Core Founders

Twenty years ago, the Trustees of Amherst College, owner of the Dickinson Homestead, accepted the transfer of the assets and property of the Martha Dickinson Bianchi Trust, owner of The Evergreens. So began the Emily Dickinson Museum – a visionary combination of the home where Emily Dickinson created some of the most powerful and enduring poetry in the English language and the remarkable material legacy filling The Evergreens. The two family homes and grounds are the very heart of Dickinson’s vast “circumference.”

The Dickinson Homestead as it appeared during Emily Dickinson's adult lifetime

Across these two decades, the Museum has built its annual audience from 7,000 to 20,000 and has established a significant global presence with online programming that reaches participants from more than eighty countries. An annual slate of fifty public programs examines the poetry of Emily Dickinson and influences upon it, explores elements of nineteenth-century life, features new Dickinson scholarship, and celebrates the contemporary creativity that Dickinson’s legacy continues to inspire.

A collection of approximately 8,500 objects – the largest non-manuscript holding in the world of original Dickinson family possessions – has been catalogued and made publicly accessible. The Museum has undertaken progressive stabilization and preservation measures leading now to restoration of the houses and grounds as they were in Dickinson’s own time.

These accomplishments were put in motion and sustained by an extraordinary group of imaginative, farsighted, and determined individuals we are pleased to recognize as the founders of the Emily Dickinson Museum.

Elizabeth (Lise) Armstrong grew up in Westchester County NY, graduated (1958) from Radcliffe College and spent her early adult years in child-raising and community activities. Upon moving to Amherst in 1995 she quickly became involved with “all things Emily”, helping to restore the Evergreens and enjoying events at the Homestead.  She has offered seminars on poetry and poets with the Five College Learning in Retirement program, most recently studying Robert Frost, Seamus Heaney, Sonnets and poetry performance.  And of course the poetry of Emily Dickinson continues to be a lifelong challenge.

John Armstrong moved to Amherst in 1995 after John’s retirement from IBM as VP of Science and Technology. John has both an AB (1956) and PhD (1961) in physics from Harvard. His interest in poetry predates his interest in physics by at least a decade. John has been a member of the Harvard Board of Overseers, a presidentially appointed member of the National Science Board, and a trustee of the University of Massachusetts system. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

Cindy Dickinson served as Curator/Director of the Dickinson Homestead from 1996 until 2003, when the Emily Dickinson Museum was created.  From 2003 to 2015, she held various positions at the Museum, including Director of Interpretation and Programming,  Since 2015 she has been the Director of Education at Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. She is not related to the poet.

Kent Faerber is a graduate of Amherst College and was its Alumni Secretary and then Secretary for Alumni Relations and Development (Chief Advancement Officer) for 17 years, consulting for it thereafter. He completed his professional career as the President of the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts.  Throughout, he has consistently volunteered in leadership roles for a variety of charities, one of the most important of which was the Emily Dickinson Museum. At the request of the College, he authored a consulting report listing the assets that would be available if The Evergreens and The Homestead were combined into a single museum, and thereafter became a Trustee of the Martha Dickinson Bianchi Trust (which owned The Evergreens). He then worked with the other Founders being recognized to execute the transfer of The Evergreens to the College, and the establishment of the Museum.  He served as the second Chair of its Board of Governors from 2006 – 2012. 

Thomas R. Gerety was Amherst College’s President from 1994-2003. Gerety has been a leader in several national education organizations, serving as chair of the Consortium on Financing Higher Education, a group of the nation’s best private universities and colleges. At Amherst, he was a professor of philosophy and taught a First-Year Seminar on “Inner City America,” in which students volunteer at social service agencies in Amherst and Holyoke.  From 1989 to 1994, Gerety was president of Trinity College in Hartford, Conn.  Before assuming the presidency at Trinity, Gerety was dean of the College of Law at the University of Cincinnati. Earlier, he was a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh and a visiting professor of constitutional law and jurisprudence at Stanford Law School. Gerety holds a J.D. from Yale Law School. He also earned doctorate and masters degrees in philosophy from Yale.

