Mitchell Wolfson Family Foundation
In 1958, the house was slated for demolition to make way for a gas station when Mitchell Wolfson and his wife Frances stepped in to save it. Their purchase and subsequent renovation of Audubon House sparked the restoration movement in Key West that is evident today in the city’s Historic Old Towne District.
The Wolfson family first came to Key West in the 1870s and owned a goods store on Duval Street. Although the family had relocated to Miami in the 1920s, they maintained close ties in Key West. Jessie Porter, a local citizen and family friend, alerted Mitchell and Frances Wolfson to the impending destruction of the Geiger home. Influenced by local folklore surrounding John James Audubon’s connection to the home, the Wolfsons decided to purchase and restore it for use as a historic museum.
After a two-year restoration, during which time electricity was added to the home, Audubon House Museum opened in 1960. The Museum commemorates Audubon’s 1832 visit to Key West and shares his artwork within the Geiger home.
The home is furnished with antiques dating to the first half of the 19th century, including several items originally belonging to the Geiger family. Those can be found on the third floor and in the parlor (painting of Captain Geiger) and dining room (serving table). A replica cook house in the gardens provides further insight into life in mid-19th century Key West.
The Wolfson family continues to care for the property through the Mitchell Wolfson Family Foundation, a non-profit educational organization.