Our mission is to interest all our visitors in history and to leave them more curious about it when they leave than they were when they arrived. We have many stories to tell about the house, its grounds and the people who lived here and we need to find a variety of ways to present our stories to our visitors. A guided tour is our current main tool but we want to add different media, the written word, audio tours and on-screen presentations to appeal to different types of people.
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Historic houses are static, immoveable, fixed. Stories are dynamic, engaging, developing. Here at Sulgrave Manor, we do not take people around the house and give them the facts and figures about it and its contents. We tell the story of the house. But, as everyone knows, each house has a multitude of stories. Visitors are varied and variable. They come as individuals, as couples, families, groups. They are interested in everything, one or two things or nothing. They come for entertainment, education, diversion, tea and cakes. Open to the public since 1921, we have considerable experience. This and our research with our visitors leads us to believe that what sets a visit to this house apart from many others is our continual emphasis on the stories of the house and the people associated with it. Until a few years ago, the story was almost exclusively that of the builder, Lawrence Washington. Now we talk on the tour about the successive generations and about their settling in Virginia. But we have to remember to limit the duration of the tour to people‚Äôs attention span that some visitors prefer to read information that some are most interested in the gardens. We seek to have a range of stories, delivered through a range of media to inform, entertain and interest. We seek, as our recently revamped mission statement says : ‚Äúto share with visitors of all ages the heritage and history embodied in the house and the estate so that they leave determined to find out more‚Äù. To do this we need ¬£50,000 : to create extra exhibition space on this small site ¬£19,500 to produce an audio tour of the gardens ¬£7,500 to add more information boards both inside and outside ¬£5,500 to develop a media presentation of the parts of the house which the disabled cannot access ¬£17,500 Can you help us help our 20,000 visitors a year, more than half of whom are under 11, develop their interest in history?
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