Edgar Allan Poe spent more of his life in Richmond, Virginia, than in any other city, so it is fitting that a museum dedicated to his memory be located there. Since 1922 the Poe Museum has been at the corner of East Main and 20th Streets in Richmond, based in The Old Stone House, the oldest remaining dwelling in the city. The Museum maintains an extensive library, which is available to students and scholars by appointment.1
Three other brick buildings and a walled garden have been built around The Old Stone House since the time of Poe. The garden, inspired by Poe's poems, is open to the public without fee, and is used for weddings and other special events. Seats, copies of Poe's works, and cups of coffee are provided for visitors to the gardens.
Tours of the other buildings, containing "the world's finest collection of Edgar Allan Poe's manuscripts, letters, first editions, and personal belongings,"1 are offered hourly. The fee for the tour is USD 6.00 per adult (students can get a small discount).
The first room on the tour contains a wonderfully detailed scale model of Richmond, as it was during Poe's lifetime, crafted by Miss Edith Ragland in 1927. The guide gives a brief history of Poe's early life and points out the locations of his homes and workplace (the Southern Literary Messenger) in old Richmond. Another room holds glass cases of first edition books, manuscripts, and several rare portraits. Still another room displays his walking stick, boot hooks, trunk, and a lock of his hair alongside explanations of many of the theories that surround his mysterious death. Among the suspected killers are carbon monoxide poisoning, alcoholism, epilepsy, rabies, and murder. Forty-three spooky illustrations by James William Carling hang in the blood red "Raven Room," providing visual company to the text of Poe's most famous poem. Other parts of the museum contain portraits, newspaper clippings, furniture, and artifacts from Poe's life.
The end of the guided tour brings visitors back to the gift shop in The Old Stone House, where they may purchase copies of Poe's works, t-shirts, and even plush ravens. The museum is normally open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sundays.2
1. "Poe Museum" brochure obtained in the museum gift shop.
2. I last visited the Poe Museum on August 14, 2002. Prices and hours were accurate then. Check the following website for more information.