The Big Read Blog (Archive)

Edgar Allan Poe and the Odditorium

The Golden family poses with Poe in front of St. Mary’s Church in Massillon, Ohio, the site of the Big Read Kick Off event. The gothic architecture was the perfect setting for the Edgar Allen Poe theme. Photo courtesy of the Massillon Museum

This spring, residents of Stark County, Ohio, have been reading The Stories and Poems of Edgar Allen Poe for their Big Read program. Led by the Massillon Museum, which showcases local art and history artifacts, residents have experienced all types of activities inspired by Poe, ranging from the intellectual to the downright bizarre. The programming will conclude on June 26 with a brown bag lunch and guest speaker at the museum. Below, museum educator Jill Malusky described the different types of fun events that have been going on, and shared several photos.

David Sponhour is shown in the “Father’s/Doctor’s Room" section of the Odditorium. Each room of the exhibit includes one object as part of the Poe scavenger hunt. There is a model of a heart on the mantle, to represent “The Tell-Tale Heart.” Photo courtesy of the Massillon Museum

“This is the fifth time our Massillon community has won the grant, and the Big Read has been highly anticipated this year. Everyone has been so excited to get their hands on the Poe books, and the themes in his stories and poems have allowed us to plan a lot of exciting and unusual events, including "The Odditorium" exhibit highlighting strange objects (and a Poe-themed scavenger hunt) from our museum’s collection, cemetery tours, and a kick-off event that was held at a Gothic church. The themes of the macabre, murder, and mayhem have drawn larger crowds to all of our events, including book discussions. It’s been a lot of fun and one of our most well attended years.”

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Tim Carmany portrays “Buster” the teenage son, a tortured artist, in the Odditorium. His room is full of art and bizarre objects that he has collected. Many objects in here could be tied to Poe, particularly the photo of the black cat on the mantle. Photo courtesy of the Massillon Museum
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