the front door of the Homestead slightly ajar

Press Release:
Reopening August 16

ANNOUNCEMENT:
EMILY DICKINSON MUSEUM COMPLETES PHASE 2 OF RESTORATION PROJECT
THE MUSEUM REOPENS TO THE PUBLIC AUGUST 16TH

The front door of the Homestead is ajar(Amherst, MA) – The Emily Dickinson Museum has completed its most significant restoration project to date of the interior architectural features, finishes, and furnishings of the revered poet’s Homestead. The project has also addressed long-term stabilization with the introduction of new environmental regulating systems in the Homestead, the historic birthplace and home of Emily Dickinson. This work is the first step in an ambitious long range vision that aims to establish the Museum as the premier center for the study and celebration of the life and work of Emily Dickinson. 

The Museum reopens to the public on August 16, 2022, after more than two years of closure. In the interim, there has been renewed and growing interest in Emily Dickinson and the revolutionary poetic voice she honed from her home in Amherst. Hailed as the ‘Original Queen of Social Distancing, Dickinson and her work have been particularly resonant in the past two years. New interpretations and citations–including most notably Apple TV+’s hit series Dickinson–have created a heightened interest in the poet among new audiences.  The Emily Dickinson Museum has happily found itself at the center of this buzz, attracting thousands of individuals from nearly 70 countries to its virtual programs.

With this surge in global interest, the Museum is expecting significant visitation numbers in the coming months. Visitors must make an advance reservation for a guided tour–daily space is limited. To guarantee a tour spot ahead of visiting, please use the Museum’s new online ticketing system: EmilyDickinsonMuseum.org/Visit

Museum Executive Director Jane Wald says, “We are thrilled to throw open the doors of the Dickinson Homestead to visitors once more! While closed, the Museum remained active with dynamic online programming for a growing worldwide following, and I am grateful to the Museum’s staff for their creativity, determination, and expertise in continuing to fulfill the Museum’s mission under trying circumstances. The Museum also completed a breathtaking restoration of a large part of the Homestead interior that, amazingly, incorporates recovered original architectural features and decorative details that have been hidden for more than a hundred years. Now, every guest at Emily Dickinson’s home will have a more authentic experience of the place where her poetic genius flourished.”

Program Director Brooke Steinhauser says, “The power of place brings Dickinson’s poetry to life and our guide team is excited to share enriching visitor experiences with learners of all ages. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or making a return trip to the Homestead, the restoration project has offered us fresh interpretations of the life and work of the poet. We work to build community with Dickinson- and poetry-lovers each day, and we’re eager to welcome our global and deeply passionate constituency back to the place she called home.”

Generous support for the Museum’s reopening has been provided by Corporate Patron PeoplesBank, Corporate Sponsor Teagno Construction Inc., and Corporate Friend Curran and Keegan Financial.  

PeoplesBank logo

Project Details Restoration Plan

Goals

The principal project goal was to restore the original portion of the Homestead built in 1813, excluding later additions. A second important goal was to install a high-quality heating, ventilation, and cooling system and extend distribution of conditioned air to all interior spaces in the main block. A third goal was to reinstate a historic path joining the Homestead and neighboring Evergreens (home of Emily Dickinson’s brother and his family) to provide a fully accessible route between the two historic Dickinson houses.

In 2019, with funding from the Mass Cultural Facilities Fund, the Emily Dickinson Museum retained Albany-based Mesick Cohen Wilson Baker Architects to produce a Design Development Report to guide restoration. The Museum also retained Marylou Davis, Inc., as consultant in nineteenth-century decorative arts to research, recommend, and, in some cases, reproduce the finishes and decor for restoration. Following its closure in March 2020, the Museum formed a plan to implement the grant-funded design work and began the construction phase in July 2021.

Front Entrance
When the Homestead’s front entrance was altered early in the twentieth century, the existing nine-foot door was removed and stored onsite. It has been refurbished and reinstated as it appears in early twentieth-century photographs.

