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Poe House deserves a better fate

As an out-of-state educator who has brought students to the Poe House and attended many events sponsored by and for the Baltimore Poe House for the last 20 years, I am rather distressed by the article that I read in your paper ("Poe House could join with B&O Museum," April 11). I can see no advantages for the Poe House to operate as part of the B&O Railroad Museum.

First, it would make scheduling a visit to the museum a nightmare for me (since I am four hours from Baltimore). In the past, I have contacted the Poe House, made arrangements with the curator, and taken our bus to its doorstep. Our time is always limited, so having this part of our trip coordinated through a train museum would further complicate matters. As an individual visiting the Poe House, I would rather be able to go as it suits me and not have to wait for some shuttle service.

Next, I noticed in the article that the cost to operate is $140,000 whereas before the house was operating on $80,000, and this is supposed to be better?

Consultant Patricia E. Williams is totally uninformed. Everybody outside of Baltimore knows why the football team is called the Ravens. There was even a contest to name the team, and the name "Ravens" won because of Poe's connection to Baltimore.

I would really like to know about where the public can get more information about this proposal. I can't believe that Baltimore is trying to fix something that is not broken and has worked quite well for years under the direction of the curator and volunteers. My suggestion would be to develop a tour of the Poe-related sites in Baltimore with places such as the Poe House and Westminster included as well as several other landmarks. Instead of limiting access to the museum through B&O, expand it. When I was in Baltimore in March for a Poe-related event, I noticed that there is new construction in the area of the Poe House. This development is great and could possibly make more people aware of the Poe museum there. Why not follow New York's example? They have improved the Poe cottage and created a visitor center associated with it. Baltimore needs to capitalize on Poe's legacy there, not diminish it.

I know that I am just one person, but I feel certain that there are others like me out there. I have made a sizable contribution to Baltimore over the past two decades through visits to the city which include the usual tourist fare of staying in your hotels, eating in your restaurants, and shopping in your stores. The museum and the Poe-related events are what draws me to your city year after year, but if the trip becomes more complicated with limited access to the museum, I am afraid that this will become a part of my past and not my future.

Martha Womack

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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