Amherst Art Walk Poetry Reading with Richard Michelson and Five College Poets

Date: April 2, 2015
Time: 5-8 pm
Location: The Homestead
Fee: Free

Starting on Thursday, April 2, the Emily Dickinson Museum will be joining the monthly Amherst Art Walk.

The Art Walk is held on the first Thursday of every month from 5 to 8 pm, with participating venues hosting gallery openings, concerts, lectures, and other creative events. The Museum will offer free “express” tours of Emily Dickinson’s bedroom and light refreshments from 5 to 7 pm. Poetry readings will be held in the Homestead parlor starting at 6:45 pm.Read more

A Conversation with Author William Nicholson

DATE: March 8, 2015
3 pm
LOCATION: Amherst Woman’s Club, 35 Triangle Street, Amherst, MA

The Emily Dickinson Museum and the Amherst Woman’s Club are pleased to welcome novelist and screenwriter William Nicholson for a conversation about his new novel, Amherst,on Sunday, March 8, at 3 pm.

Nicholson will be joined in the conversation by Polly Longsworth, author of Austin and Mabel: The Amherst Affair and Love Letters of Austin Dickinson and Mabel Loomis Todd, and moderator Christopher Benfey. It will be held at the Amherst Woman’s Club at 35 Triangle Street, across the street from the Emily Dickinson Museum. The conversation is free and open to the public. 

Amherst is a reflection on life and love seen through the historical lives of Emily Dickinson, her brother Austin, and his lover Mabel Loomis Todd and the fictional moderns Alice, Jack, and Nick. Nicholson’s story takes place in the Homestead and the Evergreens (now both part of the Emily Dickinson Museum), and the former Alice Maud Hill house, now the home of the Amherst Woman’s Club.  

“William Nicholson’s visit is a wonderful opportunity for cooperation between the modern day organizations occupying the houses that play such large parts in the book,” said Amherst Woman’s Club President Cathryn Lombardi. 

Emily Dickinson Museum Executive Director Jane Wald agreed. “William Nicholson’s Amherst is a delightful blend of lively imagination and deeply researched historical detail. We hope his novel sparks new interest in the Dickinson family and their dramatic stories among his readers.”


The Cover of William Nicholson's novel AmherstIn addition to reading excerpts from Amherst, Nicholson will speak with Longsworth and Benfey about the inspiration, research, and experience of writing the novel.

“It’s in some ways my love letter to the poet Emily Dickinson, who I first encountered over forty years ago,” Nicholson wrote on his blog. “Her poems shock and thrill me as much today as they did then.” 

He credits Longsworth’s Austin and Mabel for deepening his interest in the Dickinson family, especially the adulterous relationship between Austin and Todd, who would go on to play an essential role in the publication of Dickinson’s poetry and letters (and who was influential in founding the Amherst Woman’s Club, among other organizations). 

“Austin Dickinson’s passion for Mabel Todd is fascinating because it was so defiant of all convention,” wrote Nicholson.  

Amherst will be available for purchase during the event from Odyssey Books. For more information about the reading, call 413-542-2034, email or visit our website. 

About William Nicholson

William Nicholson was born in 1948, and grew up in Sussex and Gloucestershire. He was educated at Downside School and Christ’s College, Cambridge, and then joined BBC Television, where he worked as a documentary filmmaker. There his ambition to write, directed first into novels, was channeled into television drama. His plays for television include Shadowlands and Life Story, both of which won the BAFTA Best Television Drama award in their year. In 1988 he received the Royal Television Society’s Writer’s Award. His first play, an adaptation of Shadowlands for the stage, was Evening Standard Best Play of 1990, and went on to a Tony Award winning run on Broadway. He was nominated for an Oscar for the screenplay of the film version, which was directed by Richard Attenborough and starred Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger.

Since then his film credits include: SarafinaNellFirst KnightGrey OwlGladiator (as co-writer, for which he received a second Oscar nomination);  Elizabeth: the Golden AgeLes MiserablesMandela: Long Walk to FreedomUnbroken; and Everest. He has written and directed his own film, Firelight, and four further stage plays: Map of the HeartKatherine HowardThe Retreat from Moscow (which ran for five months on Broadway and received three Tony Award nominations); and Crash.

