At last, Branwell Brontë’s bicentenary year is underway!

We opened our doors to the public on Wednesday February 1, and invited Brontë Society members from all over the UK to a private view of the exhibition on the Friday.

We had a huge response to the invite, so we booked our neighbouring venue, the Old School Room, and entertained guests in this historic building – founded by Patrick Brontë, and where his children taught local school children – before they were escorted over to the museum to see what we’d been up to throughout January.

Our creative partner for 2017, poet Simon Armitage, read one of his new poems – written in response to a number of Branwell objects from our collection – and surprised guests with mention of The Smiths and Manchester United.

If you want to find out more about Simon’s take on Branwell Brontë, and his referencing of popular cultural icons, then visit the museum and read Simon’s poems for yourself.

Also new, and very exciting, is the recreation of Branwell’s bedroom in one of the historic rooms in the museum – the result of a collaboration with the BBC production team behind To Walk Invisible.

And dotted through the museum are costumes from the show. If you use Twitter or Facebook, you’ll probably find some pictures of the new exhibits, but better to visit the museum and see them in the flesh!

Our new events programme is now out, so pick one up to discover what we’re up to for the first half of the year.

We have activities planned for half-term, so it’s a good time to visit with children.

Our popular Wild Wednesday workshops are back, and local artist Rachel Lee will join us for some upcycling.

Free talks will be taking place and Branwell’s closest friend, John Brown, will be popping into the Parsonage to share anecdotes about Branwell.

The first talk is about Charlotte’s remarkable life-long friend Mary Taylor, who Charlotte met at school.

2017 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of the feminist and politically active Mary Taylor, so we’re marking the occasion with a talk on Sunday February 26 at 2pm.

And our free Tuesday talk on March 7 promises to be entertaining – entitled ‘Bad Beyond Expression’, it explores allegations of Branwell’s affair with a married woman for whom he worked.

We have a few tickets left for our first Parsonage Unwrapped of the year, on February 24, so book now if you’re interested in learning more about the various Brontë film and tv adaptations that have appeared over the years.

We also launch our brand new Treasures sessions this month, so if you want to treat yourself – or someone special – to an intimate close-up viewing of some of our collection objects, then book via the website or call 01535 640192.