loneliness campaign, reporter Finola Fitzpatrick met with Access and Learning Manager Karen Southworth to discuss ways of making the museum even more of a heart of the community, and collaborated for the first monthly open house event on November 30.

The museum team worked hard to make it a success, and people of all ages came to the Pump Room to do arts and crafts, have tours of the sulphur wells, and chat over tea and cake.

It was also an exciting opportunity for guests to have their say on the future of the museum, as Harrogate Borough Council announced an investment of £150,000 towards its redevelopment in May this year.

Key debates include whether we could drink the town's sulphur water again, and how the museum could reveal more of the glass in its 1913 extension and bring the building back to how it was.

Artist Douglas Thompson was on hand for residents to share their best memories of Harrogate and suggest ideas for the future of the town and the museum on a story map.

As the open house events continue, the museum aims to attract as many different audiences as possible to tackle isolation and make the museum a real.meeting point for the community.

Access and Learning Manager Karen Southworth said: "We want the museum to be more of a focal point for people who live in Harrogate. We attract a lot of visitors, but we want to reach out to local residents as much as possible.

"And what we really want from these events is to get some ideas of how we can do that more, and what people would like to see. We want the museum to be an informal meeting place for people to come and chat, a place where they feel they can come."

Attending the event, Harrogate resident Anne-Marie Clegg said: "I have lived in Harrogate nearly all my life, and I have always loved the Royal Pump Room, so I wanted to come and find out what they are doing, and what their plans for it are.

"I think it is really important for a museum to open itself up to the community, and it would be great to see it being used more for events."

The next open house event is on January 20, 2 to 4pm.