His novels include The Society of Others (2004); The Trial of True Love (2005); The Secret Intensity of Everyday Life (2009); All the Hopeful Lovers (2010); The Golden Hour (2011); Motherland (2013); and Reckless (2014).

His fantasy novel for older children, The Wind Singer, won the Smarties Prize Gold Award on publication in 2000, and the Blue Peter Book of the Year Award in 2001. Its sequel, Slaves of the Mastery, was published in 2001, and the final volume in the trilogy, Firesong, in 2002. His second sequence of fantasy novels is called The Noble Warriors, and includes Seeker (2005); Jango (2006); and Noman (2007). A novel for teens, Rich and Mad, was published in 2010.

About Polly Longsworth
In addition to Austin and Mabel, Polly Longsworth is the author of The World of Emily Dickinson: A Pictorial Biography. She has published numerous seminal articles about Emily Dickinson and has lectured widely on the subject. She is currently working on a major biography of the poet. Longsworth has been a member of the Emily Dickinson Museum Board of Governors since its establishment in 2003 and was its founding chair. “Replenishing the Shelves,” a project to recreate the Dickinson family libraries, was initiated by the board in honor of her many contributions to the creation and well-being of the Emily Dickinson Museum.

About Christopher Benfey

Christopher Benfey is Andrew W. Mellon Professor of English and Acting Dean of Faculty at Mount Holyoke College. A well known scholar of Emily Dickinson, Benfey is the author of four highly regarded books about the American Gilded Age: A Summer of Hummingbirds: Love, Art, and Scandal in the Intersecting Worlds of Emily Dickinson, Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Martin Johnson Heade (2009); The Double Life of Stephen Crane (1992); Degas in New Orleans (1997); and The Great Wave: Gilded Age Misfits, Japanese Eccentrics, and the Opening of Old Japan (2003).

“In my native Town”: A conversation with Annie Baker and Madeleine George

DATE: February 5, 2015
TIME: 7 pm
LOCATION: Amherst Regional High School, 21 Mattoon Street, Amherst, MA
COST: Free

The Emily Dickinson Museum is pleased to present “In my native Town,” a conversation between 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Drama-winner Annie Baker and 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Drama finalist  Madeleine George on Thursday, February 5, at 7 pm at the Amherst Regional High School library.

Baker won the Pulitzer Prize for her play The Flick, while George was nominated for The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence. Both were raised in Amherst and are graduates of Amherst Regional High School. The conversation, moderated by Amherst educator and Emily Dickinson Museum Board of Governors member Wendy Kohler, will focus on their ties to Amherst and its influence on their work, the role of place in writing, issues of identity, and, of course, the influence of Emily Dickinson as the most famous literary figure to come from their hometown.

For more information, call 413-542-2034, email edmprograms[at]

About Annie Baker

Portrait of Annie baker

Annie Baker

Annie Baker’s full-length plays include The Flick (Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Susan Smith Blackburn Award, Obie Award for Playwriting), Circle Mirror Transformation (Playwrights Horizons, Obie Award for Best New American Play, Drama Desk nomination for Best New American Play), The Aliens (Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Obie Award for Best New American Play), Body Awareness (Atlantic Theater Company, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle nominations for Best Play/Emerging Playwright), and an adaptation of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya (Soho Rep, Drama Desk nomination for Best Revival), for which she also designed the costumes. 

Her plays have been produced at over 150 theaters throughout the U.S., and have been produced internationally in over a dozen countries. Other recent honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship, New York Drama Critics Circle Award, Lilly Award, and Time Warner Storytelling Fellowship. A published anthology of her work, The Vermont Plays, is available from TCG. 

About Madeleine George

Portrait of Madeleine George

Madeleine George

Madeleine George’s plays include The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence (Pulitzer Prize finalist; Outer Critics Circle John Gassner Award), Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England (Susan Smith Blackburn finalist), Precious Little, and The Zero Hour (Jane Chambers Award, Lambda Literary Award finalist).They’ve made their way to the stage through workshops at Berkeley Rep, Soho Rep, New York Theatre Workshop, Manhattan Theatre Club, About Face Theater, and the O’Neill Playwrights Conference, and have been performed for the viewing public at Playwrights Horizons, Clubbed Thumb, 13P, Shotgun Players in Berkeley, City Theatre in Pittsburgh, Theater Wit in Chicago, Perseverance Theatre in Alaska, and Two River Theater Company in New Jersey, among many other places.

