Come into the gar­den

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - COMMUNITY -

The Chal­font St Giles based house – where John Mil­ton wrote his epic mas­ter­piece Par­adise Lost – re­opens to the pub­lic to­mor­row (Fri­day 25) for the sea­son.

Kelly O’Reilly joins the mu­seum af­ter eight years as co-di­rec­tor of Sing Lon­don, the pub­lic arts or­gan­i­sa­tion that brought pi­anos, ping pong and Talk­ing Stat­ues to the streets of Lon­don.

Ms O’Reilly said: ‘I am thank­ful to the trustees for this op­por­tu­nity to lead the mu­seum into the next chap­ter of its his­tory.

“Mil­ton’s Cot­tage is a must-see desti­na­tion for lit­er­a­ture lovers ev­ery­where - a chance to see where one of the world’s great­est epic po­ems was com­posed.

“I hope to pro­vide a wider range of lit­er­ary, cul­tural and ed­u­ca­tional events than ever be­fore to help keep Mil­ton’s legacy alive.’

Si­mon Avery, chair of the Board of Trustees, said: “Kelly’s com­pelling vi­sion, en­ergy and res­i­dency at Mil­ton’s Cot­tage is breath­ing new life into our unique mu­seum.

“It now has even greater at­trac­tion for vis­i­tors, whether they al­ready know the cot­tage and its beau­ti­ful reg­is­tered gar­den, or are yet to dis­cover the im­por­tance and con­tin­u­ing rel­e­vance of John Mil­ton.

“His po­etic ge­nius and his views on free­dom of the press, di­vorce, education, re­li­gion and par­lia­men­tary democ­racy still res­onate to­day.”

High­lights of the spring pro­gramme in­clude Be­yond Words, the first con­tem­po­rary art ex­hi­bi­tion in the mu­seum’s 129 year his­tory, as part of Na­tional Mu­se­ums Week.

It fea­tures six artists who have cre­ated new work in re­sponse to the Mil­ton’s Cot­tage col­lec­tion, the world’s most ex­ten­sive pub­lic dis­play of first edi­tions of John Mil­ton’s work, both po­etry and prose.

Mil­ton’s Cot­tage will also be mark­ing the na­tion­wide Mu­se­ums at Night cel­e­bra­tions with an af­ter­dark magic lan­tern event that re­sponds to the mu­seum’s new­est ac­qui­si­tion – an early 20th cen­tury magic lan­tern slide of Mil­ton’s Cot­tage, do­nated by a fam­ily in Canada.

Fam­i­lies are in­vited to ex­plore the mu­seum’s beau­ti­ful gar­den – the only Grade II reg­is­tered gar­den in the Chilterns – with an Easter Egg Hunt on Easter Sun­day.

There will also be a drop-in fam­ily art work­shop dur­ing May half-term, free with en­try to the mu­seum.

Kelly O’Reilly in Mil­ton’s gar­den

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