Celebrate Emily Dickinson's 179th birthday at Amherst College

Date: 12/3/2009

AMHERST The Emily Dickinson Museum announces a celebration of the poet's 179th birthday on Dec. 10 from 5:30 until 7:30 p.m. at the Lewis-Sebring Dining Commons at Valentine Hall on the Amherst College campus.

This year's annual benefit celebration, taking place on Emily Dickinson's actual Dec. 10 birth date, is an ideal time for the museum's supporters to join in active stewardship of one of Amherst's greatest treasures.

The sparkling Victorian birthday party includes a special preview of selections from William Luce's famed play, "The Belle of Amherst," performed by acclaimed actress Barbara Dana. (The complete play will be presented on March 11, 2010, in Kirby Memorial Theater at Amherst College, where it was performed by Julie Harris, the originator of the role, in 1976.)

The birthday party will feature a menu inspired by Dickinson family recipes of savories and sweets for "Celebrated Days."

Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor, all proceeds go directly to benefit the museum's operating fund.

Information and reservations at suggested donation amounts of $30, $50, $100 or $1,000 are available by contacting the museum at 542-5311 or lvandoren@emily dickinsonmuseum.org. For further details, see the museum's Web page "Annual Birthday Celebration Fundraiser."

"The October ceiling collapse in the front parlor draws attention to the challenges of preserving the homestead as one of this nation's most important literary sites," said Jane Wald, the museum's executive director. "It highlights the need for careful stewardship to safeguard Dickinson's beloved home. We hope there will be 'perfect crowds of admirers' at the birthday celebration to join us in honoring and preserving Emily Dickinson's legacy at her family homes."

The Emily Dickinson Museum is located at 280 Main St. in Amherst. Hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. until 4 p.m., March through December; the museum is closed on major holidays.