Thursday, December 2, 2010

Field Trip - Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum in Piggott, Arkansas

 This week we went with some friends on a field trip to Piggott, Arkansas, which happens to be the location of the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and the Matilda and Karl Pfeiffer Museum. The first is a 100-year old home, formerly owned by pharmaceutical company owners, Paul and Mary Pfeiffer. Their daughter Pauline would eventually marry famous author, Ernest Hemingway. The home is pictured here to the left. This shows the front porch to the right, and the back entrance of the house to the left. This is actually a side pic of the house. The balcony seen on the second level was accessible by two of the bedrooms in the home. Avlyn really enjoyed telling everyone that she saw a really old house.

The tour guide at the museum was able to bring the tour down to a young child's level. While we didn't learn much about Hemingway, she did show and teach them about all of the antique things in the home and how they were used. Anything behind black ropes was original furniture used by the family in the early 1900's. I know Avlyn enjoyed seeing an old bed warmer and learning about how they used to fill it with hot bricks or tinder to keep the beds warm. I think they all thought the chamber pots and lack of indoor plumbing was a little gross, too.

There is also a studio barn on the property that was designed for Hemingway to write. History says that he wrote a great deal of his book, "A Farewell to Arms," in the barn studio. They're currently creating an exhibit of animals that represent the types of animals Hemingway hunted on his many trips around the world. The kids loved this part.

Afterward, we headed back to the Matilda and Karl Pfeiffer Museum, which is a traditionally designed tudor home. It houses an extensive mineral collection, with minerals showcased from all over the world. The tour guides at this house absolutely LOVED having the little kids, and the children were all fascinated by the shiny, colorful minerals. They even allowed them to touch some of the minerals, which is always a hit with kids. The home itself is beautiful, and there are 11-acres that can be explored on the property. We passed because it was bitingly cold yesterday, and we didn't have any mittens or hats with us. But we plan on going back in the spring. I'll post more about that museum then - with pictures.

Overall, it was a very educational experience. I would like to go back and hear the actual real tour, but the staff at the museum was great at catering to our age group and making sure the kids were interested. If you're ever in Piggott, this is definitely an interesting place to stop. The Hemingway museum charges admission, but the mineral museum simply takes donations. Hope you enjoy the pictures.

An original desk from the Pfeiffer family. Did Hemingway sit and write here?

The ceilings in the home are made from pressed tin and then painted.

The top of the stairwell, with the original built in child's gate to keep kids from falling down the stairwell.

One of the bedrooms, with the old bed warmer sitting on top. Avlyn really liked learning about that.

Same bedroom with other original furnishings. Can you see the ghosts in the mirror? ;)

A closeup of the pressed tiles. These actually have faces pressed into them. Can you see them?

Another bedroom. The pots on the floor are chamber pots, used before the family was able to install plumbing. An outhouse was used during the day.

Living area to the right of the front door. The fireplace that was used to heat the house can be seen a bit to the left.

We couldn't use a flash in the house, so this pic came out a little dark. This was the formal dining room, with original furnishings and dishes.

The kitchen, with original stove. Plumbing was added later, so you can see a sink to the right. 

The in-progress animal exhibit. The kids saw lion, leopard, dikdik, and water buffalo, among others. This is the only picture inside the restored barn studio where Hemingway would write. Not sure why I didn't take more. Guess the excitement of the animals overtook me. 

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