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The Poe & Science Series

Poe Exposes Maelzel’s Automated Chess Player, Part II Murray Ellison | Dec. 2nd, 2017 In 1836, Poe asks readers of the Richmond-based Southern Literary Messenger to ponder the implications for the future if a machine could calculate without human input. He writes, “There is no analogy, whatever, between the operations of the chess-player and those…

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Poe Statue Takes a Ride

Poe is on the move! After nearly six decades sitting across the street from the home of Poe’s first great love and muse, Richmond’s statue of Edgar Allan Poe has been displaced to make room for some newer sculptures. This is only the latest in many twists and turns in the life of Virginia’s first…

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Edgar Allan Poe and the Culture of Mourning

From train accidents, bridge collapses, and steamboat wrecks, to diseases such as the “White Plague,” or tuberculosis, it is undeniable that the nineteenth century was a witness of tragedy and deep mourning. Although the idea of mourning and mourning culture is not exclusive to the 1800s, it is safe to say the 1800s may have…

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Poe’s Investigations of a 19th-Century Automated Chess Machine – Part I

Charles Babbage’s First Automated Chess Machine on Display in the London Science Museum Written By Murray Ellison  |  November 1st, 2017 Literary Historian, Gerald Kennedy writes, “In Poe’s writing career he worked… as a proofreader, editor, reviewer” of newspapers in Baltimore, Richmond, Philadelphia, and New York—the publishing centers of the United States” (64). These venues…

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Poe’s Early Schooling and Interest in Science

Written by Murray Ellison Poe’s early schooling and military training inspire and shape his interest in science. According to Kenneth Silverman, Poe’s secondary education started after his foster parents moved from England to Richmond. In 1821, “Edgar attended the private academy of Joseph H. Clarke,” which served to prepare young gentlemen to obtain “an honorable…

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Poe & Science with Murray Ellison

“M.S. Found in a Bottle:” A Look at Poe’s Skepticism of 19th-Century Science, Part II Murray Ellison  |  August 31, 2017 By being unobserved, the unnamed narrator of Poe’s, “M.S. Found in a Bottle” is looking at the relics of science on the ship he is standing on as an outsider. He concludes that much…

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Interactive Mock Trial Used As Educational Resource

Although July and August are understandably a slow time for the Education Department, we hosted a group of teachers from Hanover County Public Schools in late July for a tour and Mock Trial and we’ll be doing it again in later August for those Hanover County English teachers who missed the first time around.  Education…

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August Unhappy Hour

Join the Poe Museum for this month’s Unhappy Hour on August 24th from 6-9 p.m.! Enjoy live music by Lil Jimmy & the Robnsons , a cash bar, light refreshments, and Poe-themed fun for the whole family! Dr. Steve Macko of the University of Virginia will be present to talk about the exhibit featuring his…

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Poe’s Hair Sheds Light on Unsolved Mystery

From June 22 until September 17, 2017, the Edgar Allan Poe Museum in Richmond, Virginia will feature Investigating History: Testing Edgar Allan Poe’s Hair, a groundbreaking new exhibit examining the latest scientific testing of the nineteenth century author Edgar Allan Poe’s hair by University of Virginia scientist Stephen Macko. These tests provide valuable clues to…

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