Julie Harris (d) was a Tony-, Emmy- and Grammy-winning actress and an Academy Award nominee, Julie Harris distinguished herself early in her diverse career a model for perseverance in the American entertainment industry. Though she made her Broadway debut in the forgotten 1945 flop, “It’s a Gift,” Harris returned to the Great White Way in a string of critical successes, drawing raves for her lead roles in “The Member of the Wedding” in 1951 and “I Am a Camera” the following year. In Hollywood, Harris coaxed a charismatic but inexperienced James Dean through his film debut in Elia Kazan’s “East of Eden” (1955) and later specialized in neurotic older woman roles, from the psychic spinster of “The Haunting” (1964) to the self-mutilating Southern belle of “Reflections in a Golden Eye” (1969). As lead roles in film dried up, Harris dove into work on stage and television, where she recreated several of her theatrical successes, including “The Belle of Amherst” (1976) and “The Last of Mrs. Lincoln” (1976). A diagnosis of breast cancer did not stop Harris from becoming a series regular on the long-running primetime soap opera “Knots Landing” (CBS, 1979-1993), nor did a stroke in 2001 keep the elderly actress from plying her trade by sculpting her characterizations around her physical limitations. Awarded the National Medal of the Arts in 1994, Harris was also the recipient of a 2002 Tony Award for lifetime achievement and a 2005 citation from the Kennedy Center for contributions to American culture through the performing arts. Julie Harris died at the age of 87 in August 2013.

Polly Longsworth moved to Amherst in the 1960s, she was astonished to discover that town residents still debated—even over the vegetable bins in the supermarket—the rights and wrongs of a passionate affair that Emily Dickinson’s brother sustained with the young wife of an Amherst College faculty member. Her research led to the publication, in 1984, of Austin and Mabel: The Amherst Affair and Love Letters of Austin Dickinson and Mabel Loomis Todd, named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.

In subsequent years, Longsworth continued to write about the Dickinson family, expertly weaving together the threads of community and individual history in The World of Emily Dickinson and The Dickinsons of Amherst (with Jerome Liebling, Christopher Benfey and Barton Levi St. Armand). Ultimately, she was asked to chair the Martha Dickinson Bianchi Trust, owner of Austin’s former home, The Evergreens.

Longsworth was instrumental in the creation, in 2003, of the Emily Dickinson Museum, which encompasses both The Evergreens and the adjacent Dickinson Homestead—long held as separate trusts—and was elected the founding chair of the new institution’s board of governors. “She instinctively understood that combining the two historic sites would strengthen them both and better serve the public,” says museum director Jane Wald. Under Longsworth’s leadership, the museum developed a master plan for preservation and restoration, successfully completed its first capital campaign, expanded its hours and created a unified visitor experience, significantly enhancing its educational mission and widening its circle of supporters in the process.

A 1955 graduate of Smith College, where she edited the campus news­paper, Longsworth later worked in publishing and began writing her first of several books for adolescents in 1958. Her biographical research and writing continued amid raising four children and assisting in the demanding public life of her husband, Charles Longsworth ’51, who served as president of Hampshire College and subsequently of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

Charles R. Longsworth, class of 1951, is chairman emeritus of the college’s Board of Trustees. He served as president of Hampshire College (1971-1977) and coauthored with former Hampshire president, Franklin Patterson, The Making of a College: Plans for a New Departure in Higher Education. From 1977 to 1992, he served as president of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and then CEO and chairman (1991-1994). In 1993, he became director of Saul Centers Inc.

George Monteiro was a graduate of Cumberland High School, Brown University (A.B. and Ph.D.) and Columbia University (A.M.).  The son of Portuguese immigrant mill workers, George taught American literature at Brown for 42 years, retiring in 1998, and was also founding Director of the Center for Portuguese and Brazilian Studies.  The author of more than 30 books and hundreds of articles on American and Portuguese literature and culture, he was also an accomplished poet.  George was a Fullbright professor of American Literature at the University of Sao Paulo and was knighted by the Portuguese Government with the Order of Prince Henry the Navigator for Distinguished Contributions to the Study and Dissemination of Portuguese Culture.

Leslie A. Morris is Gore Vidal Curator of Modern Books and Manuscripts, Houghton Library, Harvard University. As curator of the Harvard Emily Dickinson Collection, she has overseen the digitization of that collection to make it more widely available, and furthers access to Dickinson’s poetry as General Editor of the online Emily Dickinson Archive, a collaborative project with 13 libraries to make images of Dickinson’s manuscripts freely available. She is the author of the historical Forword to Emily Dickinson’s Herbarium (Belknap Press, 2007), as well as numerous articles on book collecting and bookselling. Her other curatorial responsibilities include oversight of Houghton’s post-1800 collections, including the papers of John Keats, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Jamaica Kincaid, Andrei Sakharov, and John Updike (among others) and the LSD Library, a large multi-format collection of material on altered states of mind.

