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article imageBaltimore's Edgar Allan Poe museum could close its doors in 2012

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By Chanah Rubenstein     Aug 7, 2011 in Arts
Baltimore - Baltimore’s Edgar Allan Poe museum could close its doors next summer due to insufficient funds. The museum is running on reserve funds after the city removed it from its budget last year. The money is expected to run out as early as the summer of 2012.
Until last year, the city had provided the museum of famed macabre writer Edgar Allan Poe with $85,000 in annual support. According to the New York Times, the museum is running on reserve funds, which will soon run dry. The city has since hired consultants in hopes of finding ways in which the museum can become financially self-sufficient.
According the report, there are multiple obstacles preventing the museum from being self-sufficient. Location is one such obstacle. The former residence of Poe is located outside of Baltimore’s tourist area and nestled within a housing project. The size of the museum is also problematic – it is too small of a venue to house events.
The museum currently makes a small amount of revenue with admissions and sales of T-shirts and books. However it is not enough to keep the museum afloat as they currently only see about 5,000 tourists a year.
The former living quarters of Poe from 1833 to 1835, it faced demolition 70 years ago when the current housing development was being built. It is now owned by the Baltimore City Housing Authority and designated a historical landmark so it will not be torn down even if it can't function as a museum.
The exhibit houses china, glassware, a telescope, locks of hair from Poe and his wife Virginia and a piece of his coffin. Due to conservation efforts, some of the artifacts are only on display some of the time.
One of the suggestions being made to increase revenue via increasing the number of tourists is to update and add new exhibits to the museum.
A local artist has made a limited edition print of a raven, in which a portion of the proceeds go toward the house, reports the New York Times. So far the print has raised roughly $10,000.
There is hope that the forthcoming movie The Raven (2012), starring John Cusack as Edgar Allan Poe will boost attraction and tourists.
Baltimore Magazine has put forth a few suggestions for raising money to help the museum. One of those ideas put forth is that Stephen Bisciotti, owner of the Baltimore Ravens (inspired after the famous works of Poe), should donate a nice paycheck, out of respect for the origins of the team name and mascot. Or to even have one dollar of each ticket sold go towards the museum.
Using the art that made Poe famous in the first place, they also suggest that the museum hold poetry slams or readings from fellow macabre writers.
There are various museum sites across the north eastern United States dedicated to Edgar Allan Poe. Richmond, Va., the Bronx in New York and Philadelphia, all house a museum devoted to the writer. Baltimore is where he lived periodically throughout his life, where he died and where he is buried.
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