70th Anniversary Exhibition ‘Making the Museum’We reopen for our 70th anniversary year this coming Friday 1 February, following a jam-packed January of maintenance, exhibition installation, conservation cleaning and much more!
Jane Austen’s House first opened to the public 70 years ago, on 23 July 1949. Since then it has welcomed over a million visitors and has become one of the most important and best-loved literary sites in the world.
Join us in this special year to see our brand new exhibition, Making the Museum, which tells the story of 70 years worth of strong characters, hard work, luck and determination that has gone in to preserving this unique place of ‘pilgrimage’ for Jane Austen devotees from across the world.
The story of the Museum began in the 1940s when the newly-founded Jane Austen Society ran a fundraising campaign to save the house, which had fallen into disrepair. This caught the attention of Mr T Edward Carpenter, a London lawyer, who went on to buy the house for the nation in memory of his son who had been killed in action in WWII. He established the Jane Austen Memorial Trust to run the house as a museum.
This display of objects and stories throughout the house reveals how generations of devotees have gone about making the Museum the special place you see today. Learn the story of the Museum itself – from the first objects on display and the building of the collection, to the ways in which the house has been repaired, preserved and displayed over the last 70 years.
Visitors to the exhibition will also be amongst the first to view the recently discovered last lines of a Jane Austen letter, unearthed from within a nineteeth-century autograph album. A highlight of our Making the Museum exhibition, the album is on public display for the first time since surfacing at auction in 2017.
Although we are closed to the public, January is one of the busiest times of the year here at the Museum!
We want to say a huge thank you to our wonderful staff and volunteers for their hard work during our closure period. The Museum is looking at its very best after a month of cleaning historic furniture, creating new displays in the shop, gardening, IT upgrades, and exhibition installation.
We look forward to welcoming you to the Museum during this special celebratory year. For our full programme of special anniversary events, please visit our What’s On page.