Hallways
The first and second-floor hallways retained evidence of wallpapers from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The restoration team identified fragments that coincided with Emily Dickinson’s residence in the house (1855-1886) as an adult working poet. The fragments provided enough evidence to recreate the full pattern, which now decorates the lower and upper halls. Modern floorboards were removed to reveal the original 1813 boards. A colorful floorcloth (painted varnished canvas) was recreated for the first floor hall from a nineteenth-century sample found in The Evergreens. Paint analysis established that the windows, doors, and baseboards were painted brown to align with the rich walnut front door. The restoration team replaced modern balusters of the main staircase with originals stored onsite for over 100 years, and finished the skirtboards and risers with a grain-painting technique discovered through paint analysis.

Parlors
As reported by Emily Dickinson’s niece, the parlor wallpaper was “white with large figures”, the carpet pattern was “a great basket of flowers, from which roses were spilling all over the floor to a border of more flowers at the edge,” and the prevailing atmosphere was cool, stiffish and dark. Without specific physical evidence, these elements have been selected from mid-nineteenth-century patterns to achieve the overall effect as described. The parlors and other spaces are furnished with items acquired at the time of Edward and Emily Norcross Dickinson’s marriage in 1828, items purchased later to keep their home reasonably in step with fashion, and objects donated by the Apple TV+ Dickinson show.

Northwest Chamber
The second-floor northwest chamber adjacent to Emily’s room, the space where her mother, Emily Norcross Dickinson, spent the last years of her life, now includes reproduction wallpaper based on found fragments, period-appropriate carpeting, a restored passage between Emily’s room and her mother’s, Dickinson family furnishings, and the original mantel and fireplace surround. The restored northwest chamber illuminates nuanced family relationships and the significance of health and healthcare during Dickinson’s life. 

Implementation of Environmental Regulating Systems
The Homestead is now equipped with new heating and cooling systems that replaced limited and aging residential systems. The level of temperature and humidity control provided by the new system enables the Museum to protect its collections and advance its long-term preservation and stewardship goals.  

The Evergreens remains closed for continued preservation improvements.

Project Resources
For press-approved images, please visit: bit.ly/EDMRestorationPhotos

This project has been funded in part by the generous gift of the late William McC. Vickery (Amherst College ‘57).

ABOUT THE EMILY DICKINSON MUSEUM

The Emily Dickinson Museum is dedicated to sparking the imagination by amplifying Emily Dickinson’s revolutionary poetic voice from the place she called home.

The Museum comprises two historic houses—the Dickinson Homestead and The Evergreens—in the center of Amherst, Massachusetts, that were home to the poet (1830-1886) and members of her immediate family during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The Museum was created in 2003 when the two houses merged under the ownership of the Trustees of Amherst College. The Museum is overseen by a separate Board of Governors and is responsible for raising its own operating, program, and capital funds.

The Emily Dickinson Museum is a member of Museums10, a collaboration of ten museums linked to the Five Colleges in the Pioneer Valley—Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and Smith Colleges, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

 

 

 

We are grateful to the following sponsors of the Museum’s Reopening:

PeoplesBank logo
Corporate Patron

Teagno Construction Inc.
Corporate Sponsor

Curran and Keegan Financial
Corporate Friend

The front facade of the Homestead

A Virtual Exploration of
The Homestead and The Evergreens

The front facade of the Homestead

The Homestead, built in 1813.

Over the course of her life in Amherst, Massachusetts, Emily Dickinson forged her powers of creativity and insight in the intimate environs of her beloved home, creating extraordinary poetry that touches the world. The poet’s daily life became the spark for extraordinary writing and her home proved a sanctuary for her boundless creative energy that produced almost 1,800 poems and a profusion of vibrant letters. Here, Dickinson fully embraced her unique personal vision, leaving behind a poetic legacy that is revolutionary in form and substance. Today, her voice and her story continue to inspire diverse audiences around the globe.

