Free Fun Friday, August 23, 2019 from 10AM-5PM

Join us for Free Fun Friday at the Emily Dickinson Museum on Friday, August 23! Sponsored by the Highland Street Foundation, this series allows free entry to museums goers at many museums across Massachusetts. Visit the Emily Dickinson Museum on August 23 for free admission to the Homestead, where Emily Dickinson wrote nearly all of her poetry, and her brother’s home, the Evergreens. Read on for tips on how to make your Free Fun Friday at the Emily Dickinson Museum the most fun possible!

On Free Fun Friday, the Emily Dickinson Museum is open from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.

What to Expect during Your Visit
The Emily Dickinson Museum consists of  3 acres, 2 historic houses—the Homestead, where the poet was born and lived most of her life, and The Evergreens, the home of the poet’s brother—and the story of 1 exceptional poet!  

On Free Fun Friday you can enjoy self-guided tours of the Homestead and The Evergreens with guides on hand to answer questions. A scavenger hunt through the houses invites you to look closely at the historic furnishings used by the Dickinson family. On the Museum grounds, visit the craft tent for fun for all ages. Explore the “Grounds of Memory” with the EDM’s self-guided audio tour. Pollinator Bingo in the garden will also be available! The Museum also has a gift shop with Dickinson-related books and other items appropriate for all shoppers. 

The day will also include this special program:  Author Krystyna Poray Goddu will be on site offering readings and signing copies of her newly released Dickinson biography for middle-grade readers, Becoming Emily. Catch a reading at 11:30AM or 1:30PM.

Krystyna Poray Goddu

Krystyna Poray Goddu is author of “Becoming Emily: The Life of Emily Dickinson,” the picture-book biography of “Alicia Markova: An Unlikely Ballerina,” and the middle-grade biography “A Girl Called Vincent: The Life of Poet Edna St. Vincent Millay,” winner of the SCBWI 2017 Golden Kite Honor Book for Nonfiction, and co-author, with her cousin Krystyna Mihulka, of Mihulka’s childhood memoir: Krysia—A Polish Girl’s Stolen Childhood During World War II: A Memoir.  She has written many books for the educational market, and her work has appeared in American Girl magazine, The New York Times Book Review, and the Riverbank Review of Books for Young Readers. She is a regular writer and reviewer of children’s books for Publishers Weekly. She holds a degree in comparative literature from Brown University, has taught reading and writing in independent schools in Manhattan and loves visiting schools to present programs about the subjects of her books.


Photograph of children gathering around a book in the Dickinson library

Directions to the Museum from Interstate 91 and the Boston area are available here

Parking is available in several locations. Amherst College’s Alumni Parking lot (see map) will offer free parking for the day as well as the side streets near the Museum. Metered parking is in effect on Main Street, in front of the Museum. Accessible parking spaces are available. Please note that the Museum driveway is for dropping off passengers and for accessible parking only. All other vehicles must park in the locations described above.


Although the Museum does not have formal picnic facilities, visitors are welcome to eat food and drink on the grounds.  Food and drink are not permitted inside either the Homestead or The Evergreens.  The Museum does not have a food service facility, but bottled water, juice, and snacks will be for sale.  The Museum is within easy walking distance of many dining establishments in the center of Amherst.

We are delighted to welcome visitors of all ages!  Please note: children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult when entering the museum houses.   Baby strollers and back carriers are welcome on the grounds but must be left outside when entering museum buildings.  

The Tour Center and first floors of the Homestead and The Evergreens are accessible to individuals with mobility challenges. Because of the historic nature of the two Dickinson houses, neither house includes an elevator to the second floor. Visitors who are unable to use stairs are provided with illustrated notebooks that describe the exhibits upstairs in each house, and guides are happy to answer questions about upstairs rooms. Service dogs are welcome throughout the property, including both historic houses. For specific questions about accessibility at the Museum please contact

Other Guidelines

Inside the Museum buildings, please note the following:

  • Photography and video recordings are not permitted inside museum buildings.
  • Food and beverages are not permitted inside museum buildings. Visitors will be asked to leave any food and beverages they have outside the museum building before entering.
  • For the safety of museum collections, visitors are not permitted to touch museum objects.

