The Edward Gorey House

Let’s go back to Edward Gorey for a minute. I want to talk about Edward’s House.
As I’ve written before, I’m completely enamored by Edward’s work. I’ve been a collector for about 20 years and last year had the opportunity to visit Edward’s house on Cape Cod.

In the late 1970s to early 1980s, and after Edward began to receive some substantial money from the Broadway hit Dracula (which featured sets and costumes designed by him), he began to look for a permanent home. He had been renting a small apartment in New York during the winters and staying with family on Cape Cod in the summers. Gorey was also a massive fan of the choreographer George Balanchine and was widely known among New York ballet aficionados for having attended nearly every performance of the New York City Ballet for over 20 years.

After Balanchine’s death, Gorey decided he’d had enough of New York. Using some of the money from the success of Dracula, he bought a run-down 1820s home in Yarmouth Port and moved in. After Gorey passed away in 2000, the house itself remained vacant until the creation of the Edward Gorey House museum, which opened on the first floor of the home in 2002.

As I mentioned earlier, I first visited the home in 2009. In the middle of summer this year I took a leap and asked the directors of the Gorey House museum if they would be interested in hosting my partner and I as interns. To my surprise they enthusiastically accepted!

Over 4 weeks, I lived everything Gorey (which, really, was just a full-time extension of my part-time life). We gave tours, scanned hundreds of pieces of original art for archival purposes, watched over the house and its resident cat, and put together a wildly successful children’s event called Fantastagorey – an event I named the previous year and which I was thrilled to be an even more integral part of this year. The full list of our responsibilities is far too long to put here, but we came away from the experience as even bigger fans tan we were before.

Why such a long post, though? Well, because I want to encourage anyone vacationing on the east coast who is even thinking about traveling to Cape Cod, or even to Massachusetts, to strongly consider visiting the Gorey House. It’s smack in the middle of one of the most historic areas of the Cape (think Norman Rockwellian New England scenery), it’s inexpensive to visit (just $5.00 for adults) and it’s an experience that is truly more fulfilling than visiting a stuffy old (or stuffy new) arts museum.

At the Gorey House, exhibits rotate yearly. There’s an astounding collection of original art, books and ephemera on display, but the truly interesting thing about it is that most of the exhibits at the house are out in the open (except for the original art and other valuable pieces). I would call this ┬áthe most “tactile” museum I’ve ever visited. It’s interactive in a way that others can’t match, with bits of props and Edward’s collections of things accumulating here and there. Looking closely and examining items out in the open is encouraged and the docents are possibly the nicest people I’ve ever met. Anywhere. Plus, it’s great for children , with activity areas for them to draw and even a Gashlycrumb Tinies scavenger hunt to get them involved and active while adults marvel at everything else.

I think I’ve gone on enough. Take a look at http://www.edwardgoreyhouse.org for more information. You won’t be disappointed. Oh, and ask for Rick and Duncan and say hello for me!

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