July 27, 2006
Director of Media Relations
AMHERST, Mass.—The Emily Dickinson Museum: The Homestead and The Evergreens has announced the completion of its first capital campaign, which successfully raised more than $705,000 to fund the first steps in the long-term development of the museum as an historic site dedicated to the appreciation of Emily Dickinson’s life and poetry.
The $705,000 campaign was initially spurred by a matching grant of $200,000 from the Save America’s Treasures program of the National Park Service secured through the efforts of U.S. Representative John Olver. The program provides matching grants to projects that preserve outstanding examples of America’s diverse history and culture. The museum’s Board of Governors created a capital campaign to raise the required match for the federal grant to fund the first significant steps in long-term restoration.
“I am delighted, amazed by the generous response of donors who wanted to help launch this new museum honoring America’s great poet,” said Polly Longsworth, chair of the museum’s Board of Governors. “As Emily Dickinson said, ‘We never know how high we are/Till we are asked to rise.’ Many challenges lie ahead, but this is an amazing beginning.”
Conducted quietly over the last two years, the successful Campaign for the Emily Dickinson Museum accomplishes several major projects. It has funded a thorough restoration of the exterior of the Dickinson Homestead to the ochre and off-white color scheme of the poet’s adult lifetime, a project completed in 2004. In addition, the museum commissioned a comprehensive master plan, completed in the spring of 2006 by consulting architects Mesick Cohen Wilson Baker of Albany, N.Y., to guide its ongoing restoration efforts and improvements to both historic houses and their shared landscape over the next decade or more.
The capital campaign also supports essential improvements to the infrastructure and mechanical systems protecting both historic houses and their collections.
In addition to its Save America’s Treasures grant, the Emily Dickinson Museum received a major gift for the museum’s capital needs from the Kaneka Corporation of Japan last summer and support for historic landscape planning from the Town of Amherst’s Community Preservation Act fund.
The Emily Dickinson Museum, made up of the Dickinson Homestead and The Evergreens, two historic houses in Amherst, Mass., is devoted to the story and legacy of poet Emily Dickinson and her family. The Dickinson Homestead was the birthplace and residence of the poet (1830-1886). The Evergreens was the 1856 home of the poet’s brother and sister-in-law, Austin and Susan Dickinson. Merged into a single museum in 2003, both properties are owned by the Trustees of Amherst College. For more information, please visit the Emily Dickinson Museum’s website.