THOUSANDS of schoolchildren are likely to whoop with delight at Ryedale Folk Museum’s victory.

All of them annually converge on Ryedale Folk Museum, in Hutton-Le-Hole, to see the best of our regional culture preserved there.

They see for themselves the saved and reconstructed buildings depicting life in eras ranging from the Iron Age through medieval and wartime structures.

They find it thrilling seeing a blacksmith doing his stuff at a working forge, an Iron Age round house or prints made on an old Victorian mangle in the wash house.

For example, last June 559 pupils from 13 schools, dressed as wartime refugees, turned up for Second World War fortnight, many of them doing their own ration book cooking, manufacturing “make do and mend” rag rugs and listening to Land Army veterans talk of their wartime adventures.

Run by ten permanent staff, including director Mike Benson, and 150 volunteers, the organisation also has two dedicated learning managers who this year organised 23 placements for year ten and 12 students and long-term placements for graduates and under-graduates.

The judges enthused over what they described as “an inspirational business that has transformed the perception of the ‘dry museum’ into an exciting place of interest that people of all ages can enjoy”.

In one year alone, 5,000 young people visited the museum – and that does not include those on the outreach programmes and placements, nor does it include paying visitors.

It was clear that the “hands on” approach, helped young people to understand their heritage and how people historically used to live.

They gained practical and social skills, boosted their confidence and gained experience that was valuable towards their future careers.

It was, said the judges “a great example of business and education links.”

Best Employment And Education Link

Winner: Ryedale Folk Museum

Finalists: Drax Power Ltd and Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust