Craig and I are on a little trip this week, visiting family. Today we’re in Virginia and conveniently close to the Edgar Allen Poe Museum in Richmond. A perfect opportunity to do some research for my upcoming Poe adaption.
At first glance the museum looks very engaging. The museum is an enclave of old buildings that you walk in and out of on a guided tour. There are many artifacts: articles of clothing, furniture, busts, autographs, first editions.
But on closer inspection it’s all fools gold.
There are examples of old furniture that may or may not be from the era, that may or may not be from any of the houses Poe lived in. There seems to be more pictures of Poe’s sister (a decidedly dour looking woman) and pieces of her silverware and a piano that may or may not be hers.
There was a lot of glossing over when it came to the darker natures in Poe’s life. The drinking, the constant poverty, the constant begging for money to his adopted father.
And most disappointing, there was no real connection to Poe’s life and Poe’s work. It’s pretty clear that the darkness in his life was entwined into, around, above, and below his writing. It would have been so interesting to see someone make some kind of connection (I mean, really, there’s something to be said about the fact that many of the women he was attached to died young, died tragically, coughing up blood).
Poe wasn’t a nice guy. He was brilliant, but had many demons to contend with. Is it the job of a museum to address the demons as well as the brilliance?
What do you think?