EMILY DICKINSON MUSEUM ANNOUNCES REOPENING OF THE EVERGREENS ON MARCH 1, 2024
The Evergreens, the historic Dickinson family house next to the Homestead, will reopen for public visitation for the first time since 2019.
For Immediate Release
Contact: Patrick Fecher
(Wednesday, January 31, 2024, AMHERST, MA) – Today the Emily Dickinson Museum announces the reopening of The Evergreens, an integral component of the American literary site interpreting and celebrating Emily Dickinson’s life and legacy. Located just west of the Homestead, The Evergreens was built for the poet’s brother Austin and his family in 1856. The lives of the Dickinson families at the Homestead and The Evergreens were closely linked, both in their daily conduct and in the private lives that unfolded in the houses. These connections had a profound impact on Emily Dickinson’s poetry and, later, on the posthumous publication of her verse and the preservation of her legacy. The Evergreens remains largely unaltered since the time when Emily Dickinson’s family lived here, a time capsule reflecting the wide-ranging aesthetic and intellectual interests of the entire family.
Closed since 2019, the Museum recently completed a multi-year preservation effort at The Evergreens, aimed at improving environmental conditions for objects in its recently documented collection, and reducing energy consumption. Supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund, the project focused first on reducing energy consumption through building envelope repairs, new insulation, and light filtration. It continued with installation of a museum-grade HVAC system to maintain temperature and relative humidity in ranges that promote the preservation of sensitive collections objects.
Jane and Robert Keiter Family Executive Director Jane Wald says, “We are so pleased that this important project has reached a successful conclusion. The Evergreens is an extraordinary house, unusually preserved, and steeped in the histories of the Dickinson family and the town of Amherst. That it has been little changed since the end of the nineteenth century and remains full of Dickinson family possessions was a distinct choice by family members and heirs, but one that led to decades of environmental conditions unfriendly to collections. Improvements to the building envelope and an effective heating and cooling system are a significant contribution to the preservation of the Dickinson home, history, and material legacy.”
The Evergreens is thought to have been designed by prolific Northampton architect William Fenno Pratt — the house is one of the earliest unchanged examples of Italianate domestic architecture in Amherst. Under Susan Dickinson’s direction, The Evergreens quickly became a center of the town’s social and cultural life, with notable visitors such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Wendell Philips, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Frederick Law Olmsted.
Austin and Susan Dickinson lived at The Evergreens until their respective deaths in 1895 and 1913. Their only surviving child, Martha Dickinson Bianchi, edited numerous collections of her aunt’s poetry and authored biographical works about her in the 1920s and 1930s. She continued to live in the house, and preserved it without change, until her own death in 1943. Her heirs – co-editor Alfred Leete Hampson, and later his widow, Mary Landis Hampson – recognized the tremendous historical and literary significance of a site left completely intact and sought ways to ensure the preservation of The Evergreens as a cultural resource. The house is still completely furnished with Dickinson family furniture, household accouterments, and decor selected and displayed by the family during the nineteenth century.
“Reintroducing The Evergreens to our interpretive program has been a long-awaited step,” says Senior Director of Programs Brooke Steinhauser. “The condition of the house is uniquely evocative of the lives lived there. We can share more fully with visitors the stories not just of the poet’s daily inspiration stemming from these family relationships, but also the remarkable way her poetry came to the world posthumously and the motivations of the extraordinary people who recognized her genius and dedicated their lives to sharing it.”
During the past few years, there has been renewed and growing interest in Emily Dickinson and her social circle, especially her sister-in-law Susan Dickinson. The Museum expects the reopening of The Evergreens to attract visitors from around the globe to visit this one-of-a-kind historic site in Amherst, MA.
Beginning March 1, the Emily Dickinson Museum will be open from Wednesday-Sunday, 10am-5pm ET. Admission tickets provide access to both the Homestead and The Evergreens. Visitors are encouraged to purchase their tickets in advance: EmilyDickinsonMuseum.org/
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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, 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.
The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is an independent federal agency created in 1965. It is one of the largest funders of humanities programs in the United States.
The Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund (CFF) is an initiative of the state of Massachusetts that makes grants to support the acquisition, design, repair, rehabilitation, renovation, expansion, or construction of nonprofit cultural facilities statewide.