Visitors to the Emily Dickinson Museum explore the Homestead, where Dickinson was born, died, and did most of her writing, and The Evergreens, home of the poet’s brother, sister-in-law, and their three children. The Homestead, lived in by other families after Dickinson’s death, is in the process of being restored to its appearance during the poet’s writing years. The Evergreens was only ever lived in by Dickinsons or family heirs and its original 19th-century finishes remain intact. Dickinson’s life story and the story of her posthumous publication is uniquely entwined with these two houses and the three acres upon which they sit in Amherst.

BEGIN YOUR EXPLORATION

In this online exploration, you will visit several rooms within the two houses of the Dickinson family. Along the way you will see video and photographs of these historic spaces and learn more about how the poet’s life unfolded here. You will meet friends and family members, and encounter Dickinson’s own words quoted from extant poems and letters. Wherever you are, we hope this virtual exploration transports you to Emily Dickinson’s Amherst home.

The exterior of the 2nd floor of the Evergreens viewed from the ground

The Evergreens, built in 1856

 

Long Years apart – can make no
Breach a second cannot fill –
The absence of the Witch does not
Invalidate the spell –

The embers of a Thousand Years
Uncovered by the Hand
That fondled them when they were Fire
Will stir and understand

Fr1405

 

The Virtual Exploration of the Homestead and The Evergreens has been made possible in part by a grant from Mass Humanities and the generous support of Nicole P. Heath and of Susan R. Snively.

Mass Humanities logo
 
Phosphorescence graphics for October 2022

Phosphorescence Poetry Reading Series
Thursday, October 27, 6pm ET

Phosphorescence October 2022 featured poets:
.chisaraokwu. and Shin Yu Pai

VIRTUAL PROGRAM

This virtual program is free to attend. Registration is required. 

REGISTER

To Emily Dickinson, phosphorescence, was a divine spark and the illuminating light behind learning — it was volatile, but transformative in nature. Produced by the Emily Dickinson Museum, the Phosphorescence Poetry Reading Series celebrates contemporary creativity that echoes Dickinson’s own revolutionary poetic voice. The Series features established and emerging poets whose work and backgrounds represent the diversity of the flourishing contemporary poetry scene. The 2021 Series will be a virtual event to ensure the health and safety of participants. While we are disappointed not to gather together in Amherst, we are excited to connect with a global community of friends and writers.  Join us on the last Thursdays of each month to hear from poets around the world as they read their work and discuss what poetry and Dickinson mean to them.

Phosphorescence Lineup 2022


About this month’s poets:

headshot of poet .chisaraokwu..chisaraokwu. is an Igbo actor, poet, and healthcare futurist. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in GRIST, Obsidian, Zone3, Berkeley Poetry Review, Cider Press Review, Glass, Tinderbox and others. Thrice nominated for Sundress’ Best of Net (2019, 2020, 2021) and awarded writing fellowships and residencies with BANFF, Cave Canem, Tin House and Brooklyn Poets, she calls just about any beach home.
chisaraokwu.com

 

 


headshot of poet Shin Yu PaiShin Yu Pai is a poet, essayist and visual artist. She is the author of several books of poetry, including “Virga”(Empty Bowl, 2021), “ENSŌ” (Entre Ríos Books, 2020), “Sightings: Selected Works (2000-2005)” (1913 Press, 2007), “Aux Arcs” (La Alameda, 2013), “Adamantine” (White Pine, 2010), and “Equivalence” (La Alameda, 2003). She served as the fourth poet laureate of the city of Redmond from 2015 to 2017. She is a three-time fellow of MacDowell and has also been in residence at Taipei Artist Village, Soul Mountain, The Ragdale Foundation, Centrum, and The National Park Service. Her poetry films have screened at the Zebra Poetry Film Festival and the Northwest Film Forum’s Cadence video poetry festival. She lives and works in the Pacific Northwest.
shinyupai.com


 

Support Phosphorescence and Honor Someone Special:
Admission to all Phosphorescence events is free, but online donations, especially those made in honor or memory of family, friends, or colleagues are heartily encouraged and vital to the future of our programs. All gifts are tax deductible.

