Interview: Bring Jane Home

I recently blogged about Jane Austen’s life and work since this year marks 200 year since her death at the age of 41.

I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to talk to the curator of the Jane Austen’s House Museum, Mary Guyatt, about their new wonderful campaign.

Click the above graphic for more information.

What is the Bring Jane Home campaign?

The Museum is fundraising for a programme of vital structural repairs and redecoration. We’re therefore encouraging people to donate their first Jane Austen banknote to the Museum after the notes go into circulation in September.

What kind of restorations are needed at the Jane Austen House Museum?

The house requires various kinds of work, from stabilising the brickwork of Jane’s bakehouse to replacing leaded glass window panes. The house is a Grade I Listed Building and is also home to bats, which means that any work must be very carefully planned according to the highest conservation standards.

What has the response to the campaign been like so far?

The response has been really encouraging and it is humbling to see how many people cherish the house and their memories of visiting. We still have a way to go and will keep Jane’s Fund open until we reach our target.

Because of the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death, I would imagine this summer will be an especially busy time for the museum. What’s one current or upcoming exhibition that you are especially excited about?

Our exhibition this year is called Jane Austen in 41 Objects whereby each week we showcase a different object from our collection. It is an online event as much as a physical exhibition and by the end of the year there will be 41 objects on our webpage; one object for each year that Jane Austen was alive.

How do you think Jane would feel about being on the new £10 note? And about her everlasting literary appeal?

We think Jane would have been very pleased and certainly that she would have been amused. Although she did not see huge fame in her lifetime (she published anonymously), there is evidence she did enjoy seeing the profile of her works grow as each novel was published. I also have the sense that she persisted as an author knowing that she had something very important to share.

All images are care of the Jane Austen’s House Museum.

jillianne hamilton headshotJillianne Hamilton is an author, history enthusiast, book lover, and graphic designer. Her debut novel, Molly Miranda: Thief for Hire, was shortlisted for the 2016 Prince Edward Island Book Award. Her debut non-fiction book, The Lazy Historian's Guide to the Wives of Henry VIII is now available. She lives in Charlottetown on Canada's beautiful east coast and is working on her debut historical fiction novel.
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