Peak District museum volunteers win race to reopen after flood repairs

As the Peak District tourist season ramped up over the Easter weekend, a group of committed volunteers were pleased to reopen one of the park’s most visited museums following work to repair major flood damage.
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As previously reported, Castleton Museum – housed in the village’s national park visitor centre – was shut in February to address issues caused by Storm Babet in October 2023.

It had taken some time for the extent of the problems to materialise, but when the floor of the visitor centre began to crack and lift the work became urgent.

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One of the worst affected parts of the building was the museum space. It had already been roped off for safety reasons, but the closure of the whole building began a race against time for the Castleton Historical Society, which maintains the museum.

Castleton Historical Society spent several weeks working to reopen its flood-hit museum space. (Photo: Contributed)Castleton Historical Society spent several weeks working to reopen its flood-hit museum space. (Photo: Contributed)
Castleton Historical Society spent several weeks working to reopen its flood-hit museum space. (Photo: Contributed)

They carried out the careful work of emptying the exhibits, storing artefacts out of harm’s way and then returning them once the floor had been replaced.

Chair of trustees Maria Kenyon said: “We are not quite there yet as there are still some technical issues to be resolved, but it was a huge relief to be open again for all our visitors over the Easter weekend.

“We are also taking the opportunity to make a few changes to our displays and we never stop thinking of new ways to share our village history with local people and visitors alike.”

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This demonstration of the society’s important role in preserving the park’s heritage is set against a background of fresh uncertainty over the future of the visitor centre, and whether volunteers will have to relaunch their campaign to keep the doors open.

Plans to close the centre permanently were put on hold last summer when the Peak District National Park Authority received a significant external donation to ease budget concerns.

However, the authority has since commissioned consultants to undertake a further review of its visitor centre operations and their findings are due to be published at the end of May.

A report published at the start of February noted: “The generous donation we received to keep visitor centres open means we have time to really understand how they are performing and to consider ways in which they can change so that they can become financially sustainable.”

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