Operation Grant Keeps Literary Landmark's Doors Open

May 31, 2016

In 2013, the Baltimore National Heritage Area’s new management plan was approved by the U.S. Department of Interior. This approval allows the heritage area access to additional funding from the federal government. Much of this new funding was devoted to the Heritage Investment Grant program, which funds heritage tourism projects and programming. A third of the grant money is set aside for operational support — an increasing rarity in philanthropic circles.

During the first grant round, Poe Baltimore received an operational support grant of $6,250 to help the organization find its footing and keep the doors to the Edgar Allan Poe House open to an eager public of Poe fans.

“Poe Baltimore is becoming incredibly strong and resilient,” said James Smolinski, president of Poe Baltimore’s board of directors. “Operational support through the grant has allowed us to open on a set schedule with almost twice as many hours as in the past. We’ve been able to build our programs and increase our merchandise offerings.”

The Edgar Allan Poe House, located at 203 North Amity Street, is both a city landmark and a National Historic Landmark. Although Poe lived here with his cousins for only three years from 1832 to 1835, the entire course of his career was altered as he turned his attention from writing poetry to prose.

In 2015 the house drew more than 6,200 guests, a significant improvement despite a weaker tourism season. The operational support has allowed for more effective marketing and public relations strategies, as well as a launch of educational initiatives and events, such as poetry readings and plein air painting workshops.

Thanks to the Heritage Investment Grant, Poe Baltimore can keep the doors open to this important landmark in southwest Baltimore. Visit Poe Baltimore’s website for hours of visitation and all the great programs the organization hosts.