The Ernest Hemingway Museum
You may think that Oak Park is all Frank Lloyd Wright, all the time. Maybe you’ve done the neighborhood walk, visiting and exploring his many famous homes. But chances are you missed the birthplace of Ernest Hemingway, famous author and journalist. Ernest Hemingway… that guy who wrote all those books you had to read for high school and college English classes? Yup, he grew up just west of Chicago in Oak Park.
Hemingway was born in 1899 in the house built by his maternal grandparents. The Victorian home is restored to reflect how Hemingway lived while growing up and how homes looked and functioned in the early 20th century. The large home housed many members of Hemingway’s family, including his uncle and grandfather as well as hired help. After his grandfather died, the Hemingways would move to another home nearby at 600 N. Kenilworth Ave. This house is not open to the public. From this boyhood home, Hemingway would begin to move around the country and write extensively.
Explore his historic birthplace and then journey just blocks away to the Ernest Hemingway museum, housed inside the Oak Park Arts Center. The center holds permanent and temporary exhibits displaying artifacts from Hemingway’s life growing up in Oak Park, as well as his writings and photos. Of particular interest is his childhood diary as well as the famous letter from nurse Agnes von Kurowsky terminating their engagement, which he later used in his novel A Farewell to Arms. Tours are available and expand on how Hemingway’s childhood influenced his life and writings.
The troubled and ever-changing world of the early 1900s heavily affected Hemingway. Special exhibits focusing on his involvement in both World Wars as well as his interest in movies and the arts are present. So, get out to Oak Park and explore your literary side. Or choose a sunny day and roam around enjoying Frank Lloyd Wright’s homes after you have visited the Hemingway Museum. We promise it’s worth the trek to the burbs.
Location: 200 N. Oak Park Avenue
Hours & Admission:
Seniors (65+) and Youth/Student (18- or with valid student ID): $8
Closed all major holidays.
90 minute group tours available. Reservations required.
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