Ripon Museums

Ripon Museums

Our three museums tell the story of poverty, crime and punishment in Yorkshire.

Located in central Ripon, the former workhouse, prison and police station and courthouse bring Victorian times to life. They provide a powerful learning environment in which to examine social justice in the past and today, stimulating visitors to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence and develop judgement.

Ripon Museums

The grim atmosphere of the Workhouse Museum has been carefully maintained in order to give visitors a sense of what life in a Victorian workhouse could have been. The contrast between the Master and Matron’s living quarters and the vagrant’s cells is striking. The museum is also home to a Victorian schoolroom, where children took their lessons.

In the Prison & Police Museum, visitors will find whitewashed cells and barred windows. On the ground floor is a history of policing in Yorkshire from the Anglo-Saxons to the formation of professional policing. Upstairs, crime and punishment is the theme, with many hands-on activities to help imagine the horror of the Victorian prison regime.

Explore the Courthouse Museum and learn about what happened in a courtroom in the 1800s. You can even experience standing in the dock and waiting for your sentence.

School visits to Ripon Museums

Our award-winning schools programme at Ripon Museums, set in these atmospheric buildings, uses role-plays, costumed interpreters and hands-on activities for a fantastic day of active learning from KS1 to university level.

Our Museums Workhouse Day begins with Matron, who ensures that all activities, including laundry, chores, baking and rag-rugging, are carried out to her exacting standards!

The Workhouse Museum, the most complete in the UK, now includes the Main Block, which allows us to introduce segregation (the splitting of groups into boys and girls) as would have happened in the workhouse, for part of the day. Older pupils also experience the moral dilemma of being a Guardian, deciding which paupers deserve help, in our Guardians’ role-play.

Crime & Punishment Days involve taking part in a trial at the Courthouse Museum and role-play, object handling and a tour of the cells at the Prison & Police Museum.

Rich & Poor Days are set in across all three of Ripon Museums in an experience which provides an insight into the background of crime and punishment and the social and moral setting of Dicken’s Christmas Carol and other Victorian literature.

Our programme offers curriculum links in History, English, Citizenship, Social Moral Cultural and Spiritual.

We also have a vibrant family learning programme during school holidays, as well as an exciting events and exhibition programme running throughout the year.

Contact the Educational Visits UK team to help plan your next school trip.



Disabled Access, Disabled Toilets, Guide Dogs Welcome,


Cater for Educational Groups, Coach Parties Welcome, Conference Facilities, Groups Welcome, Pre visit Available, Risk Assessment Available,


Shop, Toilets,


No toilets or disabled access available at The Courthouse Museum





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    The Workhouse Museum, Sharow View, Allhallowgate, Ripon , HG4 1LE

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