Since Halloween is tomorrow, I thought it would be fun to review a spooky historical destination that is kid-friendly and won’t scare little ones. The Poe Museum, located in Richmond, is a great place to take your kids to learn more about one of America’s best-known writers and to see the oldest house in Richmond!
Edgar Allan Poe was orphaned at a young age and grew up with relatives in Richmond. You can visit his mother’s grave at one of my other favorite historical destinations, Historic St. John’s Church. While he spent much of his adult life away from Richmond, he continued to return throughout his life, including a few days before his death in Baltimore. Learn more about Poe’s time in Richmond here.
The Poe Museum contains a large collection of his personal items and is housed in the Old Stone House, the oldest home in Richmond.
While Poe did not live here, the museum contains many pieces of building materials that were salvaged from Poe’s first workplace, the Southern Literary Messenger building, before it was demolished. The museum also contains a staircase taken from one of Poe’s childhood homes.
Once you enter the museum, you can purchase your tickets in the gift shop and go on a self-guided tour of the buildings that make up the museum. This self-guided pace is great for kids. However note that the rooms on the tour are small and can be crowded. If the museum is busy, the small rooms are not stroller-friendly.
To begin the tour, exit the gift shop into the garden and enter the building to your right.
This building is the oldest home still standing in Richmond and was built for the Ege family in the mid-1700s.
The one-room display discusses Poe’s early life in Richmond and contains several artifacts from his life, including his boyhood bed.
Fans of “Hamilton” will enjoy learning that the Marquis de Lafayette came to this home during his 1824 tour of America to visit Samuel Ege, who had served as his commissary during the Revolutionary War!
After seeing this room, exit and turn right to go into the Memorial Building, which was constructed using salvaged bricks from Poe-related buildings throughout Richmond. This room has some creepy artifacts, including a pretend coffin! My kids loved standing in it and making funny faces! The room also has a very creepy statue of Poe.
This building has a very small upstairs room that contains many books by and about Poe. Unless you plan to read the books, it is not worth the time to go upstairs with kids.
The last building is the North building, which contains exhibits about Poe’s death in Baltimore at the age of 40. It also has interesting facts posted especially for kids. Look for the Raven placards and see if your child can find the item discussed. Note that this building also contains restrooms.
You can leave the North building and follow the path to the Poe shrine, which is a nice place to rest while gazing at a bust of Poe.
Be sure to spend some time in the Enchanted Garden. It is a truly lovely and peaceful place!
Kids can skip along the brick paths and look for two black cats who live at the museum. My kids loved following the cats and trying to pet them although they are hard to catch! Having black cats wandering around is very atmospheric!
You will end your tour back at the gift shop where you can purchase books and toys related to Poe. Even though Poe wrote horror stories, there are a number of books that are appropriate and entertaining for kids.
Be sure to follow the museum on social media to learn about kid-friendly events, such as a pumpkin patch event in the Enchanted Garden during October, and book talks. This museum is a great way to add a little history lesson into a Halloween treat!
- Cost: $9/adults; $7/kids 7-17; free/under 7
- Recommended: ages 10 and up
- Tour time: 30-45 minutes
- Gift shop located at entrance/exit
- Transportation: The Poe Museum is accessible by car, with a small adjacent parking lot and street parking available. The museum is also located on the Richmond PULSE bus line.
- Dining options nearby: One of my family’s favorite restaurants is Station 2, which is located in an old fire station! The nearby Bottoms Up Pizza is one of the best places to get pizza in Richmond.
- Other attractions nearby: Historic St. John’s Church and Virginia Holocaust Museum
Books to Read:
- 14 and up:
- 10 and up:
- The Misadventures of Edgar & Allan Poe series
- Edgar Allan Poe’s Pie: Math Puzzlers in Classic Poem
- Kid Authors: True Tales of Childhood from Famous Writers
- 6 and up:
What is your favorite Poe tale? Comment below.