Photo of donors John and Elizabeth Armstrong standing in front of a bookshelf

Press Release:
Armstrong Carriage House Gift

THE EMILY DICKINSON MUSEUM RECEIVES $600,000 COMMITMENT FOR RECONSTRUCTION OF THE EVERGREENS CARRIAGE HOUSE

Challenge gift from John and Elizabeth Armstrong kicks off major $3.5M 20th Anniversary fundraising effort, Twice as Bold, in support of Museum’s long range plan

Photo of donors John and Elizabeth Armstrong standing in front of a bookshelfWe invite you to join us by responding to the Armstrongs’ challenge to be part of the Twice as Bold initiative by making a gift to the Museum before June 30 in support of its program and core mission, in celebration of the 20th Anniversary, and in honor of Emily Dickinson and her enduring relevance.

DONATE

(AMHERST, Mass., February 9, 2022) – The Emily Dickinson Museum today announced a major pledge of $600,000 from former Board members and long-time friends John and Elizabeth Armstrong for the design and reconstruction of the Carriage House that once stood to the east of The Evergreens, the home of Emily Dickinson’s brother Austin and his wife Susan. The project flows from a recently-completed long range plan, which maps programmatic and capital enhancements over the next decade at the Museum’s historic downtown Amherst location. By significantly expanding access to the Museum and its programs for both onsite and online visitors, the changes firmly establish the Museum as the premier center for the study and celebration of Dickinson’s life and work, and as a source and site of inspiration for new generations of poets, artists, writers, and thinkers.

The Armstrongs’ commitment is the largest received to date in the effort to raise $3.5 million in operating, program, and capital support by the end of the Museum’s 20th Anniversary festivities, which kick off next year and run through the summer of 2024. The initiative, called Twice as Bold after one of Dickinson’s poems, aims to raise awareness and support for the Museum at a pivotal time in its history. Gifts from other Museum stakeholders will be sought to meet and amplify the Armstrongs’ generous start. “Elizabeth and I are delighted to be able to pledge our support to this important project,” states John Armstrong, “Emily Dickinson’s poetry and the place she called home have proven themselves to be enduring gifts to the world. It is both our pleasure and responsibility to give back, and to invite others at every level to join us.”

The reconstructed Evergreens Carriage House–scheduled for completion in early 2024–will initially serve as a much-needed site for visitor welcome, orientation, and services while a third and final phase of Dickinson Homestead restoration concludes. In the longer term, the Carriage House will be dedicated to student and visitor learning and engagement. Initial design plans call for reconstructing the historic appearance of the exterior of the Carriage House as faithfully as possible while optimizing interior functions and flow. In addition to this and the Homestead projects, the Museum’s plans include restoration of The Evergreens and the surrounding landscape and gardens, as well as significant enhancements to the Museum’s public and educational program offerings, in which tens of thousands of virtual visitors from around the world have participated during the pandemic.

“It is fitting that John and Elizabeth Armstrong have started us off with this truly inspiring challenge gift,” stated the Museum’s Executive Director, Jane Wald, “Their unwavering dedication before the Museum’s formal beginning twenty years ago has been a catalyst for the exponential impact the Emily Dickinson Museum can have as the true and generative center of the life and work of one of this country’s greatest poets. They are ever and always willing to lead by example.”

Lithograph aerial view of Amherst with Evergreens and HomesteadAdded Wald, “In addition to providing innovatively designed program space, the Carriage House will serve as a clear signal that the Museum is pivoting in important ways toward the public, is expanding Emily Dickinson’s outreach to the world from her home ground, and is committed to welcoming new Dickinson enthusiasts and tourists to Amherst.”

