in Hampshire will reopen its doors to the public on Saturday 8 August with tickets being released for sale today.
Following the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the House, where Austen lived and completed all her novels, faced a severely uncertain future with the prospect of complete closure before the end of the year. Forced to close to the public during lockdown and with the loss of all income generated via admissions, the House launched a survival appeal and were overwhelmed by support from fans and donors from across the globe, with almost £100,000 raised to date. The House have also been fortunate enough to receive emergency funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
Jane Austen’s House Director, Lizzie Dunford says: “It is utterly delightful to be able to welcome visitors back to Jane’s home. To see shutters thrown open, dusters wielded and light and life returning to this special place is extraordinary; we simply cannot thank our generous supporters enough for their help in getting us through these dark months.”
In order to welcome back visitors safely, numbers will be significantly limited on site as well as in the House itself and all tickets must be booked in advance via the website. Usual ticket concessions will apply and the House are delighted to introduce a new concession for NHS workers. Whilst it will be a different experience for visitors, it will be a far more intimate one. Those seeking even more of a unique experience will be able to purchase, for the very first time, a special ticket which provides exclusive access to the House (for up to 15 people) for one hour.
As well as being the first to view new objects on display, visitors will be treated to a new, multi-sensory experience, using scent and sound to bring the House to life. In a bold new imagining of the House, visitors will step back in time to 1816 to experience aspects of the Austens’ daily life – including Jane’s early morning piano practice and a leisurely family breakfast.
Visitors will also be able to see evidence of the new Jane Austen’s House brand identity, launched at the start of the year and funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund as part of a Resilient Heritage project. Design consultancy Pentagram took inspiration from the wallpaper and furniture in the House as well as Jane’s jewellery, letters and handwriting. The logomark is based on a letter ‘A’ found in one of Jane’s letters and the secondary logo is inspired by Jane’s iconic 12-sided writing table which sits in the Drawing Room.
Jane Austen’s House will initially be open four days a week, from Thursday – Sunday, with tickets released every month. Additional safety measures in place include encouraging visitors to wear face coverings, an enhanced one-way system, a 2 metre social distancing policy, hand sanitiser stations, thorough and more frequent cleaning procedures, personal protective equipment for staff and contactless payment in the gift shop. The House have been given the Good to Go seal of approval from Visit England and will continue to monitor guidance from the government and Public Health England to ensure the safety of its visitors. The team at Jane Austen’s House are incredibly grateful to the public for their support in enabling the House to survive and are delighted to be welcoming back visitors in August.