May 20, 2013

Baltimore’s Poe House to reopen this fall

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Edgar Allan Poe, homeless no more. (Still dead, though.)

Last year was a tumultuous one for Edgar Allan Poe’s onetime home in Baltimore. The Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum had its funding from the city cut off in September 2012, forcing it to shut down, and it was vandalized that November—but now the museum has set a date for its grand reopening: October 4, 2013.

The Baltimore Sun’s Chris Kaltenbach reports that Poe Baltimore, the nonprofit responsible for getting the landmark back up and running, announced its target date for opening the museum doors last week. The organization has been charged with the task of making the Poe House profitable, and with taking over its operation within a year from the B&O Railroad Museum, which the city has paid to consult in the transition.

While there aren’t plans for a large upheaval at the museum, Poe Baltimore’s vice president Mark Redfield tells the Sun that they will make some changes to enhance visitors’ experience, with an emphasis on “telling the story of Poe in Baltimore.” To that end, there will be a clearly marked walking tour through the house, as well as many Poe artifacts that were already housed there and (possibly) more from the Enoch Pratt Free Library.

Ann Barton Brown is a museum consultant who’s been hired to shape the plan for reinvigorating the Poe House; she explains that “We are trying to preserve as much of the spirit of Poe in the house as possible, so when you go in, you really feel Poe,” adding that their goal is to evoke the feeling of Baltimore during the time that the author lived there. Physical renovations such as cleaning, plaster work, and carpeting. While Brown says that they’re “keeping the intrusion of the 21st century to a minimum,” the museum is working on allowing visitors to use credit cards, and students at Digital Harbor High School have been working on a website that should go live this summer.

Once the Poe House reopens this fall, the plan is for it to be open on weekends through the spring of 2014, when the hours would be expanded.

 

Nick Davies was a publicist at Melville House.

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