I started volunteering at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House towards the end of February, undertaking my placement here as part of the completion of my Master’s degree, at MMU. Whilst studying Public History and Heritage, my volunteering at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House has helped me get a better sense of the public history, industry, and the local heritage. When I discovered that Elizabeth Gaskell’s House was one of the places available to do my placement, I was immediately intrigued and excited at the opportunity; to learn more about the Gaskells and the Victorian period, whilst gaining invaluable experience.
Although I have only been volunteering at the House for a comparatively short time, I have felt so welcomed by the other volunteers, and you immediately feel a sense of community and friendship as soon as you enter. I have learnt so much from the other volunteers, both about the Gaskells and about Victorian culture more widely, pointing me in the right direction for my research at university.
I have also had the opportunity to be involved in cataloguing items for the House, to help towards gaining museum status. This was a really fun and interesting session, seeing all the different items kept within the House, and how these are catalogued.
My favourite room in the house has to be the Dining Room (pictured left). I feel this is the heart of the house, and is the room where you can most envisage Elizabeth and the family. I have learnt a lot in this room about Elizabeth’s process and inspiration for writing, and how her stories came to be the classics we know today. I also find it especially interesting in this room to learn about her relationships with other famous authors of the time, particularly her difficult relationship with Charles Dickens!
This blog was written by Olivia Murray, Manchester Metropolitan Student and Volunteer at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House. Click here to find out more about volunteering at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House
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Elizabeth Gaskell’s House is run by Manchester Historic Buildings Trust (charity no. 1080606) and all money gained through private tours, talks, room hire and ticket sales goes towards the ongoing maintenance and running costs of the House and garden. If you would like to support the house with an additional donation you can do so via this link.