View Past & Present Exhibitons

Exhibitions about the heritage of the Washburn Valley are central to our work: we are a heritage centre, financed largely by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Permanent Exhibitions

We have two permanent exhibitions:

  1.  in the lobby of the Washburn Heritage Centre there is the Fewston Assemblage exhibition which opened in January 2017. It focuses on the remains and artefacts recovered from the churchyard before the site for the Heritage Centre was excavated in 2009. In this exhibition, scientific research combines with social history to tell a unique and fascinating story. There are examples of artefacts recovered with the remains eg coffin plates and clay pipes, a video of showing many aspects of the project and also two reconstructed heads creating striking visual reminders of George Lister and Elizabeth Dibb. The reconstructed head of George is shown on the right. 
  2. in Fewston Church there a number of display boards situated in the entrance porch, the bell tower and on the north wall of the church. These feature
    1. the History of Fewston Church from its 14th century tower and its rebuilding in 1697 – one of very few examples from this period in Yorkshire –  to recent renovations.
    2. the History of the Bells and their renovation and rehanging.
    3. A Time-Line with a chronological listing of important happenings in and around the Washburn Valley through the ages.

There is also a walk-around exhibition located towards the back of church featuring the human and natural history of the Washburn Valley with information on local flora and fauna, famous local people in history and the social history of the area including the Victorian textile mill era, and the building of the reservoirs. 

Temporary Exhibitions


A temporary exhibition is on display in the Centre throughout the year. Each exhibition is based on a specific theme and lasts for 4 months. The themes are linked to our programmes of events and have included War and the Washburn Valley, Local Hostelries, Shaping the Valley and Sheep.  Each exhibition is researched and devised by a different team of volunteers – and new recruits are always welcome! All the exhibition panels are added to the Centre’s archive. 


The exhibition can be viewed whenever the Centre is open – for a programme event or during Tea Room opening hours.


In addition n to the current exhibition, information from past exhibitions is available from our Archive. We have been open since February 2011, displaying on average three exhibitions per year so a wealth of material is stored. The Archive is retained digitally.  For details of our searchable handlist of items and where you can find out how to request information from the Archive and associated fees please click here.

Could you play a role?

Are you interested in the Washburn Valley? Being part of a programme team is a great way to learn more about the Valley and to meet people who are similarly enthusiastic. The programmes, of which the exhibitions are a major part, are very much part of what we do and what we are – interpreters of the heritage of the Washburn Valley.

Teams of volunteers are responsible for researching all possible sources of material for the programme theme, capitalising on local knowledge, searching the Centre’s archive and collecting useful memorabilia, objects and visual material for exhibiting. The theme team decides what to include, and composes the text that will explain the images and photos on each panel on the walls. The panels are designed to interpret each theme for our visitors. Selected objects and memorabilia are collected and placed in a display cabinet, with acknowledgements. 

A ‘hanging team’ is responsible for assembling and mounting the panels on the walls and organising the display cabinet.


If you think you would be interested in any part of this please visit the Volunteer page for more information.

View Past & Present Exhibitons