Barton St. Armand received 3 degrees from Brown University, AB 1965, MA 1966, PHD 1968 — all in the department of American Civilization, of which he eventually become the chair. He also served stints as a Fulbright Professor of American Literature at the Universities of Sophia, Rikkyo and Waseda in Japan and as a French National Scholar at the University of Toulouse. He has lectured around the world under the auspices of the U.S. State Department and was invited to be a special lecturer at Capital University in Beijing, China. HIs scholarly work has focused on interdisciplinary cross-cultural connections, in particular the intersection of American painting with literature. 

William McC Vickery (d) was born in Savannah, Ga., Bill attended Ridgewood High School in New Jersey. At Amherst he majored in economics and graduated cum laude. After earning an MBA from Harvard Business School, he launched a 27-year career in advertising with Dancer Fitzgerald Sample in New York City. In 1987 Vickery retired as vice chair of the company’s board and chair of DFS International. Throughout his career in advertising in New York, Bill served in a dazzling number of volunteer roles for the College: he was class agent, class president, president of the New York alumni association, member and chair of the executive committee of the Alumni Council, President of the Society of the Alumni, and chair of the Alumni Fund. It is no surprise that the College awarded him the Medal for Eminent Service in 1979 and the Distinguished Service Award in 1983.

Philip S. Winterer was a Trustee of Amherst College (1993-2010) and is a Life Trustee (2005-present). Philip is a retired senior partner and former managing partner with the law firm of Debevoise & Plimpton, one of the country’s most prominent and selective corporate law firms.  He joined the firm as an associate after earning his law degree at the Harvard Law School in 1956.  He was elected partner in 1965. He was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the American Law Institute.

Karen Sánchez-Eppler is L. Stanton Williams 1941 Professor of American Studies and English at Amherst College where she has taught since 1988, including the frequent pleasure of teaching a seminar on Emily Dickinson in collaboration with the Emily Dickinson Museum, a class that often meets in the poet’s house. She served on advisory committees for the care of the Dickinson Homestead for a decade before the Emily Dickinson Museum was founded, was part of the Museum’s founding Board of Governors, and has served on the Emily Dickinson Museum Board for all but four years since. The author of Touching Liberty: Abolition, Feminism and the Politics of the Body (1993) and Dependent States: The Child’s Part in Nineteenth-Century American Culture (2005), and co-editor with Cristanne Miller of The Oxford Handbook of Emily Dickinson (2022). She is currently working on two book projects The

Unpublished Republic: Manuscript Cultures of the Mid-Nineteenth Century US and In the Archives of Childhood: Playing with the Past. Her scholarship has been supported by grants from the NEH, ACLS, the Newberry Library, the Winterthur Library, the Stanford Humanities Center, and the Fulbright Foundation. She spent the 2019-20 academic year as Distinguished Scholar in Residence at the American Antiquarian Society, is one of the founding co-editors of The Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth, past President of C19: The Society of Nineteenth-Century Americanists, President of the Porter- Phelps-Huntington Foundation Board of Directors, and a member of the board of the Emily Dickinson International Society, charged in recent years with organizing the Critical Institute for emerging Dickinson scholars and programing for the Society’s Annual Meeting.

Jane Wald became the first (and only) Director of The Evergreens in 2001 and joined the staff of the Emily Dickinson Museum when it was created in 2001. As executive director since 2006, she has led planning and preservation efforts, particularly  the restoration of the Dickinson Homestead and stabilization of The Evergreens. Her research and writing has focused on the cultural and material context of Dickinson’s life and work, including essays published in The Blackwell Companion to Emily Dickinson, Emily Dickinson Journal, The Oxford Handbook of Emily Dickinson, and Emily Dickinson Electronic Archive. She holds an AB from Bryn Mawr College and an MA from Princeton university, and she completed advanced study at the College of William and Mary.

Virtual Group Tour Request

Thank you for your interest in booking a virtual program with the Emily Dickinson Museum! We look forward to working with you.

Please review our Virtual Group Tour Policies before submitting your request.

