RYEDALE Folk Museum is preparing for a very special Christmas event, designed to showcase the attraction’s unique insight into life in the North York Moors – at Christmas

In keeping with its tradition of telling stories of Yorkshire life from the Iron Age to the 20th Century, the event will explore Christmases past from a range of time periods.

‘Christmas Through Time’ will take place during the weekend of December 7 and 8, with a focus on the changing traditions and festivities.

“In a sense, it will be like time travelling across the Museum,” said Museum Director, Jennifer Smith. “Our different buildings will be brought to life by costumed interpreters and a variety of hands-on experiences, as visitors discover how the festive season would have looked, felt, smelt, sounded and tasted across a range of eras.”

The open-air museum has 20 heritage buildings, reflecting rural life all the way from prehistory to a 1950’s village store. Many of the buildings were moved stone by stone from the surrounding villages and provide the perfect, authentic settings for a host of magical, Christmassy activities.

Jennifer said: “We’re really excited to be able to offer so many different experiences within one event, celebrating Christmases past in their own historic settings. After all, what better place than a Tudor cruck cottage to discover the world of Tudor Christmas feasting or sup on a glass of wassail punch? York Birds of Prey Centre will also be on site to help visitors learn about the method of hunting with birds during Tudor times, particularly important for making sure there was food on the table at Christmas.”

“There’ll also be the chance to explore the impact of key historic events on Christmas. “Take World War Two,” said Jennifer. “Rationing affected everything - from the decorations adorning people’s houses and villages, to the food on their dinner plates. We’re holding a NAAFI café in the Museum’s village hall so that visitors can experience the ‘make do and mend’ approach to Christmas for themselves – and sample Camp Coffee too if they want,”

With a range of performances scheduled throughout the event, it looks set to be an exciting and busy weekend. “We’ve got so much going on, with dancing by Arbeau and the Minster Strays, traditional Mummery plays by the Knaresborough Mummers, a range of singing groups and music from Kirkbymoorside Brass Band, and, of course, lots of creative crafts for all the family,” says Jennifer.

Jennifer said: “But we couldn’t hold a Christmas event without welcoming back our green-garbed Victorian Father Christmas. He’ll be ensconced in his festive grotto again this year and is always extremely popular with families. It’s a lovely opportunity to find out more about how the role developed, before he went red!”

“The shift towards ‘Christmas Through Time’ has enabled the Museum to explore some more unusual periods too, with the reconstructed Iron Age Roundhouse the base for discovering the winter festivities which would have occupied our pre-Christian ancestors each year.

“We really think there’s going to be something for everyone, whatever your interests.

The Museum is also holding a festive evening on Wednesday, December 4, where you can experience some of the buildings ready for Christmas during twilight.

‘Christmas Through Time’ runs on December 7 and 8, from 10am– 4pm. It is free for under 16s and annual pass holders with a valid pass; an adult ticket costs £5.

Visit the website for more information www.ryedalefolkmuseum.co.uk/events/