The Armstrongs chose Amherst as their new home in 1995 after John’s retirement from IBM, where he served for 30 years and was a vice president for science and technology and director of research. Their involvement with the Museum began when Elizabeth (Lise to family and friends) volunteered her time and talent as a seasonal guide at The Evergreens. Both John and Elizabeth served as founding members of the Board of Governors when the Homestead and Evergreens properties merged to form the Museum in 2003. They have continued to be involved in the Museum’s leadership, with John serving as Board Chair from 2013 to 2015, and Elizabeth a long-time and valued member of the Development Committee.

“We’ve always been proud of our association with the Museum, recognizing its importance to our regional community and now–through the wonders of technology–to the world.” stated Elizabeth, adding “We’ve been drawn over the years to supporting singular projects that open multiple possibilities for the Museum. The Carriage House is just such a project…clearing the way for other campus improvements and for enriching the visitor experience.”

The Museum is currently closed to the public while it completes the second phase of a three-part restoration project at the Homestead. Its much-anticipated reopening later this year will mark the start of the Museum’s 20th Anniversary celebration.

For more information about the Museum’s plans and fundraising effort, visit https://www.emilydickinsonmuseum.org/twiceasbold/

For images, please visit: bit.ly/ArmstrongGiftEDMPhotos

ABOUT THE EMILY DICKINSON MUSEUM

The Emily Dickinson Museum is dedicated to sparking the imagination by amplifying Emily Dickinson’s revolutionary poetic voice from the place she called home.

The Museum comprises two historic houses—the Dickinson Homestead and The Evergreens—in the center of Amherst, Massachusetts, that were home to the poet (1830-1886) and members of her immediate family during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The Museum was created in 2003 when the two houses merged under the ownership and 501(c)(3) status of the Trustees of Amherst College. The Museum is overseen by a separate Board of Governors and is responsible for raising its own operating, program, and capital funds.

The Emily Dickinson Museum is a member of Museums10, a collaboration of ten museums linked to the Five Colleges in the Pioneer Valley—Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and Smith Colleges, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Hailee Steinfeld dressed in character as Emily Dickinson

Press Release:
Apple TV+ Gifts Set Pieces and Costumes to Museum

THE EMILY DICKINSON MUSEUM RECEIVES DONATION
OF SETS, PROPS AND COSTUMES
FROM APPLE TV+’s DICKINSON SERIES

The donation to the Museum made by Apple TV+ and wiip Productions includes over 300 items from the sets of Dickinson and over 100 costume pieces.

Hailee Steinfeld dressed in character as Emily Dickinson

(AMHERST, Mass., December 10, 2021) – The Emily Dickinson Museum today announced a major gift from the Apple TV+ and wiip Productions award-winning series Dickinson, of a full range of set pieces, costumes and props. The gift includes antique furniture and objects acquired by the show to furnish as authentically as possible the sets of the Dickinson residences, the Homestead and the Evergreens, as well as costumes worn by the principal actors. 

Created by Alena Smith, Dickinson is a half-hour comedy series that audaciously explores the constraints of society, gender and family from the perspective of the rebellious young poet, Emily Dickinson. Set in the 19th century, the series is a coming-of-age story that has helped the poet gain hero status among millennials. The series stars Hailee Steinfeld, Toby Huss, Ella Hunt, and Jane Krakowski, and has included guest appearances from Wiz Khalifa, John Mulaney, Zosia Mamet, and Nick Kroll. The third and final season began streaming on Apple+ on November 5, 2021.

The production worked closely with the Emily Dickinson Museum throughout its filming. During pre-production, various members of the production crew visited the Museum in Amherst, Mass., to study the architecture and floor plans of the two homes. Principal actors toured the Museum as they worked on inhabiting members of the Dickinson family and their circle. As the series unfolded, researchers and production staff regularly reached out to the Museum to track down details of family friends and acquaintances, the look and feel of nineteenth century Amherst, and the gardens and grounds, among other topics.