Our current pricing:

$250 Speaker Fee per session


(Expected or approximate number of live program attendees)
(If different than tour coordinator. Tour host must be present on the teleconferencing platform for the duration of your event.)
Please list up to 3 preferred dates or a range of dates for your virtual tour.
Please let us know about your group so that we can plan the best experience for you. You can also use this space to list any accessibility needs or additional requirements for the booking.

Group Tour Policies

Food and drink with the exception of water are not allowed in the historic rooms.  Backpacks or large bags will need to be checked in the Tour Center. You may wish to leave these items in your vehicle.

Please note that the Tour Center only has one bathroom, which is a single-stall accessible restroom. We advise that you plan to use a rest-stop prior to your visit.

Please plan for your scheduled arrival and check-in at our Tour Center, located at the back of the Homestead. Please designate someone to share a guest count and pay your remaining balance in full at the register upon arrival.

Deposits are due one week following the invoice date and are non-refundable. Payment can be made via phone (413) 542-5073 or check, mailed to the Emily Dickinson Museum c/o Programs Department, 20 Triangle St, Amherst MA 01002.

Your reservation is not confirmed until we have received your tour deposit. The remaining balance for your tour is due upon arrival to the Museum.

Upon requesting your visit, we ask you to provide an estimate of your group size. Your final numbers are due 3 weeks in advance of the tour. If your group size changes after we have received your final number, please notify us 48 hours in advance of the change. After 48 hours, we reserve the right to charge full admission for any “no shows” on the day of the tour. Please note, the Museum may not be able to accommodate increases in group size.

If your party is split into more than one group, we recommend splitting them in advance of their arrival.

Arrival by Car: Metered parking is available on Main Street, as well as in the Amherst Center Parking Garage. On site parking is limited to two spaces for vehicles with an accessible parking tag only.

Arrival by bus: The Museum driveway is a steep grade which prevents most buses from driving in. Buses should pull alongside the sidewalk on Main Street in front of the Museum on the metered side to unload passengers safely. A town ordinance prohibits buses from idling longer than five minutes. Bus parking is available in Amherst College’s East Parking lot.

Your group will be given an arrival and departure time to ensure an organized visit. If your group experiences delays, please call the Tour Center (413) 542-2947 to notify our staff. We reserve the right to shorten your tour to conclude at the scheduled time.

If for any reason you need to cancel your visit, please notify the Museum 48 hours in advance of the tour by emailing

At a minimum, the Emily Dickinson Museum follows all state and local guidelines related to COVID-19 including face coverings, occupancy, and sanitation guidelines. Visitors aged five and up may be asked to wear a mask indoors at the Museum, regardless of vaccination status. If this is the case, KN95 masks will be provided for visitors upon arrival. Visitor entry may be denied for non-compliance with safety measures. Learn more about our current Covid-19 response.

The Emily Dickinson Museum welcomes all visitors. For accessibility information, please see Accessibility. Care partners of visitors with disabilities are admitted free of charge. Please share any known needs in advance with our group tour coordinator so that we can plan the best experience for your group.

Headshot of the Keiter couple

Press Release:
Keiter Directorship Endowment


Gift made to the Museum’s Twice as Bold campaign will make Jane Wald the first Jane and Robert Keiter Family Executive Director

Headshot of the Keiter couple

(January 4, 2023, AMHERST, MA) – The Emily Dickinson Museum today announced a gift of $2.5 million from Jane and Robert Keiter to its Twice as Bold campaign for the endowment of the Museum’s directorship. This is the first endowed position at the Emily Dickinson Museum, which reopened to the public in August after a two-year pandemic closure and completion of a major restoration of the poet’s home.  

“This gift is another example of the Keiters’ tremendous support of the Emily Dickinson Museum,” said Executive Director Jane Wald, who will be the first to hold the Keiter title. “Jane and Bob have been leaders in several outstanding initiatives at the Museum over the last decade and we are thrilled to be able to honor their ongoing commitment in such a permanent and public way. Their generosity and understanding of the importance of such gifts for the growth and future sustainability of the Museum is tremendous in and of itself and as an example to others.”

The Keiters were introduced to the Emily Dickinson Museum by way of Robert’s alma mater, Amherst College, which owns the Museum, and in particular by his connection to fellow ’57 classmate William Vickery, who was a founding member of the Museum’s Board of Governors and was instrumental in encouraging Robert to serve on the Board as well.

