Friday, September 5, 2014

Branding Miss Emily

Dickinson Homestead built 1813.  Sign will be moved forward closer to sidewalk and enlarged

The Amherst Planning Board voted 6-1 earlier this week to waive restrictions due to "compelling reasons of public convenience, public safety, aesthetics, or site design" for the Emily Dickinson Homestead Museum and Evergreens estate next door (owned by Miss Emily's brother Austin) to allow additional signs that can be placed closer to a sidewalk than 30" and higher than the 48" regulations. 

Large new sign to left of fence pillar, westerly most end of property

The one dissenting voter, Rob Crowner, thought the signage change required a Special Permit from the Planning Board and therefor would mean the Museum has to refile an application.

Executive Director Jane Wald described the signage as a way for the Museum -- birthplace of our most famous resident -- to "refresh its branding and logo."  

Additionally the signage will more clearly delineate to visitors (15,000 annually) the distinction between the Dickinson Homestead and the Evergreens next door, that together occupy three acres just at the edge of town center.

 Large new sign between traffic light pole and fire hydrant easterly most end of property

Two large signs will act as bookends on the east and west ends of the properties with the other three smaller signs replacing those located along the fence that runs parallel to Main Street.

As part of Site Plan Review (which allowed the Planning Board to "waive" signage rules) the PB also approved drainage work and the addition of a "chiller unit" located out of public view behind the garage on the north end of the property.

The Dickinson Museum will benefit by the addition of a new Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning system and the installation of a fire suppression system, to significantly protect the building, which is so historic it's practically sacred.

The Evergreens, built 1856

The Evergreens too will see physical improvements in the form of exterior painting and woodwork repair, including new gutters, all of which were approved by the Dickinson Local Historic District Commission.

The total budget for these improvements comes to $1.5 million.  The Museum recently received a $380,000 grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund as well as a $380K matching grant from Amherst College. 

The balance will be raised by private fundraising and additional support from Amherst College.

The Evergreens from above just west of Dickinson Homestead


Anonymous said...

Is the garage part of the original structures at the site, or added later?

Anonymous said...

I hope that the new signage will not be as quaint and demeaning as the current signs which suggest that we are all on first-name basis with this great and terrifying poet.

Michael Greenebaum

Larry Kelley said...

The garage was added later.

Anonymous said...

"Additionally the signage will more clearly delineate to visitors (15,000 annually) the distinction between the Dickinson Homestead and the Evergreens next door,"


Of the 15k (41 a day) visitors, 70% are kids and parents from local area schools so I doubt their chaperones are going to miss the house for the trees.

Anonymous said...

Hi 11:03
Do 10,000 local school kids really visit the Emily Dickinson house? Do we have that many local school kids?