“To another Sea”: Dickinson, Environment, and the West, August 8-11, 2019

Emily Dickinson wrote that, while she “never saw a moor” or “the sea,” she knew “how the heather looks” and “what a billow be.” She knew, too, the sea’s swells, tides, mysteries, and familiar creatures. This year, the 2019 Emily Dickinson International Society Conference will take scholars to the heart of this place that Dickinson explored in her poetry, to Asilomar in California, between August 8 and 11.

The conference will feature panels by international scholars on a variety of topics, including critical interpretations of Dickinson’s poetry and letters in light of water, environmental criticism, non-human studies, plant studies, creativity and imagination, ecology, geography, and landscape. A variety of panels, round tables, and flash presentations will fill the conference’s days and nights, which participants will spend by the sea, facing West.

Poet reading at a microphone in the museum

Amherst Arts Night Plus Open Mic, August 1, 2019

Join us during Amherst Arts Night Plus on August 1, 2019 for our monthly Open Mic. Poets, writers, and performers of any kind are welcome! Come early to view the pop-up, contemporary art exhibition in the Homestead by our featured artist and take in a movement performance in the site-specific art installation in the conservatory. The open mic begins at 6:00 p.m. and will be followed by this month’s featured readers. Those who would like to share their work should arrive between 5:00 and 6:00 p.m. to sign up.


front cover O'Carroll

The Joke’s on Me by Chris O’Carroll was published in early 2019



Featured poet: Chris O’Carroll, following the open mic

Chris O’Carroll is an actor, comedian, and Light magazine featured poet whose work has appeared in The Great American Wise Ass Poetry Anthology. He has won British prizes from Flash 500, Literary Review, The New Statesman, The Oldie, and The Spectator. A native of Cambridge, Massachusetts, he has lived in England, Canada, and many parts of the U.S., including New Orleans, New York City, and Emporia, Kansas. He now resides in Western Massachusetts with his wife, historian Karen Manners Smith. His book of poems, The Joke’s on Me, was published by White Violet Press earlier this year. 

Featured artist: Madge Evers

Madge Evers is fascinated by nature’s ability to repurpose organic matter. Her work originates in the soil of urban and rural landscapes, using materials she grows or forages. The fungi kingdom knows no waste and makes the detritus of the plant and animal kingdoms live again. Mushroom spores’ primary goal is to establish a larger community. Evers work uses fungi to create imagery that shows the inner workings of nature – imagery that belies their reputation for decay. 

Forest, Deep and Mighty, mushroom spores on paper, 11 x 15 inches, 2018

Artist Bio: Madge Evers grew up in Connecticut and lives in western Massachusetts. In her early years, she was a fine arts photographer with an interest in portraiture and the human form. She studied at the Maine Photographic Workshop, has a B.A. in English from Suffolk University, and an M.A. from the University of Rhode Island. Madge’s work originates from her passion for gardening and growing things. She cultivates Stropharia rugosoannulata in her garden and forages for mushrooms in woods and fields. Both provide her with a renewable source of spore “ink.” When not making spore prints, Madge can be found teaching high school English or somewhere in the garden. Find out more about Madge Evers here.

“In Suspension”

Also on view this evening is our Conservatory Art Installation Exhibit, “In Suspension,” by Tereza Swanda, Ingrid Pichler, and Fletcher Boote. As part of Arts Night Plus, the exhibit will be activated by movement performed by Kelly Silliman at 5:30 and 6PM.

Kelly Silliman will be activating the conservatory with movement as part of “In Suspension.” She has created a site-specific dance piece inspired by the shapes and movements of Tereza Swanda’s installation, and by the variant wordings found in the editing process of Emily Dickinson’s poems. The dance is intended to be viewed from all directions, and from both inside and outside the conservatory. Audience members are invited to move to a different viewing spot at any point in the piece. 

