2013 is a special year at the Emily Dickinson Museum. We are celebrating two anniversaries: the 200th anniversary of the construction of the Homestead and the 10th anniversary of the founding of the museum.
Two hundred years ago, in 1813, Emily Dickinson's grandfather, Samuel Fowler Dickinson, built The Homestead, which was probably the first brick house in Amherst and would become one of the most famous literary homes in the world. Ten years ago, in 2003, the Emily Dickinson Museum was created when ownership of The Evergreens, the home of Emily's brother Austin and sister-in-law Susan, was transferred to Amherst College so that the two historic Dickinson houses could be joined as a single museum operation.
Our September celebration includes several special programs:
--The annual Emily Dickinson Poetry Marathon, during which all of Emily's 1,789 known poems are read. The marathon begins on Friday, Sept. 20, at 3 p.m. in the Homestead parlors, and runs until 8 p.m. Readings begin again at 7 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 21, and continue until all of the poems have been read. (See separate Event Calendar Listing.)
--Open Houses on Saturday from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. at both The Homestead and The Evergreens. Admission will be free, though donations will be accepted for the ongoing restoration of Emily's bedroom and for a new fire-suppression system for both homes. There will be no formal guided tours of either house on Saturday.
--Spotlight on The Homestead. In honor of The Homestead's anniversary, the museum will offer a talk about the house at 1:30 p.m. Myron Stachiw, author of the Homestead's Historic Structure Report (1999), will present the talk, which will be followed at 2:30 p.m. by a guided architecture tour of the exteriors of both the Homestead and The Evergreens.
--A reception and reading of "Alison's House" on Saturday from 5:30 to 7 p.m. "Alison's House," for which playwright Susan Glaspell won a Pulitzer Prize, was the first full-length play inspired by Emily Dickinson's life and work. The play, in which the family home is almost a participating character, was first perfomed in 1930, the centenary of Dickinson’s birth.