Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Other Side of MA - at the Emily Dickinson Museum

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Portions of this trip were sponsored


The Emily Dickinson Museum


One of the first stops on our itinerary for the weekend to "the other side of MA" was a visit to the Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst MA. My English lit classes were a VERY long time ago - so before we left I did a bit of research to refresh my poetic memory. I quickly found that one of my mom's favorite quotes to her bookworm daughter (me!) was Emily Dickinson's “To travel far, there is no better ship than a book.” 

It was the perfect way to start this  "girl's getaway" travel weekend that my friend Gayle and I, both avid readers, had embarked on! 


Emily Dickinson Museum Amherst MA
The Emily Dickinson Museum
"The Homestead"

The Museum offers several different guided tours of the Dickinson houses as well as an audio tour of the outdoor grounds. We began our visit to the Emily Dickinson Museum at the Tour Center which is part of the original 'Homestead' where Dickinson lived. The tour center includes a free exhibit about the publication of Emily Dickinson's poetry which is also located in the Tour Center. The Tour Center is open to the public - but tours beyond the lobby charge a fee.

Emily Dickinson Museum Amherst MA
About Emily Dickinson
From the Emily Dickinson Museum


Tours are scheduled regularly throughout the day.  Fees (see https://emilydickinsonmuseum.org/tours) and tickets are sold in the tour center's lobby on a first-come, first-served basis.  Tour size may be limited and visitors cannot reserve tickets in advance of the day of the visit unless a group tour has been pre-arranged.  The Museum is happy to arrange tours for groups (parties of six or more people). Reservations for group tours must be made at least two weeks in advance and are subject to availability.

For additional information about Group Tours, please visit https://emilydickinsonmuseum.org/group_tours

Emily Dickinson Museum Amherst MA
Emily Dickinson Museum

Unfortunately we weren't allowed to photograph anything beyond the museum's center but the tour we chose was titled "This Was a Poet" (from Dickinson's poem) and included the following:

  • a 45-minute guided tour of the Homestead (Emily Dickinson's house)
  • history of the home and Emily Dickinson by discussing her family, her education, and her poetry.
  • the parlors, library, and Dickinson's bedroom
  • an informal participatory reading of a few Dickinson poems

The museum notes that this tour is especially suitable for visitors who are new to Emily Dickinson, including families with small children.

Emily Dickinson Museum Amherst MA
Emily Dickinson Donor Statue
"I'm nobody, who are you?"
The line is from a short lyric poem
by Emily Dickinson first published in 1891

We especially found interesting the fact that the home was sold to a local Amherst family where it remained a private residence until Amherst College, recognizing Dickinson's growing literary prominence, purchased it for private tours, and a faculty residence. In 2003 the museum was created and it is currently in the process of renovating as well as refurbishing the home with artifacts consistent with the times. While none of the clothing or furniture in the rooms are Dickinson's they are true to the style of era.

Emily Dickinson Museum Amherst MA
I loved this beautiful Radiator
found in the Museum's Center

There is still much work to be done to bring the homestead to true museum quality stature - so the museum holds many fundraising events to help with costs. For information see https://emilydickinsonmuseum.org/events

For those visiting from Connecticut, the museum is about a 1.5 hour drive from my native New Haven CT and about an hour from Hartford CT. The museum is great place to visit for Dickinson fans when touring local colleges, other museums, and area attractions.

The area is a great destination for a day trip or a weekend getaway!  For more area attractions visit http://visithampshirecounty.com/

Emily Dickinson Museum

280 Main Street
Amherst, MA 01002
413-542-2154
https://emilydickinsonmuseum.org/

About Amherst MA


Amherst is a town in Hampshire County, Massachusetts, in the Connecticut River valley. With a population of 37,819 (2010 census), it is the largest community in Hampshire County. The town is home to Amherst College, Hampshire College, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Disclaimer: This visit was part of a trip sponsored in part by the Hampshire County Regional Tourism Council, however all opinions are my own.

© Home Place 2017

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