November 7, 2018 – (Key West, FL.) Tennessee Williams Museum Recipient of British Travel Writers Award
The Tennessee Williams Museum at 513 Truman Avenue, the most recent addition to the four museums stewarded by the Key West Art & Historical Society, has been awarded “Highly Commended” honors by the British Guild of Travel Writers in its “Best in the Wider World” category, one of three categories recognized with awards by the Guild each year.
The museum “has been created with passion, enthusiasm and above all, a desire to honor a man whose contribution to his field was everything Hemingway made and then some,” said Julia Hammond, a London-based travel writer who put forth the award nomination following a visit to Key West in March.
“I loved the personal nature of the exhibit,” Hammond said at the gala. “I’m not a fan of museums in general and my knowledge of Tennessee Williams was limited, but by the time I left [the exhibit], I really felt I knew him.”
Stacey Mitchell, Monroe County Tourist Development Council Marketing Director who was in London for an annual World Travel Market, received the award on behalf of Key West Art & Historical Society.
“It’s an honor for a Key West museum to be recognized by the Guild,” said Mitchell. “Tennessee Williams is an important part of the literary movement that resulted in Key West and the Florida Keys being recognized as the cultural and historical location it is today.”
Founded and curated by Dennis Beaver in honor of the Pulitzer-prize winning literary icon who became a Key West resident in 1949, the exhibit has become a destination for Tennessee Williams enthusiasts and scholars. Its preserved and showcased collection of historic, archival materials help eternalize the importance of Williams’ legacy as one of America’s greatest 20th-century playwrights. It offers the largest collection of Tennessee Williams memorabilia and literary artifacts available to the public, including first edition plays and books, images from the late local photographer Don Pinder, and original steps from the film adaptation of Williams’ play “The Rose Tattoo,” which was shot entirely in Key West. A full roster of writing and painting contests, film forums, and live theater performances are offered during the annual Tennessee Williams Birthday Celebration every March with support from the Society.
“Williams gave back to the community that welcomed him without judgement and this comes across in the fondness that shines through every exhibit in this tiny museum,” says Hammond. “This is an intimate tale told within an intimate venue.”
Hammond cited the museum’s value for money ($7 admission for adults) and the social impact it offers by championing a prominent member of the LBGTQ community, providing a poignant but not pushy “warts-and-all celebration of his life.”
The Tennessee Williams Key West Exhibit on 513 Truman Avenue is open for self-guided tours 9:30am-4:30pm daily. Curator tours are available upon request and with advance notice. For more information, contact Key West Art & Historical Society at 305-295-6616 or visit WWW.KWAHS.ORG. Your Museums. Your Community. It Takes an Island.
Stacey Mitchell, Marketing Director of the Monroe County Tourist Development Council, pictured here with Alastair McKenzie, chairman of the British Guild of Travel Writers, accepted the Guild’s “Highly Commended” award for the Tennessee Williams Museum on behalf of Key West Art & Historical Society in London on Sunday. (Photo courtesy of the British Guild of Travel Writers)