The H.P. Lovecraft Archive, has identified all the relevant Lovecraftian sites in Providence and a walking tour designed to take aficionados to see them.
For a few years local fans also ran the aptly named NecronomiCon, but it fizzled when the organizers apparently burned out after running the Lovecraft memorial every odd-numbered year from 1993 through 2001. Lovecraft's birthday is still celebrated annually with visits to the Ladd Observatory and graveside readings by Lovecraft stalwarts.
I never can be tied to raw, new things,
For I first saw the light in an old town,
Where from my window huddled roofs sloped down
To a quaint harbour rich with visionings.
Streets with carved doorways where the sunset beams
Flooded old fanlights and small window-panes,
And Georgian steeples topped with gilded vanes—
These were the sights that shaped my childhood dreams.
- H.P. Lovecraft, XXX. Background, Fungi from Yuggoth                         (Appears on Lovecraft's Memorial Plaque, John Hay Library, Providence RI)
I also think that along with celebrating the originality, the brilliant eccentricity of Lovecraft's writing, that the numerous criticisms leveled at him should be part of the exhibit as well. While some might argue against celebrating the work of someone who was clearly as racist as Lovecraft, presenting Lovecraft's less savory aspects in the context of his times should be part and parcel of the exhibit. America at the time of Lovecraft's writings was easily as racist as he was, nor was antisemitism confined only to Nazi Germany. Attitudes toward the aboriginal peoples around the world (with the exception of anthropologists and a few enlightened missionaries) mirrored Lovecraft's label of "savages." These aspects of his writings and personal beliefs are just as important to providing a complete picture of Lovecraft and early 20th century America, just as the inclusion of Sally Hemings at Monticello is vital to the understanding of Thomas Jefferson and the late 18th century. Lovecraft's foibles provide a "teachable moment" for those visitors who come because they wanted to visit the museum for the author of the "Cthulhu Mythos," but when they would leave they would have an increased understanding of what America was like 75 to 100 years ago, and how far it has come since then.
That others find his writing sophomoric should not inhibit our efforts to establish a serious institution devoted to Lovecraft either -- haters gonna hate. Even as Lovecraft biographer L. Sprague de Camp described Lovecraft's prose as "turgid, verbose, and overwritten," it was a far more charitable assessment than what Colin Wilson and other critics had to say of Lovecraft's stylings of the otherworldly. But despite numerous naysayers, H.P. Lovecraft has had an indisputable impact on modern media and popular culture -- from the movie Alien to Stephen King and Clive Barker to Metallica and even French philosophers -- promoting Lovecraft as a favorite son can only have a positive multiplier affect on the cultural cachet of the capital city.
In a state where some residents were half-serious when they proposed that the Big Blue Bug represent the Rhode Island on the state's quarter, it's time for Howard Phillips Lovecraft to take his rightful place as a literary icon of the state.
Lest we fall into despair at the horror of our past...But the stream of Time, swift flowing,
Brings the torment of half-knowing --
Dimly rushing, blindly going
Past the never-trodden lea...
-excerpt from "Despair", poem by H.P. Lovecraft (February 1919)