“As the home and creative source of one of this country’s greatest poetic voices, the Emily Dickinson Museum is a national treasure for which we all have a shared responsibility,” said Robert from his home in Lakeville, Connecticut. “Jane and I have thoroughly enjoyed watching the Museum grow and change over the years to better serve and inspire new generations. We are honored to support its bright future.” Flowing from a strategic plan completed in 2019 and taking its name from one of Emily Dickinson’s poems, the Museum’s Twice as Bold campaign prioritizes an expanded, fully restored, and accessible campus; leading-edge educational programs and resources; a singular visitor experience both onsite and online; and increased operational capacity for the Museum’s long-term sustainability. A first step in achieving this bold vision is a goal to raise $8 million for programmatic support and capital projects by 2026.

For more information about the Museum’s plans and fundraising effort, visit:

For images, please visit:


Endowment gifts differ from other types of contributions in that the full amount is ‘tucked away’ and permanently invested by the recipient organization, rather than being available to spend outright. Each year, a portion of the investment’s earned interest is released for the gift’s intended purpose. In our case, annual earned interest from the Keiters’ generous gift will help defray the costs and directly support the position and work of the Museum’s Executive Director in perpetuity. In that sense, this and other endowment contributions are truly gifts that keep on giving. 


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, Mass.—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.


Tell It Slant Poetry Festival 2023

The Tell It Slant Poetry Festival returns September 25 – October 1, 2023!

The year’s Festival will be hybrid with events happening online, as well as in-person at the Museum in Amherst, MA.
Lineup and schedule TBA.

The Emily Dickinson Museum’s annual Tell It Slant Poetry Festival is an event with international reach that celebrates Emily Dickinson’s poetic legacy and the contemporary creativity she and her work continues to inspire from the place she called home.


About the Festival:

The Emily Dickinson Museum’s Annual Tell It Slant Poetry Festival is an event with international reach that celebrates Emily Dickinson’s poetic legacy and the contemporary creativity she and her work continues to inspire from the place she called home.

The Festival, which runs each September, is named for Dickinson’s poem, “Tell all the truth but tell it slant,” underscoring the revolutionary power of poetry to shift our perspective and reveal new truths. Festival organizers are committed to featuring established and emerging poets who represent the diversity of the contemporary poetry landscape and to fostering community by placing poetry in the public sphere. 

The annual event attracts a diverse audience of Dickinson fans and poetry-lovers, including students, educators, aspiring writers, and those who are new to poetry and literary events. Past Festival headliners have included Tracy K. Smith, Tiana Clark, Tess Taylor, Ada Limón, Jericho Brown, Franny Choi, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Paisley Rekdal, Adrian Matejka, Kaveh Akbar, and Ocean Vuong

For information on last year’s Festival: 2022 Tell It Slant Poetry Festival

Support The Tell It Slant Poetry Festival and Honor Someone Special:
Admission to all Festival 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 this beloved annual event. All gifts are tax deductible and will be recognized as part of the Festival.


the front door of the Homestead slightly ajar

Press Release:
Museum Reopened August 16


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:

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


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.

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.

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:

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


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

Group Tour Request

Thank you for your interest in visiting the Emily Dickinson Museum! We look forward to meeting you.

Please review our Group Tour Policies before submitting your request.

Our current pricing:
– Adult $17
– Youth (17 and Under) $7
– Caregiver/Personal Attendant Free

(If different than trip coordinator)
If uncertain, please provide your best estimate.
Let us know the preferred date for your visit. An estimate or range is fine. Please note weekends are not available for group tour bookings.
We encourage groups of larger than 16 to book on Mondays when possible.
You may share alternate days and times, or add.
Please let us know about your group so that we can plan the best experience for you. You can also use this space to list any accessibility needs or additional requirements for the booking.

Public Notice: Section 106


Regarding the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Section 106 Review of the Evergreens Environmental Improvements at the Emily Dickinson Museum

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has awarded The Trustees of Amherst College in Amherst Massachusetts, a Sustaining Cultural Heritage College Collections grant (PF-260799-18) to renovate, restore and make improvements to the Evergreens, including the replacement and expansion of the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system.

