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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Yaffe

In charge at the cottage

I just can’t get enough of these Janeite dream jobs.

Last year, Cassandra’s Cup, the tea shop across the road from Chawton cottage, the Hampshire home where Jane Austen wrote or revised all her novels, went on the market. If I’d had a spare $1 million, I would have been tempted.

In March, we learned that Chawton cottage itself, formally known as Jane Austen’s House Museum, was looking for volunteer weekend help to cope with an expected uptick in visitors. Again, only pesky work, home and family commitments prevented me from applying.

And now the museum is again looking for help – of a loftier kind. Comes word that Chawton is seeking new trustees, who will be responsible for planning the museum’s future in the run-up to the bicentenary of Austen’s death, in 2017.

The application deadline is September 1, and especially sought-after are “individuals with fundraising, retail, arts and museum management skills.” I have none of the above, but I can still dream about the perks of Chawton trusteeship. Free admission? Discounts on Colin Firth tea towels? The right to hold after-hours soirees in Jane Austen’s parlor?


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