“I can’t imagine a more meaningful conclusion to the journey of making Dickinson than giving this gift to the Dickinson Museum,” said Creator and showrunner Alena Smith. “It is the greatest end to the story I wanted to tell, and makes me feel so proud that these pieces of our production will contribute to Emily’s legacy and help the Museum in its mission of deepening scholarly and historic preservation. I love that the show was able to introduce Emily to new generations around the globe, and that it will continue to help make the Museum a place of even more international prominence. Just to know that in 20 years fans can come to the Museum and see a lasting piece of the Dickinson world we built is amazing to me. It makes my heart sing.”

“The Dickinson show and the Museum share the goal of amplifying Emily Dickinson’s powerful and revolutionary poetic voice,” said Museum Executive Director Jane Wald, “and we’re thrilled that the show has introduced so many to that voice. This wonderful gift from Dickinson, AppleTV+, and wiip Productions is inspired by Dickinson’s poetic legacy–one that inspired the show in the first place and that endures not only here at her home but, as it should, throughout the world.”Photo of 3 Dickinson costumes from the series on mannequins

Antiques from the set of Dickinson are appropriate to the time period of the Dickinson residences that comprise the Museum and were sourced in the same ways the Museum would have done so to acquire appropriate objects for its collection. While these items from the show do not have Dickinson provenance, they will augment the Museum’s collection of original furnishings to imbue the rooms of the Museum with greater immersive power. Future visitors will encounter some of these objects in more fully furnished spaces and enjoy an expanded opportunity to engage with the trappings of daily life at the Homestead and The Evergreens. 

On December 10, 2021, the Emily Dickinson Museum presented a closer look at the items from the donation during the annual Emily Dickinson Birthday Celebration, which marked the 191st anniversary of the poet’s birth. Including interviews with production designers, as well as behind-the-scenes looks at the ongoing Homestead restoration, this virtual program drew a global audience from over 60 countries.

The Museum is currently closed while it is undergoing a major restoration project and will reopen in Spring 2022. 

For images, please visit: bit.ly/DickinsonGiftPhotosEDM

ABOUT THE EMILY DICKINSON MUSEUM

The Emily Dickinson Museum: The Homestead and The Evergreens is dedicated to sparking the imagination by amplifying Emily Dickinson’s revolutionary poetic voice from the place she called home.

The Emily Dickinson Museum is owned by the Trustees of Amherst College and overseen by a separate Board of Governors. The Museum is responsible for raising its own operating and capital funds. The Museum is proud to celebrate the bicentennial of Amherst College. The Dickinson family were intimately connected with Amherst College in its first 75 years, beginning with the poet’s grandfather, who helped to found the institution. The College was an early and lasting influence in the poet’s own life, playing an inestimable role in her early education and friendships, and later connecting her to an ever-widening local and global community.

The Emily Dickinson Museum is a member of Museums10, a collaboration of ten museums linked to the Five Colleges in the Pioneer Valley—Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and Smith Colleges, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Homestead in the snow

Major Restoration Project Launches

The Emily Dickinson Homestead embarks on the next phase of historic restoration. 
This project will restore more of the National Historic Landmark home of one of America’s greatest poets to its period of historic significance.

Homestead in the snow

(Amherst, MA, February 17, 2021) – The Emily Dickinson Museum is embarking on the most significant restoration project to date of the interior architectural features, finishes, and furnishings of the revered poet’s Homestead. The project will also address long-term stabilization with the introduction of new environmental regulating systems in both the Homestead, the historic birthplace and home of Emily Dickinson, and The Evergreens, the Italianate home of Emily’s brother Austin and beloved sister-in-law Susan Gilbert. This work is the first step in an ambitious long range vision that aims to establish the Museum as the premier center for the study and celebration of the life and work of Emily Dickinson.

The project launches at a time of renewed and growing interest in Emily Dickinson and the revolutionary poetic voice she honed from her home in Amherst. Hailed recently as the ‘Original Queen of Social Distancing’, Dickinson and her work have been particularly resonant this past year. New interpretations and citations include Apple TV+’s hit series Dickinson, the new Taylor Swift album Evermore, the intimate work of Nobel Prize winner Louise Glück, and the philanthropy of MacKenzie Scott. The Emily Dickinson Museum has also happily found itself at the center of this buzz, attracting thousands of individuals from nearly 70 countries to its Virtual Programs over the past 6 months alone.

