Events worldwide commemorate 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens' birth

Published Feb. 4, 2012

A Christmas Carol, A Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations, and then some. • You know the books by Charles Dickens and the immortal characters within: Scrooge, Bob Cratchit, Pip, Miss Havisham and Charles Darnay, among them. • But have you been to 48 Doughty St. in London, Dickens' only surviving house? Or the author's birthplace museum in Portsmouth, England, where he was born 200 years ago Tuesday? • During this bicentennial Dickens year, you'll find plenty of ways to celebrate the prolific author. Among special events and year-round offerings are:


The London museum on Doughty Street houses more than 100,000 artifacts, including manuscripts and personal items. The museum has preserved the house to look as it did when Dickens lived there. Open daily.


The exhibition "Dickens and London" continues through June 10 at the museum, 150 London Wall. This multimedia exhibit re-creates Victorian London, the time and city that inspired Dickens' work. There is also a display of rare manuscripts, plus a film by documentary filmmaker William Raban that explores nighttime London today and the city Dickens prowled way back when.


"The Mysteries of Charles Dickens" will be on view at the Museum Strauhof in Zurich through March 4. The multimedia exhibit explores Dickens' colorful life.


British actor Miriam Margolyes takes her one-woman show to Australia and New Zealand, where it will be performed at various locations through May 26. Margolyes brings to the stage some of Dickens' more memorable female characters, including Mrs. Micawber from David Copperfield and Mrs. Gamp from Martin Chuzzlewit.


All 33 of London's libraries will participate in a citywide read of Oliver Twist in April. If you find yourself in London, you might want to take part. The libraries will also host other events, including historic walks, author readings, films and children's events.


The Portsmouth, England, home where Dickens was born is now a small museum with period furnishings and some personal items. Portsmouth is about 65 miles southeast of London. The museum also houses the couch on which Dickens died, relocated here from Gad's Hill in Kent. The museum is open from Jan. 28 to Nov. 4 each year. The Portsmouth City Museum also has Dickensenian exhibits, including "A Tale of One City," which runs through Nov. 4.


There will be a Dickens Walking tour of Washington on April 15, commemorating visits the author made there in 1842 and 1868. He met with presidents John Tyler and Andrew Johnson at the White House and had sold-out appearances at several venues. For the tour, re-enactors will be in period costumes and guide walkers to the buildings that Dickens was known to have visited. The tour begins at noon and costs $12 for adults, $6 for children under 16.

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Sources: London Telegraph, Washington Post and Associated Press