Friday, February 11, 2011

"Nevermore" on the Horizon

By Mitchell Schmale

It looks as if the Edgar Allan Poe House in Baltimore is in danger of being Nevermore.

The current museum and former house where the famous author lived in Baltimore in the 1830’s is being threatened with closure due to lack of funding. Baltimore City officials have asked the museum to become self-sufficient and implement a plan to operate without using public funds by July 2012.

The museum operates on an annual budget of $85,000 and now must quickly create a compelling plan to help find the necessary funding from donors, corporate partners and others to stay alive in a very tough economy.

Baltimore takes great pride in its connection to one of history’s most legendary authors. The mystique of Edgar Allan Poe runs deep in Baltimore, where Poe died in 1849 and is also buried. The Poe theme is even reflected in the city’s modern day culture, including the name of Baltimore’s NFL team and mascot.

It’s understandable that Baltimore City officials are limited in how much financial aid they can provide in the current economy while facing their own budget shortfalls. It is situation that calls for tough and sometimes unpopular decisions.

Hopefully, this little piece of Baltimore’s history can be saved for future generations to enjoy and the museum can create a campaign to create a long-term survival plan. It would be nice if at least one Edgar Allan Poe story had a happy ending.

Mitchell Schmale is Vice President of Maroon PR. Contact him at

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