January’s Letter From the Curator (2019)

Dear Friends

Well 2019, here you are! The start of a new year prompts many to consider what they want to change or improve on in their lives. It is seen as a chance for a ‘rebirth’ or renewal. It is therefore apt that the first month of each year is named ‘January’ after the Roman god, ‘Janus’. I used to associate negative connotations with the name ‘Janus’ after studying William Shakespeare’s Othello, in which Shakespeare uses the term ‘Janus’ as an insult; to insinuate that someone is ‘two-faced’ or untrustworthy. The fact that Janus is depicted as having two heads makes this an understandable metaphor to use! However, further study on Janus, and why the first month of every year is named after him, suggests a more positive picture. For the Romans, Janus represented doorways, how as one door closes, another opens. His name was associated with new beginnings, which is fitting as that is what many people regard January as a time for- new beginnings!

Myself and the whole castle team are so looking forward to 2019! As the new year begins, the whole team are working to get the castle ready for the new season- Our groundsman is sprucing up the grounds and giving the building a fresh lick of paint and our tea room staff are making sure that the café is spotless and inviting, including a well-stocked giftshop. Our weddings and events co-ordinator is busy organising beautiful weddings which will be held in the breath-taking grounds of the castle and our education officer is planning exciting school activities to engage the next generation of history enthusiasts! The admin and accounts team as a whole are beavering away making sure that our website and social media are up to date to inform our wonderful audience about the new events happening in 2019! This includes some of our favourite events, such as the Viking event, Fairytale event, as well as performances by myself and Dr Gareth Williams on some of our audience’s favourite historical characters. In addition, we will introduce new events in 2019! New talks will include a fascinating exploration of the portraits of Elizabeth I, and how they were so important in stabilising her reign.

Our main focus for 2019 is of course Mary Queen of Scots, for 2019 marks the 450th anniversary of her arriving at Tutbury Castle. The anniversary will begin with our Spring Lecture, sharing brand new information of all aspects of Mary’s life and reign, including her health, the coinage and her incarceration at Tutbury Castle. Furthermore, an exciting and engaging new exhibition will explore the lives of both Mary and Elizabeth, and an archaeological dig in the summer will allow us to learn more about the castle at the time of Mary’s stay! Keep an eye on our website and social media for more information on all that 2019 has to offer!

But, of course, what the entire castle team is most excited for is welcoming you all! Whether you’re going to be visiting the castle for the first time in 2019 or you are one of our many loyal visitors, we cannot wait to see you!

Best Wishes

Lesley Smith, Curator.