When you enter the Edgar Allen Poe Museum you are quite literally walking through a piece of Richmond’s history, the Old Stone House. The Old Stone House is believed to be the oldest home still standing within the original city limits of Richmond. It is also the only surviving pre-revolutionary war home remaining in the downtown area. By the time Edgar Allen Poe walked the streets of Richmond the exact date that the house was built had already been forgotten but it is believed to have been built in 1737. Although Poe never lived in the house he visited at the age of 15 while escorting he Marquis de La Fayette around Richmond.
The old stone House is home to the gift shop where you will find unique items such as “The Funeral Food” cookbook Poe shot glasses, mugs and Poe’s writings on parchment just to mention a few. In the adjoining room you will find a piano that once belonged to Poe’s only sister, Rosalie, along with other furnishings and portraits associated with Poe.
As you exit the old stone House you will enter the Enchanted Garden, the garden was Richmond’s first shrine to Poe and was designed based on the poem “One in Paradise.” The bricks and granite used to build the walls and shrine were salvaged from The Southern Literary Messenger building where Poe began his career. The gardens have been featured in Richmond Bride magazine and it is not uncommon to see weddings being held here almost every weekend during the spring and summer months.
The shrine is home to a replica of the bust of Poe, the original was removed after it disappeared and was later recovered sitting in a bar called The Raven Inn where customers would buy him drinks.
Your next stop on the tour will most likely be the Model Building, as you enter you will see a model of Richmond as it would have appeared in Poe’s day. The model itself is striking if for no other reason hen the intricate detail, taking three years and countless hours of research to complete it was undoubtedly a true exercise in patience for the builder. The furnishings, china, paintings and glass wear housed in the model building are from Poe’s childhood home.
As you enter the Elizabeth Arnold Poe Memorial Building you will see a staircase, which leads upstairs to an offices area and the library. The staircase was salvage from Poe’s childhood home and was integrated into the Memorial building where it is still used daily. You will also find copies of Poe’s early works including horror mystery and science fiction. Poe’s chair and a desk from the Southern Literary Messenger are housed here and give the appearance of waiting for Poe himself to return.
The exhibit building contains two floors of ever changing exhibits that are themed around Poe’s influence on popular culture. Although the themes may change from time to time you could expect to find such topics as Poe in movies or Poe the detective. You will also be entertained by a recorded reading of one of Poe’s works such as The Tell-tail Heart or The Raven.
All in all a visit to the Poe Museum is well worth the modest six-dolor cost of admission, They also offer discounts for students, senior citizens, military personnel, groups and AAA members.