NEH is an independent grant-making agency of the United States government dedicated to supporting research, education, preservation, and public programs in the humanities.  This public notice is issued as part of NEH’s responsibilities under 36 C.F.R. Part 800, the regulations which implement Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) of 1966, as amended, 54 U.S.C. 306108.  NEH, a funding agency, is required by regulation to identify and assess the effects of any proposed actions on historic properties.  If any proposed action will have an adverse effect on historic resources, NEH works with the appropriate parties to seek ways to avoid, minimize, or mitigate any adverse effects.  Additionally, the Section 106 regulations require NEH to consider the views of the public on preservation issues when making final decisions that affect historic properties.

The Evergreens also known as the Austin Dickinson House is located at 280 Main St. Amherst MA 01002. The site is listed in the State Register of Historic Places (Massachusetts Historical Commission #AMH.448) and the National Register of Historic Places (NHRP # 66000363). The property is also within the Dickinson Historic District, a National Register District (NHRP # 77000182) and a Local Historic District (AMH.M). The historical significance of the house and historic district and their eligibility for the National Register of Historic Places is available at: and

* reconstruct the area way foundation wall reusing the existing bluestone stairs and constructing a new wood plank bulkhead
* repair and repaint the brick and stone foundation masonry in the vicinity of the bulkhead and ramp
* install interior storm window panels and UV filtering shades
* selective plaster ceiling repairs utilizing traditional 3-coat plaster
* install an access hatch at the tower attic stairwell
* enhancement of attic insulation with added plywood catwalk
* selective roof repair, built-in gutter enhancement, additional drip edge flashing
* replace east chimney exhaust hood, stabilize upper chimney brick courses, install new chimney cap
* selectively replace all modern window and door weather stripping with traditional concealed stripping

Mechanical and Electrical
* install split heat pump system in basement
* install new gas boiler in basement to replacement two existing furnaces
* install new ductwork to serve existing floor registers and
* install new electric service and generator hookup from Homestead mechanical courtyard
* remove overhead electric system and provide new electrical conductors in conduits (conduit work completed)
* install Building Maintenance System (BMS)

In a letter dated May 26, 2022, Brona Simon, the State Historic Preservation Officer for the Massachusetts Historical Commission, determined that the proposed improvements to the Evergreen will have no adverse effect. Subsequently, NEH has determined that the project will have no adverse effect (36 CFR 800.5(b)).

As required by Section 106, NEH is providing the public with information about this project, as well as an opportunity to comment on any knowledge of, or concerns with, historic properties in the proposed project area, and issues relating to the project’s potential effects on historic properties. Comments may be submitted to the NEH by e-mail to  The deadline for submitting comments is Friday, June 24, 2022.

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

Press Release:
Armstrong Carriage House Gift


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.


(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

For images, please visit:


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.

Emily Dickinson's handwriting on a letter and envelope

Poetry Discussion Group:
Spring Series

Emily Dickinson's handwriting on a letter and envelopeJoin us for a lively virtual discussion of Emily Dickinson’s poetry and letters, meeting once a month from February to May. This program is designed to welcome newcomers and seasoned readers of Dickinson alike. 

  • In February, meet-and-greet with fellow participants, share Dickinson stories, and learn from the Museum (and one another) about the poet’s publication story, editions of her work, and resources.
  • March through May’s sessions are facilitated by guest scholars, who will lead the group in discussion following a talk about their work. Brief reading handouts of 4-8 poems and/or letters will be distributed prior to the month’s program. May’s session will last an additional 15 minutes, giving the group time to celebrate, say goodbye, and reflect on the season’s poems.
Topics and Leaders:
  • February: Introduction with the Emily Dickinson Museum
  • March: Dickinson’s Natural Music with Gerard Holmes
  • April: Dickinson’s Long-Histories of Environmental Change with Ryan Heryford
  • May: Dickinson and Her Surprisingly Twenty-First Century Art of Trans Poetics with Joy Ladin

Please review full descriptions and bios below.


As a registrant, you are signing up to join a small group of regular participants for four 90-minute zoom sessions. Meetings are participatory, with video and audio encouraged. Because we want everyone to feel comfortable speaking, sessions will not be recorded. The program is designed for adult audiences (18+).


We are offering an identical program for a Wednesday and Friday group. Please review the dates carefully. Because space is limited, we hope only those who can commit to attending will register. Refunds are not available for this program.

