Visiting the Edgar Allan Poe Museum in Richmond, Virginia

In the Shockoe Bottom neighborhood of Richmond, Virginia, you will find a tiny brick building set back from the street, adjoined to the city’s oldest residential home. In front of that tiny brick building along the sidewalk sits a crocked black sign that reads Poe Museum. Both structures, which house the Edgar Allan Poe Museum, are considered the international center for all things Poe.

Poe Museum Richmond, Virginia

What to Know Before You Go

The Poe Museum is at 1914 E Main Street, Richmond, VA 23223. You can park for two hours on-street or in the parking lot next to the building. Admission is $10 per adult, $7 for seniors, and $3 for children over six years old. Two black cats on the premises may join you on your tour. It’s okay! Their names are Edgar and Pluto, and they live on the grounds.

How the Poe Museum Began

Poe Museum Richmond, Virginia

James Howard Whitty, a researcher and Poe fan, helped to form the Poe Memorial Association in 1906. The group attempted to turn the Southern Literary Messenger building into the first Poe museum, where Poe began his career. However, plans to demolish the building became imminent. Instead, Whitty and the group saved building materials from the building to use elsewhere. Whitty eventually met two preservationists living in the Old Stone House. 

The Enchanted Garden

The preservationists agreed to allow Whitty to use the lot behind the home to build the Poe Memorial Garden. Here, he paved the garden paths with the bricks taken from the Southern Literary Messenger building. The garden was inspired by Poe’s poem “To One In Paradise,” which reads,

Thou wast that all to me, love,
For which my soul did pine—
A green isle in the sea, love,
A fountain and a shrine,
All wreathed with fairy fruits and flowers,
And all the flowers were mine.

The shrine at the back of the garden was also paved with bricks from the Southern Literary Messenger, where Poe’s journalism career began. The ivy that climbs the shrine was taken from his mother’s grave, and the benches are from the boarding house where he married his wife.

Old Stone House: Poe’s Childhood

You’ll begin your tour in the Old Stone House, which holds artifacts from Edgar Allan Poe’s childhood. Poe was born in Boston, but after his father abandoned the family, his mother moved them to Richmond. A year later, his mother, Eliza Poe, died from tuberculosis. John and Frances Allan took in Poe, and that is where he got his last name.

Poe was said to be a very bright student, excelling in literature, acting, and swimming. When he was just 15, he swam 6 miles up the James River. At 16, Poe proposed to his neighbor Elmira Royster, but the engagement was eventually broken off after her father found out.

The Old Stone House is filled with information on Poe’s childhood and some of his writing and drawings.

Elizabeth Arnold Poe Memorial Building

The Elizabeth Arnold Poe Memorial Building takes you through Poe’s literary career. Poe wrote poems, short stories, satires, and comedies. The stairs in the house were taken from Poe’s childhood home on 14th and Tabaco Alley, which has since been demolished.

The house also takes you through Edgar Allen Poe’s interesting love life. Poe married his first cousin Virginia when she was 13, and he was 27. Tragically, she passed away from tuberculosis at the age of 24. After her death, he pursued his childhood sweetheart Elmira, eventually becoming again engaged to her. Sadly, though, Poe died days before they were to be married.

The North Building

In the North Building, you’ll learn about the feud between Poe and Rufus Griswold. Rufus Griswold is said to have written a biography about Poe that demonized him. Therefore, much of the information about Poe may be incorrect.

You’ll then learn about Edgar Allan Poe’s mysterious death. No one knows what led up to Poe’s condition the night he was taken to the Washington Medical College in Baltimore, Maryland, on October 3, 1849. He would die just 4 days later. All of his medical records have been lost. There are many theories about his death, including alcoholism, murder, hypoglycemia, brain tumor, syphilis, and rabies.

Edgar Allen Poe Museum in Richmond, VA

The Edgar Allan Poe Museum is quite intriguing because of Poe’s interesting life. Don’t skip this museum when visiting Richmond, Virginia! The museum is small and should only take an hour or so. Don’t forget to check out the Poe souvenirs at the front entrance before you leave!


Alexandrea Sumuel is a nationally syndicated travel writer and founder of the Wander With Alex travel blog. Her work has appeared on MSN, YAHOO!, Euronews, and FOX, ABC, and NBC affiliates across the United States. 

Alex travels to experience, eat, explore, and occasionally escape! She collaborates with destinations, vacation property management companies, and hospitality technology firms to provide her readers with exclusive insights and information.