2016 marks the 200th anniversary of Charlotte Brontë’s birth meaning that it’s a great year for schools to visit the Brontë Parsonage Museum.
The Brontë Society was founded in 1893, making it one of the oldest literary societies in the world. The charity runs the Brontë Parsonage Museum, where schools will find The Brontë collections and a contemporary arts programme which includes literary events, exhibitions, artistic responses and festivals.
The museum library is home to a comprehensive collection of Brontë manuscripts, letters, early editions of the novels and poetry and secondary material on the famous family and their work. Inside the museum, students can see the entrance hall, the dining room, Branwell’s studio, Mr Brontë’s study, Charlotte’s room and an exhibition room among others.
As well as a visit to the museum, schools can book onto a variety of different workshops.
The Key Stage 1 and 2 Hands-On History workshop allows children to see and hold historic artefacts, exploring the way in which objects are used in museums. Pupils will be encouraged to think about what they would have learned and how they would have spent their free time if they were living in the Parsonage when the Brontës were children and how their lives might compare with children’s today.
The Key Stage 2 High Waving Heather workshop has links to Science (Life Processes), History (Victorian Britain, Local History), Geography (How the environment is changing) and Citizenship on the National Curriculum. Schools will explore the moors that inspired the Brontë family, discover its creatures and plants and discover how to protect it on this cross-curricular workshop.
The Key Stage 2 History Walk workshop will encourage children to think about how they might spend their days if they were a child in Haworth living in the Brontës’ day. They’ll answer questions about how their parents might have earned a living and how long they could have been expected to live, whilst taking a walk around Haworth. Children will visit the churchyard and Main Street to look for evidence to answer these questions.
There are also workshops available for Key Stages 3 and 4 and further education, and any workshop can be tailored to a school’s needs.
The Brontë Parsonage Museum also has different exhibitions running throughout the year.
Currently there is Charlotte Great and Small, which has seen the parsonage’s creative partner, Tracy Chevalier, put together an exhibition which uses objects and quotations to explore the contrast between Charlotte’s constricted life and her ambition.
For more information visit www.bronte.org.uk.