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“A nice piece of history”

The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum
Ranked #2 of 188 things to do in Key West
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Ernest Hemingway lived and wrote in this for ten years. During that time he wrote seventy percent of his life-time works. Today we operate as a museum providing guided tours every fifteen minutes from nine to five. The Museum is available for weddings and corporate events. Visit this National Historic Landmark, Literary Landmark and recognized by the Library of Congress for it's importance in U.S. History. Grand Architecture, Lush Gardens, Educational Tours, Book Store/Gift Shop and the world famous Poly dactyl (six-toed cats).
Reviewed October 13, 2012

The home is well cared for and the tour guides know their history. The grounds, pet cemetary and the many many cats were fascinating...right down to their six toes!

Thank KansasPinky
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HemingwayHome, Public Relations Manager at The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, responded to this reviewResponded October 15, 2012

Thank you for your positive review of the Hemingway Home, I see that you made some other excellent Key West picks by going to Martin's and La Te Da. A lot of our brides that get married at Hemingway's use Nailtini, they all rave about it. Thanks again!

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"six toed cats"
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Reviewed October 13, 2012

Went buy and decided to take the tour. Well worth it. You will learn alot about old Ernest. Quite a charactor for sure. Good history lesson too. If you are a cat lover, this is a must do! Don't pass it up.

Thank Ckarolet
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HemingwayHome, Public Relations Manager at The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, responded to this reviewResponded October 15, 2012

Thank you for your review. We are glad you decided to stop in and take the tour. Glad to see you also ate at La Trattoria, they provide catering service for our weddings and have great food. Stop by again next time you are in Key West.

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Reviewed October 13, 2012

It was interesting seeing the home of Hemingway and trying to picture him writing in his house. His gardens are really beautiful and they have 45 cats on the property. The cost is 13 dollars per adult and it is easy to get there by way of trolley. They have guides that will show you around the house and you can walk around on your own also. We did both.One fact I did not know was that Mr. Hemingway loved to fish. He set a record for catching 5 Marlins in one day. There is a gift shop in the back by the pool area and many of his books are on sale along with gifts.I would suggest getting a pass on a trolley which is good for the entire day. Go eat at Conch Republic Seafood for lunch and then take a trip to Hemingway's home like we did. Good way to see Key West.

Thank Russell34550
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 13, 2012

The Tour Groups were too big and the tour too quick. The guide was moving to the next room before everyone got in the room he was in. We had to go back in and walk through the house on our own after the tour was over to have time to read and look at the artifacts. Also, the house is privately owned and has no air conditioning (open windows with a few fans). It saddens me to see the furniture, art and paper artifacts exposed to the south Florida temperatures and humidity. People were lined up all day to get in at $13.00 a head. One day’s income would pay for air conditioning. They should stop being so greedy and preserve the items or donate the property to the city or state and let them do it right like the Truman White house. So this wonderful historic place can be enjoyed for generations to come.

Thank se_solomon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HemingwayHome, Owner at The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, responded to this reviewResponded October 18, 2012

Your comments regarding your tour group size and the speed of your tour while visiting the Hemingway Home will be addressed with our tour guide staff. It is our commitment to provide a world-class experience for our visitors, and based on your feedback, we failed in your instance. I apologize for that.
As to the issue of adding air conditioning let me simply say, “We are a National Historic Landmark.” As such, installation of air conditioning is not an option, inasmuch as it would involve an unacceptable desecration of the Home. I would note, for example, that Historic Landmark Homes such as Mount Vernon and Monticello do not have air conditioning, for the same reason. Meticulous preservation of the original, intrinsic beauty and elegance of the Home, as it was designed, built, and renovated by previous owners, is our primary responsibility.
Your conclusion that this property would be better served if owned and operated by the City of Key West or the State of Florida—instead of a for-profit corporation—is misguided and based on faulty premises. It’s simply faulty reasoning to assume that government-ownership of a tourist site automatically results in a premium museum experience.
You correctly point out that The Truman Little White House is a state-owned property. What you fail to note, however, is that State of Florida is not in any way responsible for the operation and administration of that property. Rather, the Little White House is operated and managed by an outstanding for-profit management company. That company’s expertise is what makes The Little White House the magnificent museum that it is today, with excellent staff and well-preserved artifacts.
The Hemingway Home, as you note, is owned by a for-profit corporation. Just as is the case with the Little White House, the expertise of this corporation is what makes the Home the most popular tourist destination in Key West. We are motivated by the responsibility to preserve the living memory of Ernest Hemingway, and to provide a superlative sightseeing experience for our visitors.

It may enlighten you to understand more fully the provenance of this corporation’s acquisition of the Home. When Ernest Hemingway passed away in 1961, his family quickly decided to sell the home he owned in Key West. They (his two sons and fourth wife) intended for this property to be sold as a personal residence, and to vanish any memory of Ernest’s presence. Indeed, the sellers went so far as to require that the property be used as a personal residence for at least three years. If it wasn’t for the selflessness of a local business woman, however, who purchased the property from Hemingway’s estate, this would have become just another private Key West residence, and you would never have had the opportunity to visit.
In 1964, after the required three-year personal residency, she acted on her belief that that the Hemingway Home’s spirit should be enjoyed by more than a single person. She opened the property to the public. For the next 25 years, until her death in 1989, this labor of love grew into a living memorial for the Nobel Prize-winning author. After her passing, she left the business to her sisters and their children. To preserve the foundation that she had laid in establishing the museum and to better carry out the responsibility of preserving and maintaining this historically important landmark, a corporation was formed and management selected. What you are apparently unaware of is that the management is her blood line; we care deeply about this property, more than any other entity could—including any municipality or state. This is her family’s heritage and responsibility: to preserve this important museum in the best manner possible.
Our one-acre site includes the 168-year-old mansion, two additional historic structures, an enormous pool built in the 1930’s, and magnificent tropical gardens. All of this requires continual, organized, and meticulous maintenance. Our grounds are spectacular, and the recently renovated pool is sparkling clear. In addition, we have been awarded national recognition from the Interior Department’s National Parks Service for our outstanding restoration work. Our roof was just completely replaced as well as a new gutter system installed on the home. Indeed, while you were visiting you should have seen the window sills and shutters were in the process of being restored. We continue ongoing maintenance and restoration year-round.
The artwork and furnishings have been in the Museum since 1963. We have spent almost fifty years caring for these items and providing all the necessary maintenance that our open air environment may require. Our furnishings are in great shape. You are apparently unaware that the documents that are on display are copies of the originals. The originals are, of course, kept in proper storage to ensure they aren’t subjected to the Key West elements.
I hope this is enlightening to you. With the information provided to you, I hope you recognize that any suggestion we are neglecting the assets of our business because of some kind of corporate greed is a wholly erroneous affront to the dedicated management, staff, and ownership of The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum.

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Reviewed October 12, 2012

Very well-preserved and beautiful home. Tour was well-done, and didn't try to soften the rough edges of a brilliant but troubled writer.

1  Thank Cadzilla1959
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HemingwayHome, Public Relations Manager at The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, responded to this reviewResponded October 15, 2012

Thank you for your great review and your appreciation for Hemingway's style. Great to see guests from Tennessee after all Tennessee Williams was one of Hemingway's friends here in Key West. Have a great day!

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