A small town in Arkansas is an unusual place for a house museum dedicated to Earnest Hemingway, but that’s exactly what you’ll find in Piggott, Arkansas. Learn more about exploring this unexpected literary site.
You probably know all about Hemingway’s house in Key West, Florida. But what you probably didn’t know is that Hemingway spent a lot of time in the tiny town of Piggott, Arkansas.
The Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center occupies the former home of Hemingway’s second wife Pauline Pfeiffer and her parents Paul and Mary.
Hemingway met Pauline while in Paris with his first wife, Hadley, in 1925. Hadley and Pauline were actually really good friends until, of course, Hemingway divorced Hadley and married Pauline in 1927.
The Pfeiffer family was already a wealthy pharmaceutical family in Missouri before Pauline’s father moved them to Piggott and acquired 63,000 acres of land for growing cotton. Pauline’s Uncle Gus was fond of Hemingway and gave them their house in Key West as well as a safari to Africa.
During their marriage, Hemingway and Pauline visited her family frequently, staying for months at a time. In the 1930s, they converted the barn into a writing studio to give him some privacy while he wrote. This is where Hemingway wrote portions of A Farewell to Arms and a few short stories.
Hemingway never returned to Piggott after Hemingway and Pauline divorced in 1939.
Arkansas State University acquired the property in 1997 and opened the home to the public in July, 1999 to coincide with Hemingway’s 100th birthday.
Touring the Home and Barn Studio
Both the barn and the house have been renovated. The museum focuses on the 1930s era, including the literature of the period, world events, agriculture, family lifestyles, and the development of Northeast Arkansas during the Depression and New Deal eras.
The house and barn feature mementos of the Hemingways and the Pfeiffers, and the barn is set up as it would have been when Hemingway used it.
Most of the furniture in the house is original to the 1930s, and some pieces are original to the house. The poker table, the dresser, and the chairs in the barn studio were all used by Hemingway. The desk and typewriter, however, are replicas.
Behind the home is the Tudor-style Matilda and Karl Pfeiffer house, which belonged to Pauline’s brother and sister-in-law. This home features Matilda’s mineral collection with more than 1,400 minerals and geodes, including a geode with a wurtzite crystal that is thought to be the only one of its kind. The home also features a collection of Native American artifacts.
Visiting the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum
The Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tours begin on the hour; the last tour of each day is at 3 p.m.
The museum is closed on Sundays, New Year’s Day, Memorial Weekend, Independence Day, and Labor Day.
Admission costs a $12 per person, $10 for seniors, and free for children under 5.
Where to Stay in Piggott, Arkansas
- Top Hotel: Hampton Inn Paragould
- Great Value: Drury Inn & Suites Poplar Bluff
- Unique Stay: Bullwinkles Rustic Lodge
More Literary Travels
- Visiting Rowan Oak, the Home of William Faulkner, in Oxford, Mississippi
- Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Last Home in Montgomery, Alabama
- Visiting The Wren’s Nest in Atlanta, Georgia
- How to Get Your Fill of Shakespeare History in Stratford-upon-Avon
Ready to visit Piggott, Arkansas? Plan your trip with these tips.
- Book your flight: Find the cheapest flights using Skyscanner, my favorite flight search engine.
- Find Accommodation: You can find top hotels in Piggott using Hotels.com.
- Get Packing: Make sure you’ve packed everything you need with my packing list resources.
Have you visited the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum in Piggott, Arkansas? Let me know in the comments!