During this series of blog posts we have identified the broad history of the Hathaway family’s time at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage. We have explored the life of the family over a number of centuries and discovered the stories of many other people that have lived here. The team at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage considers the lives of all these different generations of the family to be just as important, and just as interesting, as the life of Anne herself. Will believe our visitors will find this varied and abundant history fascinating and will enjoy learning about every single aspect of the Cottage’s past. Furthermore, the building itself has changed dramatically over the centuries and contains various original pieces of furniture and artefacts from many different eras. We want to more clearly help our visitors in their understanding the value of these items. Therefore, it is for these reasons that we have decided to re-interpret Anne Hathaway’s Cottage—to share these stories more effectively with our visitors and bring the Hathaways’ full history to life.
To make this rich history of the cottage more accessible to our visitors, we decided to change the current interpretation and take visitors on a chronological journey through the cottage. The visitor route has been reversed and visitors enter through a welcome room, where they have a short introduction from one of our guides. They are then escorted down the path to the rear of the house to enter via the original front doorway, where Shakespeare would have collected Anne on their wedding day. The visitors then enter the kitchen and have a further introductory talk from another guide about the history of the building and family. From there visitors are free to explore the cottage, which is presented as a timeline of the house’s history. Each room reflects a slightly different era, and as visitors pass through the cottage they gradually move forward in time, starting in the 1540s in the kitchen and ending in the late 1800s in the parlour.
We are excited to have unveiled the new presentation to our visitors and we hope our visitors enjoy it. The feedback so far has been very positive and we hope to welcome you to the Cottage soon.