Closing this week, it’s your last chance to catch Man Up!

When Chawton House’s daring exhibition opened in March 2020, it was swiftly forced to close a mere three weeks later following the nationwide Lockdown. We attempted to adapt to the situation, making Man Up! available to explore online, alongside a behind-the-scenes podcast tour.

Man Up! was given a last hurrah, re-opening with the House on May 17 for a limited time only. To celebrate, we’ve created a special Man Up! merchandise bundle for just £8, which includes a Cotton Tote Bag, Pocket Mirror and Fridge Magnet.

Of the exhibition’s reopening, Chawton House’s Communications and Public Engagement Manager and Man Up! Curator, Clio O’Sullivan says:

“Given how few people actually got to see Man Up! the first time round, I loved getting a second chance to showcase those unique stories of extraordinary women who dared to live beyond societal constraints. Even more exciting was installing new objects specifically for the re-launch. These were weapons on loan from the Hampshire Cultural Trust, including a seven barrel, 34 bore flintlock volley gun. I included these objects as a way to bring to life the perils faced by those female soldiers, sailors and pirates would have fought with weapons such as these:

However, my favourite object that forms the collection for Man Up! remains this stunningly evocative piece on loan from the Brontë Parsonage Museum:

Diary paper, Emily Brontë, 26 June 1837. 

This tiny scrap, taken from Emily Brontë’s diary depicts herself and sister Anne as an ink sketch, seated at the Parsonage’s dining-room table. To me, it beautifully captures the writing community in which the Brontë sisters worked, as well as a moving hope for the future “…all tight and right in which condition it is to be hoped we shall all be on this day 4 years…I wonder where we shall be and how we shall be and what kind of a day it will be then let us hope for the best.” It is a feeling, which has proved particularly poignant this year. Who can say what the future holds – all we can do is hope for the best.”

Last September, Clio spoke to BBC South on the exhibition. You can watch the interview in full here:

Man Up! closes on Sunday 27 June. To book tickets to the House, click here.