The Dales Countryside Museum in Hawes is to get a facelift as it looks to attract more paid visitors and increase income to help offset running costs.

Members of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) agreed yesterday to invest £50,000 altering the layout and entrance area to make it more obvious what is on offer and to encourage more visitors to pay to look around the fabulous collection and exhibits – which have also recently been enhanced by the addition of a new sculpture trail.

In a report to the meeting, the authority’s director of park services, Kathryn Beardmore, said a survey this summer showed that, while only eleven per cent of those currently visiting the building actually paid to go round the museum, an impressive ninety-six per cent of those who did pay were satisfied with their experience.

The cash injection will be used to alter the entrance and layout of the YDNPA-owned museum in an effort to attract people into the paid experience, increase income and help keep people in Hawes for longer.

Ian McPherson, from the authority, said, “We believe that, with the support of residents and visitors alike, this small investment will reap benefits within a fairly short time period and allow us to continue to offer people the unique glimpse of Dales life past and present that can be found in the Museum. The YDNPA recognises the contribution the DCM makes to tourism in Hawes and its important role in sharing the heritage of the Dales with local people and visitors.”

As well as the collection and exhibits, the museum offers a range of events including the current celebration of local food and produce, education resources and activities aimed at generating community participation in, and developing understanding of the cultural heritage of the Dales. The site also includes a National Park Centre and a research room where individuals can investigate the archive and artefacts collection.

The work should be finished in the spring of 2014 and some new exhibitions, based around the current themes, will hopefully be introduced.

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