THE Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth has announced that it is reopening to the public on Wednesday May 19, almost 126 years to the day that the original Brontë Museum opened in 1895.

The Museum will mark the reopening after lockdown with two new exhibitions from celebrated ceramic artist Layla Khoo and Isabel Greenberg, the illustrator and writer behind the Brontë inspired graphic novel ‘Glass Town’.

‘Contemplating Hope’ by Layla Khoo is the first of two new exhibitions to take place in the Museum and will be in situ from May 2021 to May 2022.

Khoo is a multimedia 3D artist, specialising in ceramics that respond to ideas, events or collections of objects. ‘Contemplating Hope’, which was planned to take place before Covid, will feature a new, carefully crafted ceramic vessel each month into which visitors can put a slip of paper on which they have written their hopes and dreams.

The work has been inspired by ‘diary papers’ written by the Brontë sisters, which they would store in a cash box. After four years, they would revisit the papers and look back on the hopes and aspirations they had written down four years earlier. A selection of these original diary papers will also be on display. The exhibition, which was originally planned for 2020, has taken on a new meaning since the pandemic, with a focus on the future at the forefront of so many minds.

New Bronte book explores local landmarks

Harry Jelley, Audience Development Officer at the Parsonage Museum comments, “We were really excited to work with Layla Khoo having seen her previous work with the National Trust. Layla has a talent for finding emotional connections to collections and thinking about how to bring audiences closer to the stories museums tell. We first invited Layla to the Parsonage almost two years ago. She explored the collection before taking some time to reflect and develop ideas. Layla was immediately drawn to Anne and Emily’s diary papers. ‘Contemplating Hope’ emerged through a series of conversations, resulting in this installation that brings together Layla’s ceramics practice with a participatory experience that invites the audience to take a step into the Brontës’ shoes. In the turbulent times in which we live, it’s poignant how Layla has connected with the emotional and topical threads that we share with the Brontës' time: disease, political movements, ambition, apprehension, hope. We hope visitors will find some peace and calm to reflect with this installation.”

Also new to the Museum is ‘Gondal Arise!’, an installation by Isabel Greenberg, the author and illustrator of ‘Glass Town’, a graphic-not-quite-biography of the Brontës and their Juvenilia, the stories written by the Brontës in their youth. As well as original works from ‘Glass Town’, ‘Gondal Arise!’ will feature new maps by Isabel that explore Emily and Anne’s imaginary world of Gondal, bringing together the sisters’ fantasy world with the real world. The installation will be in place until December 2021.

The Museum has been closed throughout the winter and early spring and received £119,200 from Arts Council England and the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund. The funding has helped The Brontë Society, the charity responsible for the Museum, to support the Museum through the lockdown and help finance increased digital activity.

Rebecca Yorke of the Brontë Parsonage Museum Executive Team said, “Following a challenging six months we are delighted that we will soon be reopening our doors and able to welcome visitors back to the Museum. We are extremely grateful to both Arts Council England and the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport for the help of the Cultural Recovery Fund, which has been vital to us while we’ve been closed. We would also like to say a huge thank you to our supporters in Yorkshire and around the globe who have helped us in myriad of ways over the last year, and look forward to sharing these two new exhibitions with them.

The Museum is also set to announce further events for the summer in the coming weeks, including the line-up for its annual Brontë Festival of Women’s Writing.

For more information on the reopening of the Brontë Parsonage Museum and to purchase tickets, visit: Please note that social distancing and Covid safety measures will be in place throughout.