U.S., Cuba join efforts to restore Ernest Hemingway’s home, belongings

HAVANA, June 22 (UPI) — Ernest Hemingway’s house near Havana and thousands of the late author’s documents will be restored and preserved in a joint effort by Cuban and U.S. authorities.

The Finca Vigia Foundation will export $860,000 worth of U.S. supplies as part of restoration efforts. The home, Finca Vigia, is where Hemingway spent the last 22 years of his life and where wrote the Nobel-prize wining book The Old Man and the Sea.

“It’s historic, not since the 1950s has a building with American materials been built here,” Finca Vigia executive director Mary-Jo Adams said. The foundation first began attempting to restore the home in 2005, but the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba stifled efforts. A recent thaw in Cuban-U.S. relations have allowed cooperation between governments.

A laboratory will be built in Cuba to restore and preserve Hemingway’s belongings.

“Hemingway was a pack rat,” Adams said. “He wrote a lot of letters and often he slept on them and never sent them. It provides a glimpse into his thought process.”

Hemingway’s home was transformed into the Finca Vigia Museum after his wife Mary donated the house to the Cuban government.

“We will need to send a tremendous amount of tools over here,” Adams said. “Hammers, screwdrivers, nails, nuts, bolts. Everything, we send needs to have all the corresponding parts. We are under no illusions that there is a Home Depot in Cuba.”

Cuba’s National Council for Cultural Heritage will work with the foundation. Hemingway moved back to the United States from Cuba in 1961 and later committed suicide that same year.

By Andrew V. Pestano, UPI

June 22, 2015

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