“Everyone wants to love Poe, but no one wants to pay for him.”
Baltimore is totally blowing it. They have the chance to capitalize on the upcoming Poe movie, “The Raven,” and to cash in a little on one of Baltimore’s best known authors. We are talking free publicity, increased interest in the city and tourist dollars. But instead, Baltimore has decided to shut the door on Poe:
[T]he city, . . . hoping that hardly anyone will notice — has decided that the Poe Museum must become self-sufficient or it must be closed. With no practical way of raising sufficient money on its own to cover the annual budget of about $85,000, closure is almost certain at the end of 2011 or early in 2012 — unless the city of Baltimore can be convinced to reconsider its position.
This makes me so sad. I remember first being introduced to Poe when I was in the fifth grade. His stories were so chilling and dark, and yet I couldn’t stop reading them. I knew that his work was probably not intended for someone my age, but they really spoke to me. The opening of The Telltale Heart is forever etched in my mind. The narrator had committed a murder and was, in all probability, completely insane. It was unlike anything I had ever read before —
If still you think me mad, you will think so no longer when I describe the wise precautions I took for the concealment of the body. The night waned, and I worked hastily, but in silence. First of all I dismembered the corpse. I cut off the head and the arms and the legs.
I then took up three planks from the flooring of the chamber, and deposited all between the scantlings. I then replaced the boards so cleverly, so cunningly, that no human eye — not even his –could have detected any thing wrong. There was nothing to wash out –no stain of any kind –no blood-spot whatever. I had been too wary for that. A tub had caught all –ha! ha!
And then the conflict I felt when the narrator confessed his crime at the end. I guess on some level, Poe made me want to root for the man with the madness.
Closing Poe’s Museum and House is a huge loss for the city. But it may not be too late. If enough folks sign this petition, and if enough people contact Baltimore’s mayor, maybe the city can be convinced to keep this museum open.
So, sign the petition! It takes two seconds. And write Baltimore’s mayor, Sephanie Rawlings-Blake. You can write her via e-mail, contact her by phone at 410-396-3835, and get in touch via letter at: Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Mayor, City Hall, Room 250, 100 N. Holliday Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21202.
Like the Museum on facebook.
Or, if you happen to have a sizable nest egg that you are sitting on, this would be a perfect time to make a donation.
Tiny top hat tip to Britt Von Strange