11 Jul 2019

Reading Museum is looking forward to Jane Austen Day on Saturday 27 July 2019. We will be holding a host of activities including: a Jane Austen tour and a talk, an embroidery drop-in in the morning and a musical performance by Austentation. Visitors will also be able to meet Jane Austen in the form of Annie, one of our new costumed interpreters! Join us at Reading Museum on the 27 July to learn about Jane Austen’s experience when she went to school here in Reading!

Costumed interpreters looking at museum objects
Annie and Mary at Forbury Fiesta

Annie Spencer tells us about her first day out as Jane Austen and why she is looking forward to becoming Jane Austen again on the 27th of July:

“At the Forbury Fiesta on the 11th May I took part by embodying Jane Austen for the first time and attempting to intrigue the public with her connection to the town of Reading. I’m currently reading Archaeology at the University of Reading, so it was really exciting to feel like I was learning more about the town and I also love dressing up in period clothing, so this opportunity seemed perfect to marry my passion for history with wearing fancy dresses. Funnily, on the day, I looked so natural in the costume that there was a lot of confusion about the get-up, with a few people asking if we were ‘with the museum’ or just ‘dressed like that normally’!

 Before turning up on the day, I did a lot of research about Jane herself and her schooldays. This was very interesting but has led to my friends enduring Jane Austen facts for weeks. Hopefully, they didn’t mind it so much: there always seems to be more to learn. This did help me to feel comfortable showing up on the day, as I knew I could answer questions and have more fun in the role.

I had a great time dressing up as a costumed interpreter, and a lot of fun with my fellow ‘class-mate’ Mary and the other volunteers! I can’t wait to step back into her shoes soon.”

Mary Ing is another of our new costumed interpreters stepping up to become Jane Austen’s school friend. Annie and Mary really enjoyed walking around together in their regency costumes and taking on their roles. Mary tells us why she became a costumed interpreter below:

“After seeing a tweet advertising for the voluntary role as a costumed interpreter, I was instantly drawn to what I would do with this. Being a fan of Jane Austen and her work as well as the late Georgian/Regency era, I knew it was something I’d enjoy. I have enjoyed dressing up for multiple different events, including historical dress, meaning getting to dress up in a dress of my favourite historical era was incredibly fun.

Wearing the dress had an effect that meant my posture immediately changed, which in itself was an enjoyable experience.

Interacting with the public was fun, some were curious as to why we were dressed up, and some wanted to know more of the history, while others simply complemented the costume. Some visitors asked for pictures- showing how interested they were in what we were doing.

We luckily avoided the rain and continued, once it passed, to interact with the public.

I very much enjoyed the experience and am keenly looking forward to future events.”

See you there!

We can’t wait for our Jane Austen day and we hope to see you there!