PRgloo out of the box

Ryedale District Council launches unique history project to pull the past ‘out of the box’

A new project that brings Ryedale’s history to life has been launched to get museum objects into the community and talked about.

Ryedale District Council and MakeMore Arts have joined forces with five Ryedale museums to launch the Out of the Box project to share the amazing repositories of artefacts and curiosities in the district’s museums with communities, teachers and students.

Robert Harper, Acting Director of Place and Resources for Ryedale District Council said: “Ryedale has an array of wonderful objects and we wanted to bring these objects to life for schools, community groups and care homes – as well as anyone in the district with a passion for history.”

This was made possible by pulling together objects and resources from five independent museums: Malton Museum, the North York Moors Railway, Beck Isle Museum, Ryedale Folk Museum, and the Woodham-Stone Collection.

As well as sharing a range of objects across four key themes – Ryedale’s Romans, shopping in the past, travel and tourism and World War One – a series of interactive videos have been developed to support with deeper engagement with the objects within school settings and community groups.

The project developed from conversations with local teachers in a post-pandemic landscape, when it became clear that during lockdown many youngsters had missed out on opportunities for social interaction and class discussions.

Rosie Barrett, Museum Education Consultant who runs MakeMore Arts said: “Talking is something that we often take for granted. It can be really easy to overlook the significance of this skill, even though we know, when we stop to think about it, how important it is in the twenty-first century.”

A set of the videos created for Out of the Box strongly supports with classroom conversations by raising questions then encouraging teachers to pause the videos for discussion. The website also includes photos and information about each object, explanation of tricky vocabulary, and a set of ‘talking points’.

“We wanted to put the needs of schools and community groups at the heart of the project. Over recent weeks, we’ve been talking to Ryedale teachers about the resources and how they might use them, and it’s been really encouraging to see their positive responses,” explains Ms Barrett. “We’ve been invited into schools to share the website with all members of staff and teachers have told us how they are embedding elements into their schemes of learning.”

As well as showcasing historical objects, Out of the Box also celebrates these local stories and heritage, by taking a strongly place-based approach.

Robert Harper added: “By pulling together resources, talking points, photos and the story behind each object, it’s hoped that our communities will discover a new-found love of history, right on their doorstep.”

Some of the objects highlighted include a Roman brick containing a child’s footprint, giving us an insight into daily life in Roman Malton and Norton; gingerbread moulds from the 1820s, casting light on this traditional local food; and a tiny loaf of white bread allegedly made with the very last white flour in the UK in 1917.

Cllr Di Keal, Chair of Policy and Resources Committee said: 

"It's great to see such an amazing variety of artefacts being highlighted as part of this project. Ryedale District Council is working closely with teachers and schools in Ryedale to ensure that this archive is promoted in classrooms across the district." 

The resources and key information are available at