Legends abound of otherworldly manifestations experienced at Richmond’s Edgar Allan Poe Museum. Books including The Ghosts of Virginia, Ghost Hunting Virginia, and The Shadows of Shockoe have recorded a few of these sightings, and a number of paranormal investigators have explored the Museum’s 258-year-old house, Enchanted Garden, and the rest of the complex in search of evidence of unexplained activity. Now the Poe Museum may finally put the legends to rest by opening the museum to public ghost hunts on August 11 and 18, 2012 from 9 P.M. to Midnight. The participants will be trained in investigative techniques by paranormal investigators from Spirited History, who will guide them through the investigation using the latest audio and video equipment. Because of limited space, all participants must reserve a spot and must be members of the Poe Museum in order to take part. Not a member? Learn about membership and sign up here. New and renewing members even get a tote bag with their membership. For more information on the ghost hunt, call 888-21-EAPOE or write firstname.lastname@example.org.
On August 23 from 6-9 P.M., the Poe Museum will host an Unhappy Hour featuring Poe’s classic revenge tale “Hop-Frog.” Join us for live music by accoustic duo Haze and Dacey, a cash bar, and a special installation of the story by Haunts of Richmond. Admission is free, but a $5 suggested donation is welcomed.
On Thursday, May 24 from 6 to 9 P.M. the Poe Museum will host an Unhappy Hour inspired by the master of horror’s first horror story “Berenice” a tale of obsession, madness, and dentistry. The event features the premiere of a new short film of the story, live performances of the tale, refreshments, and live music by Rattlemouth. Live performances of “Berenice” will be staged at 7 P.M. and 8 P.M. Guests will learn about nineteenth century dental practices from a dental historian between the performances. Admission is by optional donation, and a cash bar is available. The Poe Museum’s exhibits will be open during the event, so visitors will have a chance to see the major new show of dozens of Poe’s manuscripts and letters in addition to its world renowned collection of Poe artifacts and memorabilia.
If you have not read “Berenice,” now is the perfect time to do so. This groundbreaking tale is Poe’s first horror story, and it helped to revolutionize a genre. First printed in March 1835 in the Southern Literary Messenger, the story is narrated by a man driven to do unspeakable things by his obsession with his wife’s teeth. If you do not have a chance to read it before you come, be sure to watch one of the performances at the Unhappy Hour.
Poe’s 203rd Birthday Bash may be over, but we’ve been getting lots of fun photos from various people on our flickr group.
Here are a few samples (click the photos for a closer look):
If you’re wondering what belly dancing has to do with Poe or his birthday … well, Poe wrote stories like “The Cask of Amontillado” that are set at carnival time and belly dance seemed to fit nicely there. Also, all of our dances had Victorian/gothic themes of which we are certain Poe would approve – one was even based on his poem “The Conqueror Worm.” Moreover, the birthday bash marked the opening of our special exhibition of James Carling’s illustrations for “The Raven” and as Carling himself was a sideshow/vaudeville performer, it seemed appropriate. Plus, it was just too fun to pass up and what’s a party without fun, right?
We were also fortunate to have six local poets come and do readings in honor of Edgar for his birthday festivities at the museum. Each poet read a poem by Poe and one of their own works.
We were even graced by the presence of the Birthday Boy, Poe himself as well as by a visit from his mother, Eliza (ably portrayed by wonderful living history performers.)
These and many other photos can be found and shared via the Poe Museum’s own flickr group. If you have photos you’d like to share, you can share them with us on the flickr group or email them to email@example.com.
You can also check out a few videos from the day’s festivities on the Poe Museum’s YouTube channel.
So make sure you come out to our exciting 90th anniversary events this year and take lots of photos of the fun you have! Keep an eye on our Events Page and our Facebook page for information about our 2012 events.
Kendall from Kromatic Photography sent us these images he made after last Saturday’s Poe Birthday Bash.
The Museum will be open from 10am – Midnight with events starting at NOON. Admission is $5 for the whole day, and you may come and go as you please so you can check out all the events you want to see!!! Events are still being added to the schedule, but see the current line-up below:
POE BIRTHDAY BASH SCHEDULE:
10:00am- 1:00pm: Gift shop sale! ( Take 15% off your entire purchase of $10 or more!)
