HAPPY New Year from the Parsonage! And what a start to the year!

We had thought that Branwell’s bi-centenary year might be less ‘high-profile’ than Charlotte’s, but the Christmas airing of To Walk Invisible resulted in one of our busiest days ever on January 2.

Despite the fact that we shut for our annual closed period on January 3, visitors have continued to arrive, hoping for a glimpse of the Parsonage – so brilliantly recreated in Sally Wainwright’s drama.

Museum staff are incredibly pleased with the drama, and extremely proud to have been involved – some very literally in the closing scene!

We are now all working in the midst of a building site as necessary maintenance work is carried out, the collection is meticulously cleaned, and the museum is prepared for the new exhibition. Exhibition labels are being written, costumes prepared, and there’s some intriguing work going on in Branwell’s studio!

Simon Armitage has produced a number of evocative poems to accompany objects belonging to Branwell, and we can’t wait to share them with you. All in all, it’s very chaotic and noisy here; the sound of drills is forever in the background, but order will be restored by February 1!

Our new events programme for the first half of the year is now out, and is jam-packed with a variety of events.

Our popular free Tuesday talks (on the first Tuesday of the month) kicked off on Tuesday January 7 with a visiting speaker from the University of Hull, whose expertise was Branwell’s childhood writing.

Our first Parsonage Unwrapped of the year dives into our drama archives to look at Brontë adaptations, and no doubt Ann Dinsdale, our principal curator, will share a few secrets about behind-the-scenes activity on the set of To Walk Invisible.

Alongside these favourites are new Meet the Maker evenings for the spring/summer months and brand new Brontë Treasures sessions, which offer a unique opportunity to go beyond the security cord into the Parsonage Library for a close-up viewing of some of the collection items not on display.

During these special hour-long sessions, a member of our curatorial team will share facts and stories about a number of carefully-selected objects, offering a specialist insight into the lives and works of the Brontës.

Fascinating and moving, Brontë Treasures is a perfect gift for a Brontë fan, so if you’re stuck for a Valentines or Mother’s Day gift, this is one which will make someone very happy.

We are running these new Treasures sessions just once a month throughout the year – on the last Friday of the month – and tickets cost £85. Places are limited to 12, so book quickly if it’s for a special occasion.

On a more frivolous note, we’re marking the arrival of the Tour de Yorkshire at the end of April with our very own Parsonage Poet on a Bike – come up to the museum to see what that’s all about! – and we’re marking the arrival of the Flying Scotsman at the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway in April with our very own Branwell Off the Rails? talks.

Here’s to a ‘flying’ start to 2017! For details of any events call 01535 640192 or visit bronte.org.uk/whats-on.