Tereza Swanda, one of three artists who created “In Suspension,” will speak about the work at the beginning of the open mic.

kelly illiman in conservatory

Amherst Arts Night Plus Open Mic, July 11, 2019

Join us during Amherst Arts Night Plus on July 11, 2019 for our monthly Open Mic. Poets, writers, and performers of any kind are welcome! Come early to view the  contemporary art exhibition in Homestead conservatory. The open mic begins at 6:00 p.m. and will be followed by a talk by this month’s featured artist. Those who would like to share their work should arrive between 5:00 and 6:00 p.m. to sign up.

Featured Artwork

On view from 5pm to 8pm

This month’s featured artwork is our Conservatory Art Installation Exhibit, “In Suspension,” by Tereza Swanda, Ingrid Pichler, and Fletcher Boote. The exhibit will be accompanied by a dance piece performed by Kelly Silliman. 

Featured Performance

Kelly Silliman dancing on stage

5:45pm, second performance following Open Mic

Kelly Silliman will be activating the conservatory with movement as part of In Suspension. She has created a site-specific dance piece inspired by the shapes and movements of Tereza Swanda’s installation, and by the variant wordings found in the editing process of Emily Dickinson’s poems. The dance is intended to be viewed from all directions, and from both inside and outside the conservatory, and witnesses are invited to move to a different viewing spot at any point in the piece, if they wish. 

Tereza Swanda, one of three artists who created “In Suspension”, will speak about the work following the open mic, around 6:45PM.



“Buccaneers of Buzz” – A Children’s Circus, July 20, 2019

Bees 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 Children’s Circus! Did you know Dickinson wrote around 100 poems about bees? She was a keen observer of the natural world, where hummingbirds, butterflies, beetles and bees captured her imagination. Perhaps such pollinators fascinated Dickinson because of their contributions to her gardens! At our Circus, learn more about the continued important of pollinators today, and the things you can do at home to improve the environment for them.

The Circus is $5 per family/Free to Museum Friends.
Stop by between 12 and 3:30PM to see what all the buzz is about!

Children playing on stilts at the circus*Saturday will be hot, but the circus must go on! We will have cold water on hand, snacks and drinks for sale, and a sprinkler “cooling station”.

Ongoing Activities 

  • Learn all about bees from a local beekeeper, and visit garden educators from Book & Plow Farm!
  • Craft bee and butterfly finger puppets, or a handmade journal to take home
  • Become your favorite pollinator at our face painting station ($3/face), then snap a picture at the photo booth
  • Compete against other would-be-bees at our pollination bean bag toss and test your wits at our garden scavenger hunt
  • Take a family-friendly journey upstairs to Emily Dickinson’s bedroom


  • 12 p.m. Circus begins!
  • 12:30 p.m. A Visit to Emily Dickinson’s Bedroom (first come first served, tickets at Welcome Tent)
  • 12:45 p.m. Pollinator Relay Race
  • 1:15 p.m.  A Visit to Emily Dickinson’s Bedroom (first come first served, tickets at Welcome Tent)
  • 1:30 p.m. Music & Puppets with Tom Knight
  • 2:15 p.m. Garden Parade ending with the Emily Dickinson basket drop
  • 2:30 p.m. A Visit to Emily Dickinson’s Bedroom (first come first served, tickets at Welcome Tent)
  • 2:45 p.m. Pollinator Relay Race
  • 3 p.m. A Visit to Emily Dickinson’s Bedroom
  • 3:30 p.m. Circus ends

Tom Knight surrounded by puppetsTom Knight has been delighting children and their grown-ups with his original, interactive, musical puppet show since 1988.  His unique blend of musicianship and puppetry celebrates reading (“the Library Boogie”), the environment (“the Garbage Monster”), and science (“The Solar System”), with hand-made puppets, catchy songs, and a high degree of audience participation.  The strong visual elements appeal to children as young as 2, while fun lyrics engage children up to twelve, and adults alike. Following a successful puppetry career based out of Ithaca, New York, Tom relaunched his puppeteering business in Western Massachusetts. More info about Tom Knight.