Wednesday Group, $75 program fee (inclusive of all sessions),  limited to 25 participants
February 23, 6-7:30 ET
March 23, 6-7:30 ET
April 13, 6-7:30 ET
May 11, 6-7:45 ET

Friday Group, $75 program fee (inclusive of all sessions), limited to 25 participants
February 25, 12-1:30 ET
March 25, 12-1:30 ET
April 15, 12-1:30 ET
May 13, 12-1:45 ET

Reservations are made on a first-come, first-served basis. While our Wednesday group is now closed, we have just a few spaces left in our Friday group. Please learn more about registration and request a space via this form.

Questions: Don’t hesitate to reach out at with any questions about the program.


Emily Dickinson’s Natural Music 
Emily Dickinson knew music well as a performer and a listener in parlors, churches, and other indoor spaces. But she also spent a lot of time outdoors, in the garden, walking her beloved dog Carlo, and exploring Amherst. Like many other writers of her time, Dickison wrote of natural sounds as having musical qualities. Wind, rain, cicadas, and of course birds all show up in her poems as sources of music, and as inspiration for her own distinctive poetic music. We will discuss how poets important to Dickinson wrote about the sounds of the natural world, and how Romantic musical composers and performers built sounds of nature into their work, before exploring together some of Dickinson’s poems that treat natural sounds musically.

Gerard Holmes completed a PhD in English Literature at the University of Maryland, College Park in 2020, with a dissertation titled “‘Discretion in the Interval’: Emily Dickinson’s Musical Performances.” He has published in The Emily Dickinson Journal and Reception, co-edited a 2021 special issue of Women’s Studies with the theme: New Directions in Dickinson and Music,” and contributed a chapter to The Oxford Handbook to Emily Dickinson, forthcoming from Oxford University Press in April 2022. In addition to teaching writing and literature, he is a nonprofit administrator, program manager, and fundraiser.


“…an instant’s act:” Dickinson’s Long-Histories of Environmental Change
This discussion will consider the importance of Dickinson as a poet of the Anthropocene, that proposed geologic epoch in which human activity has rendered irreversible transformations to our global climate and conditions for life on earth.  While Dickinson was certainly not aware of climate change, nor she could have possibly predicted our current ecological precarity, we will explore particular Dickinson poems that focus on geologic time, wide-scale environmental transformations, and human/nonhuman entanglements, as sites to better consider our own individual, communal and species-based relations to contemporary environmental issues.

Ryan Heryford is Associate Professor of Environmental Literature in the Department of English at California State University East Bay, where he teaches courses in nineteenth and twentieth century American literature, with a focus in cultural narratives of environmental justice.  Recent publications can be found in ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies of Literature and the Environment, The Mark Twain Annual, and The Emily Dickinson Journal.


Emily Dickinson and Her Surprisingly Twenty-First Century Art of Trans Poetics
As those who love her know, Dickinson often writes first-person poems describing states of being that don’t fit socially recognized categories, and which, as a result, have few terms or poetic conventions for expressing them. What kind of person, for example, would introduce themselves by saying “I am afraid to own a Body – / I am afraid to own a Soul,” or locates themselves in terms like these: “`Tis Miracle before Me – then – / `Tis Miracle behind – between”? Poets and scholars (including me) started using the term “trans poetics” – that is, poetic techniques for representing ways of being human that don’t fit conventional terms or categories – a little over a decade ago, to describe the growing body of work by transgender and nonbinary poets. But it didn’t long before critics began to realize that because “trans poetics” are required whenever poets represent unconventional ways of being human, the practice has a much longer lineage in American poetry, one that, as these examples show, reaches back at least to Emily Dickinson. In this discussion, we will examine a number of poems to see what Dickinson, in the middle of the nineteenth century, had already learned about the twenty-first century art of trans poetics.

Joy Ladin, who started leading classes on Dickinson’s poetry in the Homestead itself in the mid-1990s and has loved it every time, has been dubbed “the godmother of trans poetics.” She has published ten books of poetry, including National Jewish Book award-winner The Book of Anna, reissued by EOAGH Press, and just-published Shekhinah Speaks (Selva Oscura). She is also the author of a booklength study of Dickinson, Soldering the Abyss: Emily Dickinson and Modern American Poetry; a a memoir of gender transition, National Jewish Book Award finalist Through the Door of Life; and Lambda Literary and Triangle Award finalist, The Soul of the Stranger: Reading God and Torah from a Transgender Perspective. Episodes of her online conversation series, “Containing Multitudes,” are available at; links to her writings, readings, interviews and talks are at her website,