I registered my youngest daughter for the SAT test before I knew about this exciting Pennsylvania sabbatical, so I swapped the testing site to a location a tad bit closer to PA than Texas–and Richmond, Virginia won.
During my “What to do in Richmond, Virginia” search, I found the Edgar Allan Poe Museum and I immediately started collecting curriculum to create a unit study for my daughters. I bought several books, a biographical DVD and an audio collection of his stories and poetry. (I will provide a list at the end of this post.)
The girls read many of his pieces, including The Pit and the Pendulum, The Tell-Tale Heart and The Raven. Along with the readings, we focused on vocabulary, writing responses, discussions and literary devices. We studied his timeline in a historical context, illustrated his poetry, re-wrote sections from other characters’ views and dissected his works as detective-based, science fiction and psychological horror stories.
I love nothing more than finishing up a great unit study with a relevant museum trip. It is the icing on the homeschooling cake. 🙂
Even more AWESOME: When we arrived at the museum, we happened upon the COOLEST thing EVER!
Edgar Allan Poe was born on January 19, 1809. We visited the museum on January 20, 2018, and guess what?!? The museum was hosting a huge 209th birthday bash to celebrate Mr. Poe. Complete happy accident on our part–we were only there that day because my daughter took the SAT that morning in Richmond.
I LOVE when this happens!
The Edgar Allan Poe Museum began as an enchanted garden shrine to Poe and opened to the public on April 26, 1922. (April 26th is my b-day! Not really relevant, just fun!) James Howard Whitty and a group of literary enthusiasts originally wanted to honor Poe by restoring the Southern Literary Messenger building, where Poe began his work as an editor.
Unfortunately, the historical landmark was demolished. Whitty collected and salvaged the building materials and Annie Jones used the bricks and granite to create paved walkways and peaceful paths, which became the garden and Edgar Allan Poe shrine. Mrs. Jones used Poe’s poem, “To One in Paradise” as inspiration and filled the garden with plants from Poe’s mom’s grave.
Today, the land and museum consists of the garden, an old stone house and several buildings that display relics, artwork, personal letters and furniture from Poe’s life.
Photography is limited to certain areas, so I do not have a ton of pictures. But, the museum is considered the most comprehensive in the world and showcases a large collection of Poe related items, including a staircase from his childhood home.
I took this picture of one of Mr. Poe’s desks.
We were thankful to be able to take advantage of the unique, birthday-themed events offered by the museum. We toured the museum, ate cake, visited the garden and listened to knowledgeable docents explain exhibits.
Our favorite event–hands down–featured an intriguing mock trial, presented by a talented stage actor, portraying the narrator from Poe’s psychological thriller, “The Tell-Tale Heart”. His performance brought the short story to life for my daughters.
The Edgar Allan Poe Museum is located at 1914-16 E. Main Street, Richmond, Virginia, 23223. Admission is $8 for adults and $6 for children and seniors. For more information, visit www.poemuseum.org or call 804-648-5523.
The museum has a wonderful gift shop and educational resources can be found on the website at http://www.poemuseum.org/educational-resources
The resources I used to create an Edgar Allan Poe unit study are listed below:
Several Brain Pop and YouTube videos on Poe and literary devices
The educational resources listed on the Edgar Allan Poe Museum website: http://www.poemuseum.org/educational-resources
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