THIS morning was spent organising the return of Elizabeth Gaskell’s escritoire (or writing desk!) that we have had on loan from Manchester Museum.

We have also been introducing our new collections intern, Alana to the role. She will be working with staff, including Collections Manager and the Library and Collections Officer for the next six months to gain experience in the museum.

Alana will also be writing this column in future, keeping you up to date on all things Bronte related.

It’s been a busy month. Last week, we were alerted to a Charlotte Bronte letter coming up for sale by auction, the next day! Sadly, we were unsuccessful in our bids as it sold for double the estimated price.

We were disappointed that we couldn’t bring the letter back home to the place where it was written over 150 years ago.

To lift our spirits though, we were thrilled to receive an exciting donation to the collection. An ivory quill-cutter which the Bronte family would have used to sharpen their quills before they put quill to paper!

This was an important tool in the Bronte household and was probably used many times by the young Bronte children to achieve such miniscule handwriting inside their tiny books, and later in life for writing their letters, poems and novels. We will display the quill-cutter from February 2015.

The year 2016 marks 200 years since the birth of Charlotte Bronte and there will be celebrations all over the world.

We have been putting together a list of objects to exhibit at the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York to commemorate the bicentenary, which will include a Charlotte Bronte dress, a selection of her artwork, and one of the famous handmade ‘little books’.

The exhibition will travel between the National Portrait Gallery in London, the Parsonage, and finally the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York throughout 2016.

Staff have also been star-spotting in Haworth! Actress Drew Barrymore visited the museum, taking some time out from shooting scenes for Missing You Already, and she was later spotted in the Black Bull, Branwell’s favourite pub!

We also welcomed famous folk singer Maddy Prior who took a guided tour of the museum and came in to the library for a special treasures session.

Last Saturday we held a water colour painting workshop at the very atmospheric Ponden Hall. Sue Newby our Learning Officer, who organised the workshop, said: “The painting was really enjoyable and people produced some lovely work, but the highlight of the day might just have been the incredible home- made cake made by our host Julie Akhurst!

“Ponden Hall is such an inspiring environment for any creative activity that we do hope to repeat it in the future; in fact we have a writing workshop booked for October 25 run by Hebden Bridge based author Anne Caldwell.”

We have some tickets left, so if you are interested in booking please contact Sue on 01535 640185 or email

This year we will be getting involved in the National Big Draw event during the October half term holidays. Details will appear shortly on our website.