12:00pm: Exhibit Opening (Stormier, Wilder and More Weird: James Carling and “The Raven” | and Curator talk.) *A MUST SEE*
1:00pm -1:15pm: Lucretia and Lavinia (belly dance duo )
1:15pm – 1:30pm: Aeon Yahweh (musician)
4:00pm – 5:00pm: Lucretia and Lavinia (belly dance duo)/ Sadira (dancer) and DragonSong (band)
5:00pm- on: Mulled Wine, Butter Beer and non-alcoholic beverage cash bar with free snacks.
5:30pm: Poe Birthday Cake
7:00pm – 8:00pm: Lucretia and Lavinia (belly dance duo)/ The Muse (dancer)/ Madame Onça (dancer)
8:00pm: Theatrical Victorian Seance. (See a Victorian Seance combining 19th century tricks and modern day effects)
9:00pm: Theatrical Victorian Seance. (See a Victorian Seance combining 19th century tricks and modern day effects)
11:30pm: Champagne Toast to Poe
*Additional events are still being finalized. Call the Museum at 804-648-5523 for more information (or) e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Reports of the Poe Museum’s demise have been vastly exaggerated.
On Sunday morning, viewers of CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood were shocked to hear the Poe Museum in Richmond, Virginia is closing its doors. No one was more surprised than we at the Poe Museum. Not only are we not closing, but we are preparing to celebrate our ninetieth anniversary with a full schedule of exhibits and events. Since Sunday morning’s broadcast, the Poe Museum has been inundated with calls and emails from concerned citizens from across the country, but we assured them, and will continue to assure them, that the Poe Museum in Richmond is doing fine and has not lost its funding. We appreciate all the concern expressed by our friends, and we hope you will continue to support the Poe Museum.
If you have never been to the Poe Museum, or if you have not visited in a while, October is the perfect time to pay us a visit to see our new exhibits, “The Raven, Terror & Death” and “Death and Mourning in the Age of Poe.” We will also have a book launch for the new anthology Richmond Macabre on October 2, our annual commemoration of the anniversary of Poe’s death on October 6 (Yes, we celebrate his birthday as well as his death day.), our Halloween Unhappy Hour on October 27, and Poe’s Pumpkin Patch on October 29. In the new year, we will celebrate Poe’s birthday with a Poe-rade through Poe’s Richmond and the opening of a new exhibit of the 43 illustrations to “The Raven” done by James Carling in 1883 and not publicly exhibited in over 35 years. In April, we will celebrate the 90th anniversary of the Poe Museum with a new exhibit of rarely seen or recently discovered Poe manuscripts and letters.
Below is a list of some of next year’s Unhappy Hours and exhibits. You can expect to see even more of the kind of events only the Poe Museum can bring you.
Saturday, January 14th – Poe’s Birthday Bash – Noon to midnight!
Saturday, January 14th- Exhibit Opening: “James Carling’s Illustrations for ‘The Raven’” (continues until May 30) in Exhibit Building
Thursday, April 26th – 90th Anniversary of Poe Museum opening (1920s garden party) – Unhappy Hour – 6-9pm
Thursday, April 26th –Exhibit Opening: “In Poe’s Hand: Letters and Manuscripts” (continues until July 11) in Memorial Building
Thursday, May 24th – Unhappy Hour “The Enchanted Garden” – 6-9pm
Thursday, June 28th – Unhappy Hour “The Gold Bug” (pirates!) – 6-9pm
Thursday, July 26th – Unhappy Hour “The Oval Portrait” (Poe Carnival) – 6-9pm
Thursday, July 26th –Exhibit Opening: “New Acquisitions of Poe Portraiture” (Until September 30) in Exhibit Building 2nd Floor
Thursday, August 23rd – Unhappy Hour “The Premature Burial” – 6-9pm
Thursday, Sept. 27th – Unhappy Hour “The Masque of the Red Death” (Poe variety show) – 6-9pm
Sunday, October 7th – Poe’s Death Day Celebration – Noon-6pm
Thursday, October 25th – Unhappy Hour “The Black Cat”—6-9pm
Sunday, October 28th – Poe’s Pumpkin Patch – Noon to 5pm
Friday, December 7th – Poe Illumination – 6-9pm
Our September Unhappy Hour featured Edgar Allan Poe’s most famous poem, “The Raven”.
