American Writers Museum in Chicago
Oline H. Cogdill

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When I am in Chicago next year, I plan to put this new museum on my growing list of things to do. That is, if I can tear myself away from the stores, the restaurants, and the theaters.

The American Writers Museum, the first in the United States to focus exclusively on American writers "past and present," will open in March 2017 in downtown Chicago.

The museum, which will be located at 180 North Michigan Avenue, is working with more than 50 authors' homes and museums around the country to build its exhibitions.

Museum organizers estimate up to 120,000 visitors will walk through its doors each year.

The museum will feature re-creations of writers' homes and fictional locales, such as Tara, Cannery Row, and the House of Seven Gables.

Interactive exhibits about writers' lives and methodologies, such as including "travels" with Jack Kerouac and John Steinbeck, also will be included.

The museum also plans space for film screenings, talks, readings, and presentations. I could also see writers' conferences being held here.

Ongoing exhibitions will cover a range of subjects. The museum has identified some rotating exhibits it may include. Among these are:
Nobel Laureates
Censorship: Banned Books
Villains in American Literature
Great Characters in American Literature
The Lost Generation
The Short Story
Best Sellers
First Novels That Rocked the World
American Writers as Cultural Ambassadors
Regional Writing
Writers on Writers
American Plays and Playwrights
American Literary Critics
Storytelling: Narrative Art in a Variety of Genres
Children’s Literature
From Page to Screen (Turning Books Into Films)
Ethnic Literature
Literature and the Visual Arts

America is blessed with a multitude of excellent authors, both living and deceased, so there should be no dearth of subjects the museum can focus on.

I also hope that many of Chicago’s excellent mystery writers will be featured in the museum, adding to the balance of authors. And I love that this will be a new venue for authors to hold discussions, panels, and other events.

The American Writers Museum has a cool website and will be updating information as it nears completion. For more information, visit the museum at

Oline Cogdill
2016-05-18 14:45:17