“Let me introduce you to a heroine. Her name was Dorothy Gwynnyd Darnell. It is thanks to this remarkable woman that we can today visit the Jane Austen House Museum in Chawton.”
These words marked the beginning of a feature talk I presented at a Jane Austen Society of Australia meeting recently.
Do you know how Jane Austen’s home at Chawton, which was rapidly becoming derelict, was saved for the nation? Do you know the story of the remarkable woman who managed to do this? I’ve discovered what motivated this quiet achiever and I’ll share Dorothy Darnell’s amazing accomplishment in this talk.
Why do people want to visit the homes of famous writers? What drives us to go to such houses, what should be put on display there, and what is the function and role of a literary museum. In this talk, I delve into the whys and wherefores of a literary house museum, discusses what it is that visitors hope to gain from such an experience, and what the responsibilities of curators are.
This 55-minute video is the feature talk from a live recording of a recent Jane Austen Society meeting.