American Writers Museum Opening in Chicago in 2017
If you enjoy reading Electric Literature, join our mailing list! We’ll send you the best of EL each week, and you’ll be the first to know about upcoming submissions periods and virtual events.
There is a museum for most anything in the US, from the Museum of Sex in New York to the New England Maple Museum and the International UFO Museum in New Mexico. (You can read about more odd museums here). A museum for writers, though, has been sorely missing. Malcolm E. O’Hagan, founder and president of the American Writers Museum, has set out to change this, by creating a cultural institution to house all of the great American authors. He announced this week that the American Writers Museum has found a home on 180 North Michigan Avenue in Chicago. It is set to open in early 2017. The address allows for close proximity to other Chicago attractions like the Millennium Park, the Chicago Cultural Center and the Art Institute of Chicago.
At an official announcement ceremony held at the Chicago Cultural center, Michelle Boone, commissioner of cultural affairs and special events, said: “The American Writers Museum will be a wonderful addition to the city’s cultural landscape that will bring many, many visitors to Chicago.” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel chimed in, saying: “I enthusiastically support the efforts to place a national writers museum in Chicago. Such a museum will complement the rich offerings of the city’s theaters, museums, libraries, and musical activities and adds significantly to Chicago’s vitality.”
The museum will showcase the personal stories and works of writers from Mark Twain to Dr. Seuss, according to a statement released on its website. Planned exhibitions include “Nobel Laureates,” “Revolutionary Writing,” “Beat Poets,” and “The Immigrant Experience.” There will be a focus on new media and technology, which will allow for a different experience than a library, and will align the museum with contemporary writing, from digital books to social media.
The museum expects about 120 000 visitors annually, and 1,75 million in revenue by 2021. In order to open in early 2017, the board must raise 5 million by late 2016, a goal they believe is possible to achieve.
O’Hagan says he is thrilled to have found a space in the heart of Chicago, and continues: “The American Writers Museum will become a beloved attraction for Chicago residents and visitors from all over the world, and will provide an exciting and unprecedented opportunity to showcase true Americana in one of the nation’s most culturally rich cities.”