Three Ripon Museums – The Workhouse Museum & Garden, Courthouse Museum and Prison & Police Museum - re-open on February 9 after a few weeks of behind the scenes activity and planning of events.
The season starts with Stolen Things by Paul Rooney in The Courthouse Museum, which focuses on the ‘voice’ of 14-year-old Ann Lupton, a former defendant accused of shoplifting in 1853.
Spoken and sung words and sounds are created using a variety of sources including the childhood memories of Ripon Museum volunteers, the chords of a Taylor Swift song and a Victorian children’s hymn.
The sound invokes the shouts of the courtroom public and Victorian church singing to build to a rowdy evocation of some liberatory mischief.
Liverpool-based artist Paul Rooney, creates music using words, often exploring the themes of music, myth, memory and place.
Leah Mellors, Curator, said: “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.”
Leah added: “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.”
In 2019 the museums will be looking to engage more people than ever in new and different ways, with a stop motion animation course, making preserves for the pantry, being in the dock for a Victorian courthouse experience or listening to an expert in our adult talks series.
“We’ll be revealing more stories of the people who spent time within its walls and visitors will get the chance to explore behind the scenes and see how we care for and preserve centuries of law and order history,” added Leah.
The theme for the year will be Home and Homelessness as they explore what home means to people and what it meant to those who lived in the Workhouse, were incarcerated in our Prison, and who were transported away from home.
Rogues & Vagabonds, the summer exhibition, will focus on homelessness from the Victorian period until the present day, uncovering how homelessness has been viewed and tackled by the workhouse, prison and court systems, as well as charities and the authorities today.