Madeleine has been a Princess Grace Playwriting Fellow, a MacDowell Fellow, and a two-time writer-in-residence at Hedgebrook. She is also the author of two novels for young adults, was a founding member of the Obie-Award-winning playwrights’ collective 13P (Thirteen Playwrights, Inc.), and for seven years served as director of the Bard College satellite campus at Bayview Correctional Facility in Manhattan.

Daily Program

Daily Programs

Short Daily Programs

Offered periodically each day, these bite-sized programs led by knowledgeable guides offer a closer look at special topics pertaining to Dickinson.

  • Programs are held in the Tour Center or on Museum grounds.
  • Duration of programs is 15-20 minutes.
  • Topics change daily but may include: Dickinson and Publication, Dickinson and the Civil War, Dickinson as Gardener, Dickinson Family Pets, etc.
  • To find out times and subjects of short daily programs please call the Tour Center.

2019 Rates:

Short Daily Programs are free with purchase of guided house tours. 

An actor in the immersive play Before You Became Improbable

Before You Became Improbable: An Immersive Journey Through the Dickinson-Higginson Correspondence

Thursday, October 4 through Saturday, October 6, 2018 

“A unique, phenomenal, and deeply treasured experience.”

– Len Berkman, Smith College Professor of Theater

It took eight years of correspondence before Thomas Wentworth Higginson arrived in Amherst to meet his elusive advisee, Emily Dickinson. Before You Became Improbable reimagines the day of that meeting, offering audience members an encounter with her words and poems in a remarkably personal theatrical experience. This immersive journey returns to the Emily Dickinson Museum in October after sold-out productions in 2014 and 2015.Read more

Archaeologists looking over artifacts found at the museum

Digging at the Dickinsons’: Findings from the 2018 Field School in Historical Archaeology

Monday, October 1, 2018

6:30PM at the Emily Dickinson Museum

Archaeologists from UMass working on the grounds of the Emily Dickinson museumView Emily Dickinson’s world through the eyes of an archaeologist during this presentation at the Museum. Faculty and members of the University of Massachusetts Amherst archaeological field school will present findings from their work on the grounds of the Emily Dickinson Museum in the summer of 2018. Their work sheds new light on the location of a former Dickinson family barn and well. Archaeobotany research– a special branch of archaeology studying plant remains in the soil–began at the Museum in 2017 and has continued in 2018. See firsthand how archaeology informs the Museum’s preservation and restoration projects! 

Free and open to the public. No registration required.Read more

The Arts Night Plus logo

September 6, 2018 Arts Night

September 6, 2018

The Emily Dickinson Museum participates in Amherst Arts Night Plus on first Thursdays each month. Free and open to all! 

Learn more  at Each month enjoy the following:

5 to 8 pm: Pop-up contemporary art exhibit in the Homestead from 

5 to 6 pm: Open mic signups for poets, writers, performers of any kind

6 pm: Open mic begins

Featured readers follow the open mic 

About guest artists at the Emily Dickinson Museum: Please note that the works of guest artists may contain sensitive or mature material and do not necessarily represent the views of the Emily Dickinson Museum.Read more

“Buccaneers of Buzz” Pollinator Fair

Sunday, August 5 from 10AM to 12PM

The beehive that now stands on the Dickinson propertyBees are Black – with Gilt Surcingles –
Buccaneers of Buzz – 
Ride abroad in ostentation
And subsist on Fuzz –   (Fr1426)

Families are welcome at this celebration of all things pollination at the Emily Dickinson Museum! Did you know Dickinson wrote around 100 poems about bees? She was a keen observer of the natural world where hummingbirds and butterflies also captured her imagination. Perhaps such pollinators fascinated Dickinson because of their contributions to her flower gardens, where their hungry activities supported the growth of her plants! At our Fair, learn more about the continued important of pollinators today, and the things you can do at home to make a happy environment for them.

The Pollinator Fair is free and open to all, but individual activity fees apply.Read more