Marsh Award for Wilderspin Volunteers

We are thrilled that our Memory Café Project, launched in 2022, has been awarded a Marsh Award for Museum Learning by the British Museum and the Marsh Charitable Trust.

Our volunteers piloted a selection of objects from our collection to see how they prompted discussion and recollections among older people.  Then, Memory Boxes were put together for museum visitors to chat about over a cup of tea, and they were used too with residents from a care home as part of an intergenerational session with children from a local school.

A Chatty Café team has taken the project forward organising monthly drop-ins focussing on a theme for discussion and reminiscence.

The ‘Volunteers for Museum Learning’ Award forms part of a programme of awards presented by the Marsh Charitable Trust in the fields of science, ecology, conservation, heritage, literature and volunteering.  The aim is to recognise those volunteers who engage directly with museum visitors in any capacity.

The Museum was the winner for the East Midlands region which involved some of our volunteers attending an award ceremony at the British Museum.

Although the Museum is closed over the winter period as an energy saving measure our volunteers will be organising Open Days during which the Chatty Café will be operating along with other special family activities – and we’re putting together plans for special Chatty Café events over the winter.

Photo caption:

Wilderspin volunteers Ian Wolseley and (right) Jean Cannon and Rose Jackson with Project Coordinator Ali Bodley.

Posted on:5th November 2023

Pinocchio show times and ticket details


A fabulous family panto written and directed by Paul Tate and performd by Friends at Barton.

Show times:

Thursday 16th 7.30pm

Friday 17th 7.30pm

Saturday 18th 2.30pm & 7.30pm

Sunday 19th 2.30pm

All tickets £5

Tickets can be bought in person from the Museum between 10am and 3pm, Thursdays – Saturdays or by phone on (01652) 635172 Mondays/Tuesdays 10am to 5.30pm, Wednesday 10am – 1pm, and Thursdays/Fridays 10am to 3pm.

Posted on:23rd October 2023

Closure of The Old School Canteen

Regrettably, after seven successful years at the Museum, the Old School Canteen coffee shop has ceased trading.

The coffee shop was an independent business and despite support from the Museum charitable trust during its period of operation, during Covid, and throughout the current energy crisis, the proprietor decided that the escalating energy and catering cost pressures had become unsustainable.

We’ve been so lucky to have such a superb and unique refreshments offer for our museum visitors, and the awards it’s won are testament to its popularity with many customers from Barton and further afield.

We wish all the team every success in their new jobs and thank them for all their enthusiasm and hard work.


Posted on:6th August 2023

Caring for our Collection

Care of our museum collection is the job of our Collections Group, a small team of dedicated volunteers.  We are grateful to ongoing support of Museum Development Yorkshire who provide training and opportunities to liaise with colleagues from other museums.  They are supporting us again with training for our volunteers to show them the special cleaning methods and object handling techniques which will help ensure the long-term care of items entrusted to us.  We are currently seeking funding to install window blinds to improve protection of items on display following previous guidance support from MDY.  Museum Development Yorkshire is part of the York Museums Trust.  It provides advice and support for museums in Yorkshire and the Humber and is funded by Arts Council England.


Our Collections Group meets weekly and undertake a variety of tasks including cataloguing and adding items to our Collection as well as research and display design.  There’s much to do and new volunteers are welcome – just get in touch if you’d like to know more or see what they do.

Posted on:22nd July 2023

Humber & Wolds Rural Action at Wilderspin

Humber and Wolds Rural Action (HWRA) are now based at Wilderspin, in the Aelberry Building.

HWRA support and encourage rural communities to develop, so they can influence their own futures and secure a range of community facilities and services.

There are around 11,000 rural communities across Britain ranging from small hamlets to bustling market towns, all with their own individual character and economy. However, rural communities now find themselves at a cross-roads and action is essential in order to generate more sustainable communities and lifestyles, offering a better quality of life for all who live in the countryside, not just the affluent who can afford to live there.

With global pressures such as climate change, an ageing population and long lasting constraints on public spending, it is time to generate a new vision for our rural communities that delivers better services in different ways. Only then can we provide for the needs of both current and future generations that live, work and play in the countryside.

Their website is:

Posted on:7th July 2023

Chatty Cafe Coronation Celebration

Our Chatty Cafe is shaping-up nicely!
It developed from our Memory Cafe Project supported by the Humber Museums Partnership and is now an established twice-monthly event adjacent to our coffee shop The Old School Canteen.
Just look at the joy we had celebrating the coronation in May!
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Everyone is welcome to come along on the first Thursday each month to meet and chat with Museum volunteers and others, and on the third Thursday when we choose an optional topic to help stimulate conversation and reminisce. Both sessions run from 2p – 4pm. They’re free and booking is not required – just come along if the mood takes you.
We’ll be joined by Humber & Wolds Rural Action on Thursday 20 July to hear about their work now that they’re based at Wilderspin. But, before then, on Thursday 6 July, all are welcome to drop in for a chat “without an agenda” – between 2pm and 4pm.
Posted on:29th June 2023


It’s thirty years since the Trust, which saved the School from demolition, was set up.  Three decades on, the School is recognised as one of England’s most important schools.  It’s a significant part of British education history.

Barton Civic Society was at the forefront of saving the building and recognising its historical significance.  Saving the School was one of its early missions.  The other was to restore Barton Beck. 

Participants in those first campaigns return to see how their efforts worked out.  Join them for a quick look at the Beck (10am) before moving on to the Church School at 10.30am.  The Beck is five-minutes walk from the Wilderspin School Museum where there is ample car parking – and The Old School Canteen coffee shop for post-walk refreshment!

Saturday 4 March

Free – donations to help the work of the Civic Society and Queen Street School Preservation Trust are welcome.

Posted on:15th February 2023

Spring & Summer Opening

Our opening times resumed to Thursday – Sunday 10am – 4pm from Thursday 6 April until the autumn.

The Old School Canteen coffee shop is open as usual every week between 10am and 4pm on Thursday – Sunday inclusive.

Posted on:29th January 2023

Museum Open Days

Our next open weekend is 1 & 2 April.

The Old School Canteen coffee shop is open as usual every week between 10am and 4pm on Thursday – Sunday inclusive.

Posted on:29th January 2023

Museum Open Days

Our next open weekend is 18 & 19 March.  On the Saturday you can get creative in the Chatty Cafe where we’ve everything you need to make a mothers’ day card – whatever your age!

The Old School Canteen coffee shop is open as usual every week between 10am and 4pm on Thursday – Sunday inclusive.

Posted on:29th January 2023