Poe Baltimore, the organization which is going to take over the Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum in Baltimore, has announced the date of reopening: October 4, 2013. This does not simply mean that the old museum will be reopened – although located on the same premises and displaying most of its old exhibits, the new house museum will be considerably different from its predecessor in its approach to the topic.
For example, it will pay much greater attention to the ways Poe had been connected with Baltimore and this particular house: what events took place there, how they were intertwined with his literary work and so on. Interestingly enough, the museum will try to display not only the house, but the city as well – that is, how it looked at the time Poe lived there. Ann Barton Brown, museum consultant working on this project, when asked to comment on the news, stated that their main goal is to make the visitors of this museum feel that they are transferred into the times of Edgar Allan Poe – the less of the 21st century they feel inside the house, the better.
This, however, doesn’t mean that Poe Baltimore shun the high technologies in all their forms. For example, Digital Harbor School of Baltimore has assigned some of its students a project of creating a museum website until the end of July, and the project members seriously consider giving the visitors an opportunity to use credit cards (previously the museum only accepted cash).
Some notable exhibits will also get back to museum, such as the lock of the writer’s hair and the telescope used by his stepfather.
Edgar Allan Poe is one of the most well-known and notable American writers – although he worked in a lot of different genres (from poetry and literary criticism to mystery and science fiction), he is best known for his short stories, which, according to many experts in literature, laid the foundations of modern horror and detective genres as well as contributed greatly to the emerging science fiction genre.
He is also the first American writer who was known for the fact that he made living by writing alone, without any additional jobs to support him. The results are well-known – although his life was at times difficult and he always had problems with money, nowadays he is recognized as one of the most important figures in the history of American literature who influences the modern culture even now, more than 150 years after his death.
Anyway the reopening of Poe’s house museum is good news for everyone who is not indifferent to the history of literature in general and American literature in particular.