What’s in an online exhibition? 

If (like me) you are new to the Museum of North Craven Life, you might be wondering where to start. And – you might also be thinking – why would I visit an exhibition online? What? How? Why?

I hope that in this blog post I can digitally introduce you to what’s available online here on the Museum’s website – so you have a takeaway piece of the Museum and the history of Settle wherever you are. The online exhibitions at the Museum of North Craven Life are designed to help you gain an insight and perspective into the past of beautiful Settle – the home of the Folly and the Museum. 

The first online exhibition to think about checking out is ‘The Folly’ – which, through a series of artists’ impressions and snippets of the collection, aims to outline and describe how The Folly came to be. What is known for certain, as you will discover, (although lots is left to imagination and to the hindsight of history!) is that the Folly is connected to Settle solicitor Richard Preston and is known (with some certainty) to date back to the late 1600s. Intrigued by the mystery? 

Inspired by my own interest in genealogy, I’ve always found the more personal and familial aspects of social history something that I want to read about – anyone else? ‘Meet The Folly’s Families really appeals to me (and I hope to you!) as learning more about the people who are known to have lived in the building throughout history – although, like the building itself, there is still more to this story to be discovered! Archival and collection resources illustrate this section with the occupations and lifespan of real families.

The Lottery of Life in 19th Century Settle’ – interested piqued? This section involves an interactive quiz to try your chances in this period, with your answers connected to real-life individuals who are historically connected to Settle. Would you have lived past infancy, have had an education, would you be working or middle class, and what type of work would you have undertaken – all whilst facing the constant risk of disease? The detailed and colourful interest that supports the quiz in this section utilises local research and records to really paint a picture of every aspect of life in Victorian Settle: childhood, marriage, working life and the reality of life – and death – in this time. Local historian Sarah Lister, supported by Jan Grant and Harry Cruise, and the Graveyard Research Project at Holy Ascension Church, Settle, have curated real-life stories to contextualise and understand this period. 

Got a passion for medical history? How has this been experienced by individuals, and on a more general note in Settle over the last 350 years ? If so, you might be interested in the Kill or Cure section. This includes a wide range of topics, including: understandings of medicine and treatment in 17th century Settle, the views on mental health and the development of sanitation, and the impact and development of enlightenment thinking on medicine in the area. This also details the history of medical practices through the 19th and 20th century, and the role of the National Health Service in structuring care more formally to the residents of Settle. This exhibition aims to connect individual experiences to the health of Settle more widely – so you can form and frame a holistic development of health in the last 350 years. 

The human connections and tangible links to World War Two have always fascinated me – so if, like me, you have any interest in this time period, why not have a look at the incredible photographs, archival material and details that introduce life On The Home Front in Settle? This connects to air raids, evacuation, rationing, the moments of relief from war and the poignant impact of this conflict on everyday life in Settle. There is also a direct relationship to a ship…! 

I really hope that you’ve found something of interest, and that you can enjoy some of the Museum’s stories – wherever you may be reading from! Hopefully, online exhibitions make (a bit) more sense now…