Recently both our Certificate of English for International Study and our International Foundation Year Programmes went to Chawton. To visit both Jane Austin’s home (now a museum) and Chawton House Library which was her brother’s home. It’s just one of many excursions that we build into our programmes.
While classroom learning and independent study are the core of a solid education, there are sometimes things to be gained from getting out of the classroom and visiting relevant locations to get a feel for how things are in real life. Whether that’s visiting a historic location or an art gallery to see paintings first hand, changing the context and mode of learning can be a huge benefit and can both reinforce as well as enrich knowledge.
Here are some of the (unedited) comments from students who went on the trip.
Chawton House Library:
My most favourite room of the library was a room having bookshelves. It was a historical and beautiful room. I liked the hidden shelf in the room.
Old people were also using wig sign to avoid witches.
Garden which has a gate was beautiful.
The oak room is my favourite part of this short journey. Its special smells make me feel relax and comfortable. The corridor which I also like; it was fun to imagine how Jane Austen and other ladies who live in this house before walk on it.
There were a lot of flowers and they were so beautiful (garden).
Sofa was really comfortable and big stove was so nice. I wanted to relax there more.
Secret space in the library made me exciting. I thought it’s like films!
Garden was so lovely.
There were lots of picture of people who were related to Jane Austin and I could enjoy them.
So polite explanation.
I could know about history and growth.
The library was so lovely and brilliant!
I enjoyed the explanation as well.
As well as the care and detail in which the house, library and garden has been kept special attention was also given to the secret bookshelf and the sense of ‘walking into history’. Many houses at the time would have had secret shelves, cupboards or even rooms to hide valuable or dangerous things.
Jane Austin’s House:
I though Jane Austen’s house was cute. I like a brick fireplace and a cute white bed.
I like the kitchen, the fireplaces are new and interesting for me.
The kiln to burn bread.
The exhibition is great. However, there is just four things that can touch and see and if they can point me which book that Jane Austen may read it will be great.
We could experience Jane Austen’s era. For example, we could wear costume of the age and make lavender bag.
There were many books which is written by many languages. I found Japanese books so I felt happy.
Before seeing Jane Austen’s house, we could watch a short film of her life. It was good.
Not just seeing the house, we could enjoy wearing clothes and making lavender bag.
House was very beautiful. We could know about Jane Austen more.
We could enjoy making flavour bag.
I could get lovely souvenir.
It was fun that I could try wearing traditional clothes and making a lavender cologne sachet (plus playing the piano).
Dressing in period costume,
(also available here and here )seeing the house and especially the kitchen all help us imagine life at the time, and is popular for many museums . As for the sense of living history there are any number of places that make this real for visitors and it is the essence of why we visit places like this.