Once upon a midnight dreary, I pondered on what I should do for Halloween this year…
It didn’t take much pondering (or a talking raven!) to inspire me. Since I am an Edgar Allan Poe aficionado, what better way to spend an eerie and spooky holiday like Halloween than with the master of macabre himself! And for me, that means I’ll be paying a visit to The Edgar Allan Poe Museum in Richmond, Virginia.
Most of you will be familiar with Poe from high school English classes. He was known mostly for his frightening tales of horror and suspense (“The Raven” being his most famous) and his poems of undying love, but he is also considered the father of the modern American short story and the inventor of the detective story. He was a uniquely gifted writer whose poems and tales are not just an important part of American literature, but our culture as well.
The museum is a collection of buildings which focus on different aspects of the author’s life and legacy, providing a glimpse into early 19th century Richmond, the period when Poe lived and worked. The main section is housed in the “Old Stone House”, which is cited as the oldest house in Richmond. Poe never lived in the house, but it is close to his first home in Virginia, and his first place of employment, The Southern Literary Messenger. It’s a relatively small complex, but here you will find the world’s finest collection of Edgar Allan Poe memorabilia, including original manuscripts, first editions, photographs and paintings, letters, personal belongings, and much more. I’m especially interested in seeing the lock of Poe’s hair which they have on display.
If you’re interested in Poe, or literature in general, you’d enjoy this museum any time of year but, if you can get there to celebrate Halloween, they’ll be presenting “Vincent Price at the Poe Museum Halloween Weekend”. It begins on Halloween night, from 6:00 – 10:00 pm, with “Poe Goes to the Movies”. Vincent Price’s daughter, Victoria Price, will be there to introduce her father’s film, “Tales of Terror”, which also starred Basil Rathbone. And speaking of the Raven, a new gallery will be opening that night, The Raven Room, which will feature artist James Carling’s 1882 illustrations for the classic poem. There will also be other fun and scary activities, including an Edgar Allan Poe look-alike contest, which is sure to be…interesting.
The festivities continue on Saturday with “The Author’s Appetite”, an evening where guests will get the opportunity to sample the Vincent Price Signature Wine Collection, and some fine hors d-oeuvres.
I can’t believe I have never visited this fascinating museum. Will I continue to stay away? Nevermore!