Naysayers of the written word be warned!
Literature lives! Vibrant, relevant, multi-faceted; colorful, meaningful, ubiquitous.
The nation’s first (and only, for the time being) museum dedicated to the preservation, support and inspiration of writers, readers, the craft of writing, and of storytelling opens to the public on Monday, May 15th in downtown Chicago.
The American Writers Museum (AWM) is a haven for the national treasure trove of literature produced by a myriad of people from the pre-Colonial period to the present, and beyond. It is to be a dynamic, evolving project of lovers of American writers, writing, reading and the engagement of the Literature with its paramours.
Stepping into the gathering area in front of the reception desk and looking up is like a fish trying to feast on a worm from the hook. All the greats of America’s literary past are part of the netting on the ceiling. Crane your neck and see if you can find that one book that snagged you for life as a reader or a writer or both.
Affiliate Home Museums
When the museum opens its doors on Monday it will be a great hub for the interconnectivity of a nationwide network of more than fifty museums. Throughout the country, American author home museums have existed as individual Meccas for literature nerds since the death of our earliest homegrown scribes. The AWM will serve as a touchstone for visitors to Chicago who will be able to see author home museums near them, as well as for Chicagoans who may want to launch excursions of their own to the birthplaces or workplaces of some of their favorite authors.
Children’s Literature Gallery
A more welcomed spot would be hard to find in this open-doored space reserved for the smallest bibliophiles. While children’s authors are plentiful here, the interactive nature of the whole museum will keep their interest for an entire visit…and subsequent visits.
A Nation of Writers
Walking through an entire corridor dedicated to the nation’s massive collection is awesome (literally!). The span of five + centuries of English literature and, specifically, the American spin on it is moving as one walks through this part of the exhibit, touching the faces of some of our greatest and some not-so-well-known, but of an array of race, gender, class and belief.
Of course, it would not be a Windy City establishment if something boasting a national flavor were not spiced with a Chicago flare! The gallery dedicated to local authors shines light on the “Visionaries and Troublemakers” in our midst down through the years.
Readers Hall/Mind of a Writer/Writer’s Room
The space is plentiful for quiet reading as well as public events. While the written word is represented by hard copy books and early/mid-20th Century typewriters, there are ample opportunities for digital experiences in the interactive tables, walls and displays for reflection, game-playing and creating.
Testimony to Humanity
The American Writers Museum is a testimony of and inspiration for writers and readers alike. It is “American” in the broadest sense of that word. It’s an experience of a people who hail from different backgrounds, places, beliefs, opportunities and perspectives, distilling them together while not diluting any of them. It is an essential witness in the modern world where emotionalism endangers rationalism, where nationalism threatens individualism.
This space upholds the best in us as a people while recognizing “US” as only a part of the greater human experience. With pride and gusto it celebrates the past, serves the present and inspires the future for the badly-needed art of writing, the engaging act of reading and the frolicking of all in every activity which is unashamedly American and Human.
Official opening: May 15, 2017
Sat/Sun 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Tues/Wed 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Thursday 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Friday 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
American Writers Museum
180 N. Michigan Ave., 2nd Floor
Chicago, IL 60601
About the Author: Joseph Anthony Rulli
Joseph Anthony Rulli is a transplanted Hoosier, living in Chicago since the fall of 2006. A 1987 graduate of the University of Notre Dame (BA, History) and a 1992 graduate of St. Meinrad School of Theology (MDiv) he taught Social Studies, Religion, Philosophy and History at the high school level. He began writing as a career upon his arrival to his second city and has had two short stories published, a stage play performed, an electronic tour book published online and The Chicago Haymarket Affair, his first print book released in October.
Visit Joseph Rulli’s website for more info