Many of America’s most celebrated individuals, from world-champion athletes to influential authors and timeless musicians, can trace their roots to the South. Thanks to the dedicated efforts of their family members and local communities, travelers can visit many of the historic homes and museums that commemorate these figures through immersive exhibits and memorabilia.
To draw inspiration from some of the South’s greatest icons, groups can take a tour through any of the following world-class museums.
Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum
Key West, Florida
Nestled in the heart of Old Town Key West, the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum celebrates the life and legacy of Nobel Prize-winning author Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway wrote nearly 70 percent of his works during his 12-year tenure on the island, including classics such as “A Farewell to Arms,” “The Snows of Kilimanjaro,” “Green Hills of Africa,” “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and “To Have and Have Not.”
“Hemingway was highly criticized for his short, concise, almost grade-school manner of writing, but if he were alive today, he’d be one of the world’s best texters and tweeters,” said Dave Gonzales, curator and media director at the museum.
Gonzales said Hemingway’s simple style accomplished two important things for his career.
“For one, the typical blue-collar worker could pick up a Hemingway novel, start it, finish it, no dictionary required. And two, his works translated easily into foreign languages,” he said.
Groups can learn more about Hemingway’s colorful history as a journalist, a novelist, a big-game hunter and an army veteran as they tour the beautiful white limestone home, which features tall yellow shutters and a railed veranda that encircles the second floor. A secondary building on the property contains Hemingway’s personal writing studio and his original portable Royal typewriter.
Guests will also notice many cats roaming the house and gardens. Hemingway was famously fond of cats and kept dozens of them as pets throughout his life. During the 1930s, he was given a six-toed polydactyl cat named Snow White, and its six-toed descendants continue to live on the property.