Poe House

A proposal for the B&O Museum and Poe Baltimore to set a new, ambitious course for the Poe House is to be submitted Wednesday at the city Board of Estimates. (SAUL LOEB, AFP/Getty Images / August 24, 2011)

The city Board of Estimates selected a Maryland firm Wednesday morning to come up with a plan to make Baltimore's historic Edgar Allan Poe House self-sufficient by next July.

The winning bid was submitted by Cultural Resources Management Group (CRMG), which has addresses in both Mount Ranier, Maryland and Leesburg, Virginia. CRMG was selected from among four firms specializing in managing historic properties, and was awarded $45,000 to draft an operating and finance plan for the 19th century home at 203 Amity Street.

The goal is to find a long-term solution to keeping the museum solvent, even in tough economic times, according to officials. Poe lived in the house from 1832 to 1835.

Though the Poe House has been owned by the city since 1979, the $85,000 needed to operate it was slashed last year from the city budget. The museum has remained open with money raised through events and private contributions.

Patricia E. Williams, a principal with the management group, expects to have a business plan to present to city officials either late in 2011 or early in 2012. But she declined to discuss the firm's vision for the site.

"We have many options, and we will need to narrow our focus," she says. "We will keep our minds and eyes open."

Williams' resume includes previous stints as chief operating officer for Americans for the Arts and as a vice-president for the American Association of Museums. She also recently drafted a master proposal for the National Arab American Museum to create a $600,000 traveling exhibition involving six institutions nationwide.

mary.mccauley@baltsun.com

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