Museum Executive Director Jane Wald says, “We’re of course thrilled with the recent wave of interest in Emily Dickinson, and particularly in the home so intimately connected to her work. The Museum is committed to providing visitors with an increasingly authentic experience of the homes and grounds inhabited by the Dickinson family, and this restoration will have a profound impact on that experience. It will not only triple the amount of restored space in the Homestead accessible to guests, but also add critical details to their understanding of Dickinson’s daily life, especially as we introduce exciting new programs and interpretive themes in the coming years as part of our long range plan.”

Wald indicated that the project is able to kick-off earlier than planned in part because of funding made available through the generosity of the late William McC. Vickery–a longtime board member and champion of the Museum–for just such ‘bricks and mortar’ projects, as well as the Board of Governors’ decision to take advantage of the Museum’s extended COVID-related closure. Construction will last through 2021. While closed for restoration, the Museum will continue to actively engage audiences around the world through its schedule of online programs (EmilyDickinsonMuseum.org/events-news).

The Restoration Plan
With funding from the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund, the Emily Dickinson Museum retained Mesick Cohen Wilson Baker Architects to produce a Design Development Report for the original portion of the Homestead built by the poet’s grandfather in 1813. The Museum also retained historic decorative arts consultant Marylou Davis to research, recommend, and, in some cases, reproduce the finishes and decor of the nineteenth-century Homestead. With the completion of work described in these studies, the Homestead will be on its way to being fully restored to its period of mid-nineteenth century historical significance, as Emily Dickinson would have known it.
 
Previous restoration projects – Emily Dickinson’s bedroom, conservatory, family library, and heirloom orchard – have created for visitors dynamic and personal encounters with the poet’s world available nowhere else. This, in addition to the purchase of adjacent property on Triangle Street to house administrative staff, has begun to allow the Homestead to shed multiple functions and regain its authenticity as Emily Dickinson’s own home and creative space.
 
Hallways
Investigation of the hallways has yielded fragments of original period-specific wallpaper, which confirm that Emily Dickinson passed through corridors and open halls decorated in a colorful gothic stylized floral pattern. Paint analysis reveals the precise paint colors for the woodwork. Restoring their authentic nineteenth-century appearance on the first and second floors of the Homestead, will reinstate the largest canvasses portraying the atmosphere of the home.
 
Parlors
The restored parlors will recapture the essentials of the Dickinsons’ daily life and interests in music, needlework, reading, art, civic and business affairs, and entertaining. The rooms will be decorated, as reported by Emily Dickinson’s niece, in wallpaper “white with large figures” and a carpet woven with “a great basket of flowers, from which roses were spilling all over the floor to a border of more flowers at the edge.” They will be furnished with items acquired at the time of Edward and Emily Norcross Dickinson’s marriage in 1828, as well as those acquired to keep their home reasonably in step with fashion.
 
Northwest Chamber
The second-floor northwest chamber adjacent to Emily’s room, the space where her mother, Emily Norcross Dickinson, spent the last years of her life, will include the reproduction of wallpaper based on found fragments, removal of modern floorboards, furnishing with Dickinson family artifacts, among other details. The restored northwest chamber will illuminate nuanced family relationships and the significance of health and healthcare in Dickinson’s life.
 
Implementation of Environmental Regulating Systems
The Homestead and The Evergreens will be equipped with new heating and cooling systems that will provide the level of temperature and humidity control that historic house museums need to protect their collections. The new systems will replace aging and limited residential systems and will contribute to the Museum’s long-term preservation and stewardship goals. “With behind-the-scenes installation of mechanical systems taken care of,” said Wald, “we’ll be able to focus on the fascinating work of further restoration and educational programming.” 

