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Posted by edwardgoreyhouse Admin on

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When purchasing what is now the Edward Gorey House in 1979, at no time, did Edward Gorey plan to have a museum house in his name on Cape Cod - in fact, some might wonder if he'd be pleased with the idea. After Edward's sudden death of a heart attack, in the upstairs of the house, in the presence of his friend and current curator, Rick Jones, his trustees were approached with an idea that was not on the table for converting Edward's assets into his final wishes of supporting animal welfare.  Not only was it not on the table, it was not anywhere in the room, the town of Yarmouth Port or on this plane of existence. 

While the international literary and art world was in mourning, an idea was hatching at the Highland Street Foundation, a Boston area private foundation that supports, among other things, both the arts and animal welfare.  Edward's home at 8 Strawberry Lane was vaguely conceived to be one of their many faceted philanthropic ventures - if it could come to pass it could provide a legacy for Edward's life works, a pulpit for his animal welfare causes and an influx of tourist revenue to the town of Yarmouth Port and the often struggling economy of Cape Cod.

So after much discussion, planning, and minor cajoling it came to pass - some would say incredulously - that the Edward Gorey House opened its doors to the public in 2002.  Hardly what Edward would have been anticipating as he was pondering his decorating choices in 1983.

Today, where Edward once stood and where his books and yellow die cast Volkswagon bug resided at the time of his passing, is now a gift shop that offers everything from prints, pins, soaps, notecards, and plush Black Dolls, to handmade ornaments of the Doubtful Guest.   

The house could have been a private residence or perhaps a bed and breakfast and each may have had separate and possibly contrary thoughts on the scattering of Edward's ashes (along with those of his 6 cats) about the yard.  Part of Edward's remaining ashes that were not set adrift at sea are now lurking all around the grounds of the Gorey House, disbursed in June of 2010 at the "Gathering for the Scattering."   They were mixed with those of the 6 cats he had at the time of his death and waiting patiently and with trepidation for the last of the 6 to pass.

Indeed, the house could be a much different place all together.Instead through the vision and efforts of the Highland Street Foundation, Edward's dear friends and family, countless docent supporters and approval by the town of Yarmouth Port, it is the enigmatic Edward Gorey House and those involved are confident that the world is a much more interesting place with a Gorey House in it, than without one.

Regarding Edward's feelings on it?  We like to think he is bemused.

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Updates From Our Blog

In the Fall of 2019 the Edward Gorey Charitable Trust allowed the House to borrow several boxes of Gorey’s notebooks, journals, folders, and binders of material for use in this year’s exhibit. In pouring over the contents (a nice way to spend a winter) of what would become our 2020 exhibit He wrote it all down Zealously, it quickly became apparent that the List was a defining component. A curator’s lament: the amount of material was overwhelming—and the handwriting challenging—and so the final assembly, whittled down to fit in the House’s galleries, was selected for variety and some semblance of narrative flow.