The nonprofit Oscar Hammerstein Museum and Theatre Education Center in Doylestown has announced an alliance with The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum in Key West, Fla.
The Hammerstein Museum will work with Andrew Morawski, director of the Hemingway Home and Museum, with the aim of modeling the success it has cultivated in the Keys, hosting approximately 30,000 guests each month from around the world.
The alliance provides resources and insights into the operation and processes necessary to run a home museum that provides a unique and compelling guest experience, and accurately presents the attributes and history of the property in a way that is accessible, enlightening and intimate.
The Hemingway Home features a two-story house, lush tropical gardens, wrap-around porch and balcony, an in-ground pool, stand-alone writing room, and many cats. The Hammerstein property, also known as Highland Farm, features a three-story residence, wrap-around porch and balcony, an in-ground pool, four acres and a historic barn.
“You can take a historical figure and attempt to tell their history in a way that captivates people, or you can open the door and invite people into their home, which gives that person’s history a true feeling. For both the Hemingway and Hammerstein museums, we’re not only preserving the person behind the history, but the actual home itself. This experience goes beyond what a regular museum or a classroom can convey or deliver,” said Morawski.
While much of their lives and style of living differed, these two national figures had some striking similarities. Both became prize-winning writers, who were inspired in their home writing-room sanctuaries.
Like Hammerstein, who wrote “Oklahoma!,” “Carousel,” “South Pacific,” “The King and I,” and “The Sound of Music” at Highland Farm, Hemingway completed 70% of his work at his Key West property, including “To Have and Have Not” and “For Whom the Bell Tolls.”
“It is a major advantage for us to be working with Andrew and his team,” said Keith Fenimore, president of the board of The Oscar Hammerstein Museum and Theatre Education Center. The alliance gives the Hammerstein nonprofit organization a sounding board for ideas, operational protocols, and guest experience best practices.