Project Resources

For press-approved images, please visit: bit.ly/EDMRestorationPhotos
For additional images, please reach out to publicrelations@emilydickinsonmuseum.org
 
This phase of the project has been funded in part by a generous gift from the late William McC. Vickery (Amherst College ‘57) and in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
 
The next and final phase of the Homestead restoration project will return the property’s service wing (kitchen, laundry, and servants’ quarters) and east addition (dining room and bedchamber) to their period of historic significance at an estimated cost of $1M. Fundraising is underway for this and other projects outlined in the Museum’s recently approved Long Range Plan. 
 
We welcome partners interested in helping us build capacity for this important phase of the Dickinson Homestead Restoration. Make a donation today to make this work possible.
 
ABOUT THE EMILY DICKINSON MUSEUM
The Emily Dickinson Museum: The Homestead and The Evergreens is dedicated to sparking the imagination by amplifying Emily Dickinson’s revolutionary poetic voice from the place she called home.
 
Owned by the Trustees of Amherst College, the Emily Dickinson Museum is overseen by a separate Board of Governors and is responsible for raising its own operating and capital funding. 
 
The Emily Dickinson Museum is a member of Museums10, a collaboration of ten museums linked to the Five Colleges in the Pioneer Valley—Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and Smith Colleges, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

My Emily Dickinson:
Video Gallery and Story Collecting Project

In honor of Emily Dickinson’s 190th birthday in December of 2020, the Museum collected your stories from around the world. So many of us feel a deep connection to Dickinson’s life, her poetry, or to both. Some of us read her work as young students in school and become curious about the woman who lowered gingerbread from her window; others of us do not find Dickinson until we are older and her poetry’s themes of loss and hope begin to resonate profoundly; still others find that Dickinson’s wit and fierce individuality is a touchstone. This project sought to document the many Emily Dickinsons that exist in the hearts of contemporary readers. We received fifty participant videos from as close as Amherst to as far away as Albania. 

This video gallery offers a range of perspectives on Dickinson from a diverse group of her readers who generously shared their stories of strange Dickinson encounters, first meetings, and deeply felt connection. We are very grateful to these story-tellers and we hope you enjoy their collective message of Dickinson’s enduring relevance in our lives today.

 

Text from poem fr660: "I Took my Power in my Hand - And went against The World -"

Statement in Solidarity with Black Lives Matter

Text from poem fr660: "I Took my Power in my Hand - And went against The World -"

 

This statement was originally released on June 3rd 2020:

Today, in our distress over recent devastating events, we stand with our community and with the Black Lives Matter movement against racial injustice and inequality. We recognize that real change is necessary both in our country and in our museum.⁣

We believe that museums are not neutral: they should be part of public conversations on contemporary issues such as racism, injustice, and oppression. Museums have long been institutions that hold and reflect cultural values and collective memory. Now, they have an even greater responsibility to be active participants in challenging age-old and contemporary systems of oppression. ⁣

Like other museums, the Emily Dickinson Museum has a duty to examine the history it teaches and to expand the stories it tells. Emily Dickinson lived through a catastrophic Civil War rooted in racial injustice and oppression. Her family was part of a society that benefited from the labor of immigrants, African Americans, and Native Americans in service to a privileged White majority. The poet’s literary work was made possible by the labor of these domestic servants. The Emily Dickinson Museum strives to tell this full story. Our new interpretive plan will place greater emphasis on the perspectives of Irish, Native American, and free Black workers in the Dickinson households, making plain issues of race and class in Dickinson family daily life. ⁣

At the Emily Dickinson Museum we recognize that this interpretive work is but one step in the greater effort to increase diversity, equity, inclusion, and access for audiences, staff, and leadership in institutions like ours. Dickinson’s revolutionary poetic voice became an agent of change, both in the literary canon and in the lives of individuals who find depths of meaning in her account of our human condition. As an institution, we are committed to the continuous work of change that museums can and should be doing to build an equitable society.