ONE of the smallest museums in south Cumbria is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

Kendal’s tiniest gallery, tucked inside a 200-year-old Georgian Meeting House, has welcomed more than 350,000 people since it opened its doors in April 1994.

The Quaker Tapestry museum, one of VisitEngland ‘hidden gems’ , consists of an exhibition space and a gift shop, as well as a large room that would have once held around 850 people for worship and community gatherings.

The museum is looked after by a small team of staff along with a dedicated band of volunteers.

Important milestones have been reached since the establishment opened, including the permanent installation of the world’s largest community textile, and expanding the museum’s experience to include embroidery workshops and a creative writing workshop.

It has achieved a number of industry accolades, such as the North West ‘Small Visitor Attraction’ in 2008, Museum Accreditation in 2009 and holding a Red Rose Marque since 2008.

General manager Bridget Guest, who has been in charge of the museum since it opened, said that it was down to the “hard work” and “dedication” of many people that has resulted in Kendal having a “wonderful museum”.

“The hard work and dedication of many people, past and present, has resulted in a wonderful museum for the local community, schools and visitors,” she said.

“Museums help make somewhere a great place to live and visit and we think ours does too.

“We are a place of learning, stimulating ideas and creativity.”

Since 1999, the gallery has also established tapestry tours and travelling roadshows, which have gained some celebrity support throughout the years.

English comedienne and actress Victoria Wood CBE opened the first roadshow followed by actress Sheila Hancock CBE and British scientist Dame Mary Archer DBE.

“Our travelling roadshows have brought people back to Kendal,” said Ms Guest.

“It’s helping to contribute to the town’s economic vitality.

“So too has our café enterprise by using local products, providing local jobs and helping people to prepare for work through traineeships.”

In response to Storm Desmond in 2015 the museum started the ‘flood tapestry’ project, which allowed people to reflect on their experience and produce something that is now a valued exhibit.

Ms Guest is urging people to support their local museum. She said there were lots of good reasons to ensure that galleries and museums remained a viable part of the community life in Kendal.