Ernest Hemingway House and Museum: Nobel Prize Winning Author's Home
Ernest Hemingway, born in 1899, was an iconic American writer known for his distinctive writing style and masterful storytelling.
A Nobel Prize winner in Literature, Hemingway’s works were characterized by his “iceberg theory” of writing, which focuses on concise language and strong underlying themes. Some of his most famous novels include The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms, and For Whom the Bell Tolls.
Hemingway’s life in Key West
Hemingway’s life in Key West began in 1931 when he moved there with his second wife, Pauline Pfeiffer. During his time on the island, he fully immersed himself in the local culture, enjoying activities like fishing, boating, and exploring the vibrant community.
Key West provided an idyllic setting for Hemingway, who found solace and inspiration in its natural beauty and laid-back atmosphere.
Living in Key West for almost a decade, Hemingway wrote some of his most notable works, including To Have and Have Not and the short story The Snows of Kilimanjaro.
The island’s influence is evident in his writing, as many of his works from this period feature maritime settings and themes. The friendships and experiences he gained during his time in Key West left a lasting impact on both his personal life and his literary career.
The house and its unique features
The Ernest Hemingway House, located at 907 Whitehead Street in Key West, Florida, is a beautiful Spanish Colonial-style mansion built in 1851. The two-story structure features high ceilings, spacious rooms, and an elegant wrap-around veranda that allows for relaxation and enjoyment of the tropical breeze.
The house is surrounded by lush gardens, where visitors can find a variety of local flora, and even a unique in-ground pool – the first of its kind in Key West, which was a luxury during Hemingway’s time.
One of the most notable features of the Hemingway House is the presence of polydactyl cats, which have extra toes on their paws.
Hemingway was gifted a six-toed cat named Snow White by a ship’s captain, and today, many of the cats living on the property are descendants of that original feline friend. These cats have become synonymous with the Hemingway House, adding a distinctive charm to the property.
The writing studio
Hemingway’s writing studio was a separate structure from the main house, located above the carriage house. This dedicated workspace provided him with the necessary solitude and focus to craft his literary masterpieces.
The studio was equipped with a large desk, a comfortable chair, bookshelves, and his trusty typewriter. Hemingway was known for his disciplined writing routine, often starting early in the morning and working until mid-afternoon.
It was in this studio that Hemingway wrote some of his most famous works while living in Key West, including “To Have and Have Not,” “The Snows of Kilimanjaro,” and parts of “Green Hills of Africa.”
The space was crucial to his creative process, as it allowed him to be fully immersed in his writing, away from the distractions of everyday life. The writing studio stands as a testament to Hemingway’s commitment to his craft and offers a glimpse into the environment that fostered his remarkable literary achievements.
Ernest Hemingway House and Museum collection
The museum has a fascinating collection of artifacts, memorabilia and personal belongings that provide a glimpse into the author’s life and creative process.
Visitors can explore various exhibits, including Hemingway’s original typewriter on which he wrote many of his famous works. The museum also features a large collection of photographs that capture moments from Hemingway’s life, travels and relationships with friends and family.
Hemingway’s personal library of books from various genres and authors provides insight into his literary influences and interests.
The museum also displays other personal items such as hunting trophies, fishing gear and correspondence that help paint a vivid picture of Hemingway as both a writer and a man. These carefully preserved items reveal different aspects of his life, from his love of adventure to his pursuit of the written word.
Hours of operation and admission fees
Hours of operation for the museum are typically from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM daily. Admission fees may vary, but general admission for adults was around $18, with discounted rates available for children, students, and seniors. The museum only accepts cash.
Guided tours of the Hemingway House and Museum are offered throughout the day, providing visitors with an in-depth look at Hemingway’s life, his time in Key West, and the various exhibits and features of the property. Tours usually last about 30 minutes and are led by knowledgeable guides who can share intriguing stories and insights about Hemingway and his home.
For the most up-to-date information on hours of operation, admission fees, guided tours, and special events, it’s always a good idea to visit the museum’s official website before planning your trip,
How to get to the museum?
You can use various means of transportation to get to the the museum located at 907 Whitehead Street in Key West, Florida.
If you are in Key West, you can walk, bike or take a taxi, carpool or tram to the museum. Those from outside Key West can reach the island by car, or ferry and then use local transportation to get to the museum.
The Ernest Hemingway House and Museum is a must-visit destination for literary enthusiasts and history buffs alike. It offers a unique opportunity to step back in time and explore the world of one of America’s most celebrated authors.
By immersing oneself in the captivating surroundings, visitors can gain a deeper appreciation for Hemingway’s life, his creative process, and the profound impact Key West had on his work.