The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Edgar Allan Poe Museum in Baltimore could close
Jeff Jerome, curator of the Poe House and Museum, opens a gate at Westminster Church and Cemetary in Baltimore, the burial place of author Edgar Allan Poe. AP Photo/Steve Ruark.

By: Jason Tomassini

BALTIMORE (REUTERS).- Of all the cities that claim a connection to the troubled author Edgar Allan Poe, Baltimore likes to think its case is strongest. Poe's family is from Baltimore, his literary career began in the city, he died a mysterious death at a Baltimore hospital and his body was buried here in 1849.

But the city that named its NFL team after his poem "The Raven" may soon lose a key physical connection to Poe. The Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum, where the writer lived for four years in the early 1800s, is in danger of closing next year, due to budget cutbacks by the city.

"Everyone is tightening their belt," said Jeff Jerome, the museum's curator and only employee, who also works for the city's planning department.

Cash-strapped Baltimore stopped funding the museum's $85,000 budget two years ago. It now operates on funds raised privately over recent years.

A feasibility study, to be completed by December, will explore ways to make the museum self-sustaining. More likely than not, the museum will close at the end of June 2012.

Since the building is historically preserved, it will remain standing.

The museum is as modest as Poe's living conditions when, as a poor man in his 20s, he shared the home at 203 North Amity Street with his aunt, grandmother and two cousins. One of those cousins, Virginia, would later become his wife.

Located in a public housing complex in West Baltimore, the museum is removed from Baltimore's touristy Inner Harbor.

"This place can't close," Jerome said as he stood in the museum's lobby, formerly Poe's parlor. "It would be an embarrassment to the city to have thousands of people come to the city to see a boarded-up house."

Poe lived in Baltimore from 1832 to 1835 before his literary life began to blossom. Today, his influence is undeniable among genres he made popular -- detective fiction and psychological horror -- which are embodied in films and literature. He is featured in two upcoming films, "The Raven" starring John Cusack and "Twixt" directed by Francis Ford Coppola.

About 5,000 visitors per year from as far away as China travel to the museum to simply stand in the same quarters that once housed Poe. The museum features his tiny attic bedroom with only enough room for a bed, a chair and a wash table. It is stocked with general Poe memorabilia, like portraits and his original obituary.

Baltimore, located between historically significant cities such as Philadelphia and Washington, has embraced its strange literary icon.

About $10,000 to benefit the museum has been raised through sales of a local artist's prints, called "The Raven: Forevermore." A local diner's fund-raising campaign is modeled after the "Pennies for Poe" campaign held 150 years ago to pay for Poe's burial.

On a quiet neighborhood corner in East Baltimore sits the Annabel Lee Tavern, a Poe-themed restaurant named after the final poem he wrote, which offers "The Raven Lager" and "Annabel Lee chicken salad" on its menu.

Baltimore has had to fend off challenges to Poe's legacy from other cities. Poe wrote some of his best work, including "The Tell-Tale Heart," in Philadelphia. He lived in Richmond more than any other city. And his greatest financial success occurred in New York City.

Those cities feature Poe museums or historical sites where he once lived. The National Park Service operates the Philadelphia house, the Bronx County Historical Society operates the house there, which is undergoing renovation, and, in Richmond, the Poe Foundation operates The Museum of Edgar Allan Poe.

Despite the competition, the Poe community is not reveling in the Baltimore museum's struggles; it is sympathetic.

"It would be really devastating," said Chris Semtner, curator of the Richmond Poe Museum. "Poe is America's Shakespeare, he put American culture on the map. It would be like closing Mount Vernon or closing Monticello."

(Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Greg McCune)

© Thomson Reuters 2011. All rights reserved.

Today's News

September 13, 2011

Exhibition of Modern artworks in dialogue with Contemporary art at Kunstmuseum Bern

Sotheby's Contemporary Art evening sale to be headlined by Lucian Freud's Boy's Head of 1952

Personal handwritten letters by James Dean to be auctioned at Christie's for the first time

First painted portrait of American Vogue's Anna Wintour acquired by the National Portrait Gallery

Case of Los Angeles' stolen Rembrandt drawing intrigues art world with ownership issue

Miquel Barceló: Elefandret sculpture installed at Union Square in New York City

Ketterer Kunst in Munich announces sale of German Avant-Garde paintings in October

Milwaukee Art Museum acquires masterpiece of American art by John Singleton Copley

Swann Galleries to offer strong selection of American and European Works

Dagger owned by Ottoman Princess and poet married to Grand Vizier for sale at Bonhams

Two new installations by Chinese artist and film maker Yang Fudong premiere at Parasol Unit

Heritage Auctions' Long Beach September numismatic auctions total $34 million combined

Amelia Earhart goggles, photos pull in more than $31,000 at Clars Auction Gallery

Edgar Allan Poe Museum in Baltimore could close

Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art presents "A Sense of Place: Landscapes from Monet to Hockney"

1875 Gorham carved match safe 'Masterpiece,' one of only two known, expected to bring $20,000+

Ceramic vase bought for Perth Museum and Art Gallery

Bonhams sells case of Romanee Conti for 126,500 in Fine Wine sale

Historypin app lets people create a "time machine"

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- Art of early man found in the greatest meteor crater on earth

2.- Exhibition celebrates Helmut Newton's 50-year career through a rare and unseen collection of vintage prints

3.- World's most costly painting on Saudi prince's yacht: report

4.- Sotheby's celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing with an auction

5.- Domaine de Chantilly exhibits Leonardo da Vinci's 'Nude Mona Lisa'

6.- New book offers front-row seat to greatest concert in history

7.- The New York Botanical Garden opens its largest botanical exhibition ever

8.- The most famous car in the world: RM Sotheby's presents James Bond Aston Martin DB5

9.- Mexico unearths what may be historic recording of Frida Kahlo

10.- Exhibition of Pierre-Auguste Renoir's paintings marks centenary of his death

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful