Hemingway spent the first six years of his legendary life in this beautiful Queen Anne-style Victorian.

By Meghan Overdeep
October 09, 2020
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The Ernest Hemingway Birthplace Museum is one of countless historic house museums facing financial hardship due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Unless it meets its fundraising goal, it may be forced to close its doors as soon as this December.

The beautifully restored Queen Anne-style Victorian in Oak Park, Illinois, was built by the famous writer’s maternal grandparents in 1890 and was the first residence in the Chicago suburb to have electricity. Hemingway was born in the home on July 21, 1899, and spent the following six years of his legendary life there.

Sadly, the Ernest Hemingway Birthplace Museum was closed for four months amid the coronavirus pandemic, and it might not be able to recover.

“We closed (per state and local mandates) from March through June. We reopened in July on a limited-basis; Saturdays only, but at a limited capacity of 8 persons per tour to remain with the Illinois Phase 4 guidelines.” Keith Strom, the executive director of the Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park, told House Beautiful. “Our admission upon reopening is substantially down with our visitor totals for this year having dropped precipitously (approximately an 80% reduction compared to last year).”

Two weeks ago, in an effort to keep the landmark open to the public, the Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park set up a GoFundMe page. At time of publishing, they’ve raised just short of $18,000. Their goal is currently $75,000.

“If we meet this target, it will go a long way toward making us whole—keeping the birthplace museum open through next spring and allowing us to continue our educational and social programming when deemed safe,” Strom explained to House Beautiful.

To help keep this historic house open by making a donation on SaveHemingway.com.