Camaraderie in a crisis: Doncaster museum turns to the past to help people cope in the present

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People throughout history have come up with some pretty nifty ways of getting through a crisis, managing to escape both poverty and the loneliness and stress that often comes with it.

Now, inspired by real-life stories of local people, the team at Heritage Doncaster have created a series of inspiring hands-on history clubs – all free of charge – to explore how people from the past conquered a crisis, with friendship and fun guaranteed.

“If history tells us anything, it’s that when people come together, they can overcome any hardship –and that’s what we’re aiming to achieve with the history clubs,” explains Victoria Ryves, Learning and Community Development Manager for Heritage Doncaster.

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“Whoever you are, whatever your daily struggles, we provide a safe haven where you can come and escape from the everyday, make warm new friendships in warm places, and feel more inspired and confident for the future – maybe picking up a few tips from the past along the way!”

Just what was this used for?Just what was this used for?
Just what was this used for?

There’s no need to be a history buff – the four springtime social clubs are designed to appeal to everyone, bringing history to life with hands-on crafts – even cooking – plus games and storytelling, and a unique chance to dig deeper into Danum museum’s archives and collections. The History Clubs are:

For those who love being in the great outdoors, gather round the fireside with Back To Nature, exploring first-hand some of the ways that people from the past made the most of their natural environment, from cooking on fires to heritage crafts.

Run in collaboration with Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and WEA, these fun workshops take place at Potteric Carr Nature Reserve, every fortnight from 11 May - 20 July and 21 September – 30 November, 1pm-3pm. Sign up by emailing [email protected].

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For anyone with a passion for women’s history, don’t miss Herstory, which explores the lives and achievements of inspirational local women.

Why not join in the regular book club?Why not join in the regular book club?
Why not join in the regular book club?

Many of these historic women have been long overlooked by the history books, so this is a chance to bring their stories to life. The social club now meets bi-weekly on Wednesdays, 10am – noon, at Thorne Library.

For book-lovers, there’s the History Book Club, exploring amazing true stories from the past or digging deeper into some of the characters and themes of classic novels, recreating the past first-hand through crafts and games, but also handling real-life artefacts connected with the books the club is reading.

Meets bi-weekly on Wednesdays, 2pm until 4pm, Woodlands Community Library.

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For parents with young children, aged 2 – 5 years, come along to the Curiosity Club. With plenty of play, games and storytelling for the children, there’s a chance for parents to take a breath, and have a chat and cuppa (snack and drink included). The club takes place on Mondays every fortnight, between 12.30-1.45pm, at the Woodlands Community Library.

Victoria adds: "Our history social clubs are fun, friendly and free and we’re hoping that they can – even for a short time – help ease some of the stress people are feeling, and provide companionship, warmth and comfort.”

To get involved or find out more, visit or follow social media @DanumGLAM.

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