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article imageBaltimore's Edgar Allan Poe Museum in peril, may close

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By Kay Mathews     Sep 12, 2011 in Entertainment
Baltimore - The fall of the house and museum of Poe may come in 2012 due to budget cutbacks in Baltimore, but the pendulum could swing if private funds are raised.
Yahoo! News reports a dreary outlook for the Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum. The report states, "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."
It is thought that Poe lived in this house "for two or three years from about 1832 until 1835" with a number of family members, one of whom would later become his wife. And, according to the Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore, Poe is presumed to have penned a number of his works there including the stories "MS. Found in a Bottle," "Hans Pfaall - A Tale," and "Morella" along with poems such as "To Elizabeth," "The Coliseum," and "Serenade."
Poe's connection to Baltimore runs wide and at least six-feet deep. Not only did Poe live and work in Baltimore, he was also buried at Baltimore's Westminster Burying Ground as were his young wife and his mother-in-law.
Poe's one-time home, a 2 ½ story, 5 room house, is historically preserved and thus will remain standing, but its use as a museum is likely to fall at the hands of budget cutters. It is "In danger of closing next year," states Yahoo! News, yet "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."
A copy photograph of the portrait painted by Oscar Halling in the late 1860 s of Edgar Allan Poe.
A copy photograph of the portrait painted by Oscar Halling in the late 1860's of Edgar Allan Poe.
Oscar Halling
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Chris Semtner, curator of the Richmond Poe Museum, was quoted as saying, "It would be really devastating. Poe is America's Shakespeare, he put American culture on the map. It would be like closing Mount Vernon or closing Monticello."
The fate of the museum was foreshadowed during my search for sources for this article. A Google search of "Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum" resulted in a number of links, including one to the City of Baltimore. In a clear sign of impending doom for the museum, clicking on that Baltimore link takes you to a page with an error message reading "I'm sorry, I cannot locate this resource!"
However, Visit Baltimore boasts, "What other city had the grace and class to name their NFL franchise—and it's three mascots, Edgar, Allan & Poe—for a literary master and one of his most revered, macabre masterpieces, The Raven."
A number of benefits and fund-raising campaigns have taken place to help the museum. Perhaps, though, it will be the Ravens who say "Nevermore" to the notion of closing the museum.
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