Praise has been pouring in for a new immersive art installation at Ripon Courthouse Museum - the first of its kind to be proudly unveiled in the historic building.
Friends, invited guests and supporters of the museum excitedly gathered to have a first listen to Stolen Things on Friday night - produced by artist Paul Rooney, this unique sound installation focuses on the voice of 14-year-old Ann Lupton, who was accused of shoplifting in 1853.
Right from the outset, the art has been a real community project, designed to inspire and engage with Ripon residents across all age groups. It features the voices and contributions of talented Ripon young people, museum volunteers, and other brilliant Ripon organisations - aiming to bring noise, animation and life to the courthouse.
Glennis Clarke, one of the dedicated volunteers at the courthouse, said: "This gives life to the courthouse museum. It's a bit like hearing voices from the past - I can picture the people at that time, it really helps you to imagine and think about the history of the place."
Kath Beeken, who worked at the courthouse as a court usher and as part of the admin team before it became a museum, from 1987 to 1998, said the art brings some well-deserved attention to the building, which is steeped in history and represents an important part of Ripon's story.
Kath, who has also volunteered at the museum since it opened, said: "For years, I have wanted it to have sound to bring the museum to life, so I was really excited to see it all come together. I hope it will make people think about the sorts of things that went on here."
Amelia Andrews and Neive Zenner are among the young people whose voices feature in the sound installation. Between them, they've clocked up bags of impressive experience with Ripon's Upstage Academy and Ripon Youth Theatre.
Amelia said: "Being able to experience recording this and being part of it was amazing."
Neive said: "The sound being played in this room, and knowing what happened here, just adds to the emotion of it."
The Ripon Museum Trust's curator, Leah Mellors, said “We are delighted to have been able to work with Paul Rooney on this exciting new art commission for Ripon Courthouse Museum. Paul’s sound installation is an immersive and evocative experience, based on a real trial at Ripon Courthouse, and we hope it will offer visitors a fresh perspective on the history of the Courthouse and a new and innovative way to engage with our stories.
"We’ll be working with other contemporary artists over the next three years, to keep building on the successful work we do with contemporary art.”
Stolen Things runs at Ripon Courthouse Museum until May 31.