Due to budget constraints, the City recently cut off an estimated $85,000 in funding for the Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum, leading to its possible closure in 2012. Since the news broke, Poe lovers from all over have come forward in the hopes of saving the local landmark.
On that note, we've come up with five ideas to keep the site open forevermore.
1 Protect This House
Since Baltimore's beloved football franchise owes its namesake to Poe, perhaps Ravens owner Stephen Bisciotti could annually fund the museum's operating costs—a drop in a bucket for a team that rakes in millions of dollars in profits—as a tribute to the man whose mascot gave the city something to root for. If the football franchise donated $1 for each ticket sold, the effort would be more than enough to fund the museum.
The Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore in conjunction with the City could host an annual poetry slam event that functions as a fundraiser. During the event, guests could sip on cognac-infused drink specials (perhaps inspired by the drink menu at the Poe-themed Annabel Lee Tavern). While clad in gothic gear, guests would enjoy modern renditions of macabre works inspired by the man himself.
3 Propose a Toast
Since the official Poe Toaster has gone missing-in-action, the city could host an annual contest to pick a new toaster every year. The new toaster would be chosen based on creative fundraising campaigns (going door-to-door dressed as Poe, perhaps?). Whoever raises the most money for the Poe House—and does so in the most inspiring way—would have the honor of toasting Poe on his birthday, Jan. 19.
4 Modern Macabre
Poe's poems and stories have inspired many a writer, musician, and artist throughout the ages. So perhaps the city's many artistically inclined residents could come together to create a viral video advertising campaign to raise awareness and funds for the museum. Using graphics, songs, performance art, and whatever medium artists can think of, the videos could be broadcast via YouTube or Facebook, inspiring people to make donations to the cause.
5 Pennies for Poe
Inspired by stories of Poe and his relationship to their city, students at Baltimore's Crossroads School have already helped Poe Society president (and occasional Baltimore contributor) Rafael Alvarez collect money for the "Pennies for Poe" campaign. So far, the school has raised more than $200. If every classroom in every school in the state follows suit, there would be enough change to save the museum from its fate.