"Poe probably used the second-floor room and not the one on the third floor," Smolinski said.

While the house is spartan in its furnishings and probably would have been during Poe's residency, what is on display is quite impressive.

A bow-back Windsor chair from 1800, which came from his uncle, was one that Poe could have routinely used, and he would have scanned the heavens through a 1790 telescope from an English maker.

"It was his foster father John Allan's telescope, and Poe was fascinated by science," said Harbeson. "My favorite artifact is his traveling writing desk that he probably used at the University of Virginia."

Poe was a student at Virginia in 1826, she said.

The desk, which is English and dates to 1825, is made of cherry, poplar, brass and felt.

"This traveling writing desk is a treasure," Smolinski said. "I don't know how you could get any closer to the source."

As Smolinski prepared to lock up the house, he explained to his visitor that he had never spent a night in the house and feels uneasy being alone there.

"After a film crew left one day, I was in here all alone, and I can tell you it creaks," he said.

The Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum will be open free of charge from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday in observance of his birthday.