A HAPPY New Year from everyone at the Bronte Parsonage Museum!

We’re in the midst of our closed period, which is the time of year when the museum gets a ‘deep clean’.

Every object – big and small – from teaspoons to tables – is carefully examined for signs of deterioration and then very carefully cleaned.

It’s an exciting time in the museum, particularly for those for whom this is their first experience of the closed period.

Deputy museum managers Pete Dilley and David Sweeney both joined the museum this year, and so I asked them to describe their favourite ‘find’ of the closed period.

Both mentioned the signature ‘C Bronte 1853’ inscribed under the dining room table.

Is it really Charlotte’s signature? Some believe so, but our Principal Curator Ann Dinsdale thinks not, asking the sensible question, why on earth would she sign the underside of a table?!

Perhaps the carpenter who made the table (the appropriately named William Wood) inscribed it with the name of his customer? A mystery it seems!

Despite being closed for January, our shop is open, we have a daily short talk at noon, and we have programmed some events for our closed period.

The final event, taking place on Saturday 2 February, is our popular ‘Winter Wander’ storytelling walk.

In 2019 we’re marking the life and legacy of the Reverend Patrick Bronte, the inspiring and unconventional father of the famous Bronte sisters and a remarkable campaigner and reformer in his own right, and this walk will uncover the stories and secrets of the village Mr Bronte would have known.

You might run into local characters like the sexton John Brown or Aunt Branwell, or even visiting health inspector Mr Babbage, as our Museum Guides share their stories of the extraordinary Mr Bronte.

The walk is approximately 45 minutes, and you can book for 11am or 2pm; tickets cost £6/£4. Meet outside the Old School Room, Church Street, and please book in advance at www.bronte.org.uk/whats-on or call 01535 640192.

We reopen to the public on Monday February for, and are looking forward to revealing our new exhibition entitled ‘Patrick Bronte: In Sickness and in Health’.

The exhibition explores how illness, poor health and death plagued Patrick’s life; not to mention the life of his parishioners.

Haworth in the time of the Brontes was comparable with some of the unhealthiest districts of London, and Patrick campaigned relentlessly for improvements to public health.

With this in mind, later in the year we will be launching a community project aimed at discovering what Haworth was like when the Bronte family arrived in early 1820.

The Brontes make the area unique and worth celebrating, and this is an opportunity for individuals, families, schools, community groups, and local businesses to get together and do so!

More on that to follow, but please get in touch with me at diane.fare@bronte.org.uk if you want to express an interest in getting involved in some way.

And more from me next time about the great events we have coming up in the first half of 2019!