Dickinson Museum receives major grant
The U.S. Congress has awarded The
Emily Dickinson Museum a $200,000 matching
grant for restoration, preservation and system upgrades at the Dickinson Homestead
(the poet’s lifelong home) and The Evergreens, the 1856 home of Dickinson’s
brother, Austin, and sister-in-law, Susan. Rep. John Olver of Massachusetts,
a member of the Interior Appropriations Committee, announced the award at the
end of October. He secured the funds under the Save America’s Treasures
program, which protects art and artifacts of national significance.
Amherst College has owned the Dickinson Homestead since 1965; in July, the Homestead
and The Evergreens merged to form The Emily Dickinson Museum. Together, the buildings
are devoted to the interpretation of Dickinson’s life, her family and the
community in which she lived.
“The Emily Dickinson Museum is truly a gem,” Olver said, “and
I am pleased that we are a step closer to providing federal funding for the preservation
and restoration of this historic site. In these tight
financial times, the much-needed improvement projects might otherwise have been
delayed for many years.” The grant has been signed into law, but before
the money can be awarded, the museum must raise an additional $200,000, a process
that Associate Director Jane Wald says is already underway.
The funding is most welcome to the museum, which suffers from moisture-control
problems and simple wear-and-tear. The exterior wood and brick of the Homestead
need work to return the building to an accurate 19th-century appearance, and
The Evergreens needs major
interior restorations. The museum also plans extensive upgrades to address the
out-of-date electrical, plumbing and air conditioning systems.
“Because Dickinson lived in Amherst for her entire life, her home is the
destination each year for visitors from around the world, who come here to better
understand the poet whose work intrigues or
inspires them,” Museum Director Cindy Dickinson said of the 8,000 people
who visit the two houses annually. “This generous appropriation comes at
a critical time in the life of this new museum.”
In memoriam: Ed Wall >>