Here’s Why You Should Visit the Emily Dickinson Museum

I’m a huge poetry fan so visiting the Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst, Massachusetts, felt like stepping into a living poem. You can imagine my excitement! Walking through her old home, I could almost hear her words come to life.

If you’re into poetry, and history, or just love exploring charming old houses, you really need to check this place out. It’s a genuine experience that makes you feel connected to one of America’s greatest poets.

You’ll Experience Emily’s Birthplace at The Homestead

The Homestead is where Emily Dickinson’s story began. Built in 1813, this Federal-style house saw Emily’s birth in 1830 and became her sanctuary, where she wrote almost 1,800 poems. As you wander through its rooms, it’s easy to imagine Emily by the window, jotting down her thoughts.

I was fascinated as the house has been carefully preserved to look much like it did during her lifetime, with artifacts that give you a peek into her daily life and creative process. Visiting the Homestead feels like stepping into Emily’s shoes and seeing the world through her eyes.

Discover Family Dynamics at The Evergreens

Right next to the Homestead is The Evergreens, the home of Emily’s brother Austin and his wife Susan. This Italianate-style house, built in 1856, reopened to the public for the first time since 2019. The Evergreens offers a fascinating contrast to the Homestead, showing the lively family dynamics that influenced Emily’s writing.

The house’s interiors give you a sense of the Dickinson family’s social and domestic life. It tells the story of their personal lives, relationships, and the environment that shaped Emily’s poetry.

You Can Enjoy Timed Tours for A Detailed Exploration

The Emily Dickinson Museum offers timed tours that give you a detailed and intimate look at both houses. When you arrive at the Museum’s Tour Center located in the Homestead, you can check-in for your reservation or buy tour tickets.

The Tour Center also has a museum shop, grounds, and gardens open to the public. The timed tours allow for a more personal experience, with knowledgeable guides sharing insights into Emily’s life and work. It’s a good idea to buy your tickets online ahead of time to get the slot you want.

Admission Prices

  • Adults: $16
  • Seniors: $13
  • Students (18+): $10
  • Youth (17 and under): Free
  • Five college students: Free
  • EBT / WIC / ConnectorCare Card: Free (up to 2 tickets)

For additional discounts, call the Tour Center:

  • Teachers: $10
  • Amherst College Faculty & Staff: Free
  • Museum professionals (AAM, NEMA): Free

You’ll Have a Chance to Participate in Engaging Events

The Emily Dickinson Museum isn’t just about static exhibits; it’s a lively cultural hub with events that bring poetry and history to life. Throughout the year, the museum hosts a variety of events, including:

Poetry festival

Celebrate Emily Dickinson’s legacy with fellow poetry lovers at the annual poetry festival. This event is packed with readings, workshops, and performances that highlight both Emily’s work and contemporary poetry inspired by her.

You’ll have the chance to mingle with poets, scholars, and Dickinson fans from around the globe. Plus, there are interactive sessions where you can share your own poetry and get feedback. It’s a vibrant celebration that honors Dickinson’s impact on the literary world.

Garden days

During Garden Days, you can join guided tours and gardening workshops to connect with the natural beauty that surrounded the poet. Horticulturists will share insights into the plants and flowers Emily herself tended to and wrote about. The gardens are like a living museum, showcasing the flora that played a huge role in her creative process.

You can even get your hands dirty with planting and garden maintenance activities, fostering a deeper connection to the environment that influenced Dickinson’s poetry.

Poetry readings

These events often feature renowned poets and scholars who bring fresh interpretations and insights into her work. The intimate setting makes for a personal and immersive experience, where the nuances of Dickinson’s language and themes really come to life. You can join in discussions and deepen your understanding of her poetry.

These readings are not just a celebration of her work—they’re also a chance for contemporary poets to connect with Dickinson’s legacy and share their own creations inspired by her.

The Place Is a Treasure Trove of Educational Resources

Whether you’re working on a school project, conducting research, or just curious about Emily Dickinson, the museum is a goldmine of resources. The archives include rare manuscripts, letters, and personal artifacts that give you a comprehensive view of Dickinson’s life and work.

Educational programs and workshops offer deeper insights into her poetry and its historical context. And if you can’t make it in person, the museum’s online resources make it easy to access valuable information and engage with Dickinson’s legacy from anywhere.

Plan Your Visit

Emily Dickinson Museum

Visiting Hours and Seasons

The museum is open from March through December, giving you plenty of time to plan your visit. The Homestead and The Evergreens each offer unique experiences, and your admission ticket gets you into both. Start your visit at the Museum’s Tour Center to check in or buy tickets.

Tips for A Smooth Visit

  • Book in advance: To make sure you get the time slot you want, it’s best to buy tickets online ahead of your visit.
  • Arrive early: Give yourself enough time to explore the grounds and gardens before your tour.
  • Respect the timed entries: Your ticket grants you access to both houses based on a timed entry system, so stick to the schedule to make the most of your visit.

The Bottom Line

If you ever find yourself in Amherst, don’t miss the chance to visit this poetic haven. Trust me, it’s an experience that will stick with you long after you leave.

Whether you’re there for a poetry reading, exploring the gardens, or looking for educational resources, the Emily Dickinson Museum is full of inspiration and discovery.