Conservatory filled with green plants in front of a big window

Conservatory Art Installation Opening Reception, June 21, 2019


Friday, June 21 

6:30 to 8:00PM

Join us at The Emily Dickinson Museum to celebrate the opening of our inaugural Conservatory Art Installation! Light refreshments will be served and the artists will be present. All are welcome.

Artists Tereza Swanda, Ingrid Pichler, and Fletcher Boote are transforming the Conservatory with a site-specific mixed media installation. The work samples the colors of Emily Dickinson’s landscape in painted paper, and in colored gels that refract light through the space. A soundscape by Fletcher Boote wordlessly references Emily Dickinson’s poetry.

The exhibition will run through the summer.

Learn more about the installation here


Our Inaugural Conservatory Art Installation Artist Has Been Selected


(AMHERST, Mass., June 10, 2019) – The Emily Dickinson Museum today announced the selected artists from its inaugural Conservatory Art Installation contest. Tereza Swanda, a graduate of the Vermont College of Fine Arts and the Massachusetts College of Art and an Instructor of Art at Dean College, alongside Ingrid Pichler and Fletcher Boote will transform the Conservatory with their exhibit “In Suspension.” A former lecturer at the Millay Colony and Vermont College of Fine Arts, Swanda’s work has been exhibited at the Temporary Agency in Brooklyn, NY, the SRISA Gallery of Contemporary Art in Florence, IT, and the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester, UK, among others. Pichler has worked in architectural glass for thirty years, and her keen understanding of the malleable potential of the medium will inform the installation.

Swanda, Pichler, and Boote will convert Emily Dickinson’s conservatory, a small room where the poet maintained her link to the natural world across the seasons, into a mixed-media exhibition. Taking the Emily Dickinson poem “Nature is what we see” as the starting point, the installation will include colored gels and painted paper that samples colors found in the landscape. In addition to this visual component, the landscape will be translated by Boote into a soundscape that wordlessly references Emily Dickinson’s poetry. The installation may be enjoyed from outside the glass conservatory on the south side of the Homestead, and viewed from inside when the Museum is open. During Amherst Arts Night Plus in July and August, a dance piece will be performed in the space by Kelly Silliman.

The site-specific installation, the first of its kind in the newly restored conservatory, marks a major milestone in the Museum’s mission to not only preserve and celebrate the poetry of Emily Dickinson, but to amplify the voices of artists, musicians, and poets working today. Drawing attention to the importance of the conservatory in the life of Emily Dickinson, these artists’ work will seamlessly integrate contemporary art into this historic setting.

The exhibition will open on Friday, June 21 and run through September 9, 2019. A public reception will be held to celebrate the opening at the Museum on June 21, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Tour the Archaeology Field School, June 1 & 15, 2019

Our archaeology students have been hard at work at the Emily Dickinson Museum! Come tour their dig sites and see their discoveries first hand on June 1 at 10:30AM and June 15 at 1PM. In past years, visitors have received a close up look at remains of plants that once grew in the gardens, buried paths, water pipes, bed borders, and other garden infrastructure that existed when Emily Dickinson was alive. This year, see the hard work of our Archaeology Field School students as they continue to delineate the archaeological footprint of the Dickinson home.

a wheelbarrow for garden days

Garden Days at the Homestead, June 7-8, 2019

Celebrate the beauty of spring during Garden Days at the Emily Dickinson Museum! 

Homestead as seen from the Dickinson gardenVolunteer in the Garden

As warmer temperatures arrive in Amherst, it’s time to wake up Emily Dickinson’s garden. We invite you to join a group of volunteers from Amherst and beyond who return each year to aid in the cultivation and growth of the historic Dickinson family landscape. You do not need to be an expert gardener for this “all levels” program. Learn from volunteers who have tended the gardens and be a part of a new generation of caretakers for this historic landmark. In addition to working with master gardener Marta McDowell, volunteers will have the chance to tour the archaeological field school occurring at the Emily Dickinson Museum. Garden volunteer times:

Friday, June 7 from 9AM-1PM

Saturday, June 8 from 9AM-2:30PM 

Volunteers should sign-up in advance for either or both days by e-mailing

About Marta McDowell:

Following the relationship between the pen and the trowel led Marta to Emily Dickinson for Emily Dickinson’s Gardens and children’s author/illustrator Beatrix Potter for Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life. In 2017, All the Presidents’ Gardens, a book that relates the history of American gardening as seen through the White House grounds, made The New York Times bestseller list and won an American Horticultural Society book award. Marta’s latest, The World of Laura Ingalls Wilder, tells the tale of the plants and places of the beloved author of the Little House series. Marta also scripted the Emily Dickinson Museum’s landscape audio tour, and was an advisor for the New York Botanical Garden’s 2010 show, “Emily Dickinson’s Gardens: The Poetry of Flowers.”

Poetry in the parlor

Amherst Arts Night Plus, June 6, 2019

June’s Featured Poet

Naila Moreira

Headshot of poet Naila MoreiraNaila Moreira is most often inspired by the natural world.  After earning her doctorate in geology at University of Michigan, she worked as a journalist, Seattle Aquarium docent, and environmental consultant.  She now teaches at Smith College and has served as writer in residence at the Shoals Marine Laboratory in Maine and Forbes Library in Northampton, MA.  Her poetry, fiction and nonfiction are published or forthcoming in, The Boston Globe, Doctor T.J. Eckleburg Review, Cape Rock, Connecticut River Review, Rosarium Press Trouble the Waters anthology, and other venues, and her second poetry chapbook, Water Street (Finishing Line Press, 2017) won the New England Poetry Club Jean Pedrick Chapbook Prize. She writes a monthly environment column for the Daily Hampshire Gazette.

June’s Featured Speaker

“Emily Dickinson’s Wildflowers” with Marta McDowell

Join Master Gardener and garden historian Marta McDowell for an informal talk on Emily Dickinson’s wildflowers. Following the relationship between the pen and the trowel led MartaMcDowell to Emily Dickinson for Emily Dickinson’s Gardens (2005), which will be reprinted in full color by Timber Press in 2019. Marta also scripted the Emily Dickinson Museum’s landscape audio tour, and was an advisor for the New York Botanical Garden’s 2010 show, “Emily Dickinson’s Gardens: The Poetry of Flowers.” Her other works include The World of Laura Ingalls Wilder (2017), All the Presidents Gardens (2016) and Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life (2013). 

June’s Featured Artist

Poetry in Silver: The Language of Flowers in the Works of Emily Dickinson by Kandy Vermeer Phillips
On View from 5pm to 8pm

Poetry in Silver

Dickinson-inspired art by Kandy Vermeer Phillips

This pop-up exhibition features a series of silverpoint drawings that compares specimens found in Dickinson’s herbarium to those housed in the U.S. National Herbarium. Dickinson collected her specimens in the 1840’s from the woods, fields and bogs that surrounded her Amherst, MA home as part of her formal botany education. Poetry in Silver highlights several of these cherished woodland flowers that inspired Dickinson’s poetry along with her use of the popular Language of Flowers. Silverpoint drawing is a Renaissance technique and is ideal for close observational botanical drawing. A silverpoint drawing’s unique tendency to develop a patina over time also provides a metaphor for a plant’s evolving environmental status from the mid-19thcentury to the present day.  Although Dickinson’s herbarium is now over 175 years old, it continues to speak, and remains a significant part of her letter to the world. 

Kandy Vermeer Phillips has been drawing with silverpoint since the 1970’s. This exhibition is a part of her recent Julius I. Brown Award from the American Society of Botanical Artists. Kandy’s silverpoint drawings are included in the collections of The Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation, Pittsburgh, PA; The National Gallery of Art, and The National Museum of Natural History, Botany Department, Washington, DC.

Amherst Arts Night PlusThe Emily Dickinson Museum participates in Amherst Arts Night Plus on first Thursdays each month. Free and open to all! Each month enjoy the following:

  • 5PM-8PM View the pop-up exhibition of contemporary art in the Homestead
  • 5 to 6 pm: Open mic signups for poets, writers, performers of any kind. Share your work in a safe, welcoming, and inspiring place!
  • 6 pm: Open mic begins
  • Featured readers follow the open mic

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.