Visitors to Key West may find the city inspires them to party.
But writer Tennessee Williams found the city inspired him to write — enough so that he owned a home on the island from 1949 until his death in 1983.
That house, on Duncan Street, now is a private residence.
Since 2011, another house, at 513 Truman Ave., has been home to the Tennessee Williams Museum, founded in March 2011.
Dennis Beaver established the museum in March 2011 in recognition of the 100th anniversary of Williams’ birth. In January 2018, it merged with the Key West Art & Historical Society, becoming the fourth museum under the society’s stewardship.
Since its inception, the goal of the Tennessee Williams Museum has been highlighting the legacy of one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century.
This is of particular importance to the citizens of Key West and Monroe County.
During the time he lived in Key West, his popular plays, which often were made into successful movies, earned him international fame and countless awards, including Pulitzers for “A Streetcar Named Desire” and “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” as well as the highest honor given to a civilian, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
His creativity and life in Key West motivated other writers and artists to live and work on the island, forming a renowned bohemian enclave that beckons the creative community to paradise. Williams also is credited with helping to put the island on the cultural map.
His plays and writings remain relevant and are frequently produced on Broadway and on stages around the world. This enduring popularity and scholarly interest in his work increases the importance of the collection at the Tennessee Williams Museum and the commemoration of its 10th anniversary.
The museum has been a recipient of numerous awards including “Highly Commended” honors by the British Guild of Travel Writers in its “Best in the Wider World” category.
For more information about the museum, visit www.kwahs.org. While the museum remains closed, you can schedule a private tour by visiting www.kwahs.org/upcoming-event/private-tour-of-the-tennessee-williams-museum. ¦