Saving Ernest Hemingway's Cuban Legacy:
Preserving Finca Vigía
The mission of The Finca Vigía Foundation (formerly known as the Hemingway Preservation Foundation, Inc.) is to work collaboratively with Cuban colleagues to restore and preserve Ernest Hemingway's home, Finca Vigía, its contents, and the famous fishing boat, Pilar
The home, located 12 miles from central Havana, Cuba, in the village of San Francisco de Paula, is filled with original furniture, artwork, china, fishing rods, animal trophies, guns, typewriters, and other objects collected by the author and his wives. His phonograph still works. Original liquor bottles are on display in the living room. Closets contain clothing, jewelry, and personal memorabilia. When he left in 1960, he had intended to return.
Of special importance is the author's 9,000 book library - approximately 18% of the books have writing in the margins, several thousand irreplaceable letters and telegrams, more than 4,000 photographs, five scrapbooks, manuscripts, and galley proofs.
The 12 acre property contains the author’s beloved fishing boat, Pilar, in dry dock, a guest house, swimming pool with cabanas, a small baseball field where Hemingway pitched countless innings with his sons and children from the nearby village, and groves of almond, mango, and avocado trees.
Since 2004, with the assistance of The National Trust for Historic Preservation and an extraordinary team of architects and engineers, the Social Science Research Council, Mystic Seaport, and the Northeast Document Conservation Center the following has been accomplished:
- Hemingway’s home, Finca Vigía, has been architecturally preserved to its 1950’s splendor;
- Pilar was restored;
- Conservation and digitization of more than 10,000 documents, 4,000 photographs, and the five rare Hemingway scrapbooks was completed. While the original documents remain in Cuba, digital images were brought to the United States and are archived at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston, Massachusetts; and
- Cuban and U.S. architects, engineers, and construction specialists designed an on-site archival storage facility with wet and dry conservation laboratories (called Taller in Spanish). The building of the Taller began in 2015; completion is estimated for late 2016.