Edgar Allan Poe Museum in Baltimore could close

Mon Sep 12, 2011 2:55pm EDT
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By Jason Tomassini

BALTIMORE (Reuters) - Of all the cities that claim a connection to the troubled author Edgar Allan Poe, Baltimore likes to think its case is strongest.

Poe's family is from Baltimore, his literary career began in the city, he died a mysterious death at a Baltimore hospital and his body was buried here in 1849.

But the city that named its NFL team after his poem "The Raven" may soon lose a key physical connection to Poe. The Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum, where the writer lived for four years in the early 1800s, is in danger of closing next year, due to budget cutbacks by the city.

"Everyone is tightening their belt," said Jeff Jerome, the museum's curator and only employee, who also works for the city's planning department.

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.

Since the building is historically preserved, it will remain standing.

The museum is as modest as Poe's living conditions when, as a poor man in his 20s, he shared the home at 203 North Amity Street with his aunt, grandmother and two cousins. One of those cousins, Virginia, would later become his wife.   Continued...

<p>The Edgar Allen Poe House and Museum in Baltimore, Maryland is seen in a handout photo. REUTERS/W. Edward Leon/Historic Preservation Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation/Handout</p>