The evening was visited by a veritable flock of winged visitors thanks to some lovely Raven masks – some of which were made for the Poe Museum by a local craftsperson.
The evening featured the U.S. debut of an art exhibit entitled “The Raven, Terror and Death” featuring works by U.S. and Mexican artists inspired by the famous poem.
We also had several readings of the poem by people during the course of the evening. Here is a video sample featuring the actor Chris Patrick as Edgar Allan Poe:
(Chris Patrick is playing Poe this weekend in a Haunts of Richmond / Poe Museum co-production of Poe’s Haunted Homecoming Tour. We are grateful that Mr. Poe was able to give us a reading of “The Raven” at the Poe Museum before the show began at historic Shockoe Hill Cemetery. )
Of course, this Unhappy Hour also served as the Poe Museum’s first event of our busy fall season. Make sure that you check our events calendar for information about all kinds of exciting things that will be happening in October.
First up on Sunday October 2nd from 2-4pm is the launch party for Richmond Macabre a horror anthology dedicated to Poe and featuring stories set right here in the River City. We hope to see folks at as many of our October events as possible. October is Poe’s month after all!
12 Midnight: Champagne Toast at the Poe Shrine
Kick off the day’s festivities in the shadows of the Poe Museum’s Enchanted Garden in a shrine built 87 years ago in Poe’s honor from the bricks salvaged from the office in which Poe began his career in journalism.
2 AM: Victorian Séance
Make contact with Poe through an authentic Victorian séance. Maybe Mr. Poe will make an appearance.
11 AM: Segway Tour of Richmond Poe Sites
See the sights of Poe’s Richmond without walking up all the hills. Ride a segway. Lessons will be provided before the tour.
1 PM: Birthday Cake
Every birthday needs a cake. We have served Poe portrait cakes and raven cakes at previous Poe birthdays, so come find out which kind of cake Poe will get this year.
1 PM: Book Signing of Edgar Allan Poe in Richmond
This new photo book will be released on January 19, so be among the first to get a copy. The authors, Keshia A. Case and Christopher Semtner, will be on hand to sign copies and answer questions.
2 PM: Segway Tour of Richmond Poe Sites
If you want to take the segway tour of Poe’s Richmond but are not a morning person, take the afternoon tour.
3 PM: Book Signing of Edgar Allan Poe
An Illustrated Companion to His Tell-Tale Stories by Poe’s cousin Dr. Harry Lee Poe.
Dr. Poe is a descendant of Poe’s uncle and, through his family, has gained a special insight into the life of his famous relative. Here is your chance to meet Dr. Poe and learn things about Edgar Poe that only a relative would know.
7 PM: Candlelight Walking Tour Poe’s Church Hill followed by Warm-up Cocktail Hour
Take a trip back in time and see Poe’s stories and poems brought to life in a whole new way–in the darkened streets and cemeteries that inspired them. The tour begins at Poe’s mother’s grave with a performance by Haunts of Richmond. Then you will follow in the footsteps of Poe through the shadowy streets of 19th century Church Hill, and you will visit the sites that inspired his greatest poems while you hear dramatic recitations of those works. The tour ends at the Poe Museum’s Enchanted Garden with another performance. There is an extra charge of $15 for this experience, but all participants will be treated to refreshments at the conclusion.
All Day: Temporary Exhibit: Poe: Face to Face: Early Portraits and Daguerreotypes of Edgar Allan Poe
See Poe as you’ve never seen him before–through the eyes of his contemporaries. This exhibit will bring together some of the earliest portraits of the author photographed, painted, or owned by the people who knew Poe best. Find out which of Poe’s portraits were owned by his last fiancée, Elmira Shelton. Learn which portrait Poe’s sister considered the best and which one Poe himself hated the most.