Museum and visitor center Kiplin Hall has secured capital from The National Lottery Heritage Fund for a project to better tell the stories of Kiplin’s origins and engage with local people.
A total of £136,000 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, £2,000 from The Friends of Kiplin Hall, a £2,000 bequest to Kiplin Hall, and £35,000 from Kiplin Hall CIO will fund the Interpreting Kiplin 400 project.
Director of Kiplin Hall Trust, James Etherington, said the project’s aim is to tell the location’s story “in a more profound, broad and engaging way.
“We know this will improve the visitor experience for people who have been enjoying Kiplin for years and those who are new, or have yet to discover us.”
He explained: “In the past estates like Kiplin played a key role in local people’s lives. We are especially keen to work with people living in places that have historic links with Kiplin; in Ainderby Steeple, Northallerton, Scorton, Cowton, Hipswell and Morton on Swale. And underrepresented communities including adults with learning and/or physical disabilities, and refugees.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with Northdale (Northallerton) and the Refugee Council on this work. By working alongside them we can ensure our interpretation engages a wider range of people, helping to bring difference audiences to Kiplin.”
The Hall was restored in 2000 and opened as a museum. Alongside the gardens, it is now run by a charitable trust and is set to celebrate its 400th anniversary in 2025.
A new welcome centre is currently being planned to better host visitors on the site, which will become home to the recently acquired Annie Marchant Kitchen and Dairy Collection, a larger tea room, gift shop and visitor welcome area.
The Interpreting Kiplin 400 project is set to improve the new gallery space in the museum and improve information displays in the gardens and grounds. The project requires a new member of staff, currently being recruited.
Etherington said: “Overall, we are aiming to better tell the stories of Kiplin’s origins and past, in a more profound, broad and engaging way. We know this will improve the visitor experience for people who have been enjoying Kiplin for years and those who are new, or have yet to discover us.”
Simon Cross, Service Manager, from local charity Northdale, will be engaging with the project.
He said: “Northdale provides training and work-based activities for adults with learning and/or physical disabilities. We are looking forward to our services users taking part in this project at Kiplin. It will give Vulnerable Adults a significant say in the stories that are told in this heritage setting, impacting how all visitors learn and enjoy this special place.”
As well as creating connections with people well rooted in the area the project also aims to create connections with people new to the area. Kiplin plans to achieve this by working alongside the Refugee Council. The Refugee Council champions refugee rights and transforms their lives.
Amanda Batcheler from the Refugee Council explained: “Heritage is a tool that can help refugees feel grounded in a new place and connected to the past. The warm welcome that Kiplin is offering to our families is a wonderful opportunity for them to learn more about the history and culture of their local area, as well as providing a much-needed place to relax and have some fun.”