This month, a new museum dedicated to playwright Tennessee Williams will open in Key West, which the out playwright called home from the late 1940s until his death in 1983. Opening December 15, the Tennessee Williams Museum evolved from a popular exhibit on the theatrical icon.
According to curator Dennis Beaver, the exhibit will feature the largest permanent collection of Williams memorabilia on public display.
“I am delighted that the literary legacy of Tennessee Williams, ‘outed’ as gay by the press early in his career, will flourish under the stewardship of the Key West Art and Historical Society whose goal is to keep Key West history alive and accessible to the public,” said Beaver in a statement.
Highlights from the collection include personal photographs of Williams at home with Merlo and friends, first-edition plays and books, a typewriter used by Williams when he lived in Key West, an artist-crafted model of his island home and even the original steps from the film adaptation of Williams’ play The Rose Tattoo, which was filmed in Key West. Visitors can take self-guided or guided tours showcasing the Tony-winning playwright’s history and legacy.
Williams lived in Key West with his partner Frank Merlo and had a significant impact on the island’s literary culture: His award-winning works include The Glass Menagerie, A Streetcar Named Desire” and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.
In addition to the Tennessee Williams Museum, the Key West Art and Historical Society operates the Fort East Martello Museum, Key West Lighthouse and Keeper’s Quarters and the Custom House Museum, which contains a display of Williams’ original paintings.