American Writer’s Museum Exemplifies Future Trends in Exhibition Galleries (Photo Journal)


american writer's museum ernest hemingway

The American Writer’s Museum, the first and only of its kind in this country, opens up in Chicago, and not New York or Washington D.C. on Tuesday, May 16th.

At the media preview today, award winning poet and author Ana Castillo brought up the astonishment many people have when they find out the American Writer’s Museum is in Chicago, and not either of the two eastern seaboard metropolises previously mentioned. Chicago is a city that consistently flies under the radar when it comes to culture.

american writer's museum

The AWM will open one day prior to the 117th anniversary of the first publication of Frank Baum’s “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” an event that transpired in Chicago. The American Writer’s Museum perfectly embodies the trend of where exhibition halls and galleries are going these days.

It’s not about artifacts and historical objects. Instead it’s about visitor interactivity and high-tech visual displays. Museum-goers are more active and less passive nowadays. The wildly popular Titanic Belfast, which opened in 2012 in the Northern Ireland capital, is the ideal paradigm. That facility proudly boasts of zero original artifacts, and the American Writer’s Museum seems to fit that mold as well. The one major artifact at the AWM is quite a doozy though, as it’s Jack Kerouac’s original scroll from which he wrote “On the Road.”

typewriter american writer's museum

The “killer app” of the American Writer’s Museum is no doubt Writers Hall, a fantastic display of 100 legendary American authors on one side, 100 iconic American works on the other. The authors are classic figures, and people you’ve read about in History (Theodore Roosevelt, Frederick Douglass, just in case POTUS 45 actually feels the desire to edify himself on the topic) or English (F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, Eudora Welty) class.

With the works, it’s a very big tent. You’ll find words crafted by George Plimpton, Tupac Shakur, Prince, H.L. Mencken and absolutely anyone else that you could imagine in between. You’ll learn a lot by turning the small display boards, but perhaps not as much as you’ll learn in the Word Play exhibit on the opposite side of the facility.

My favorite was the touch screen educating the visitor on the origins of numerous phrases and terms including: frenemy, skyscraper, shotgun wedding, bible belt and muscle man.

american writer's museum

Of course, no visit is complete without staring meditatively at the word waterfall, crafting your own work at one of the vintage typewriters or consuming the gallery devoted to legendary local Chicago scribes. The American Writer’s Museum operates on a “strict word count,” as they pack a whole lot of informative and entertaining content into a very small space.

American Writer’s Museum photo gallery, via Twitter:

American Writer’s Museum photo gallery, via Instagram:

The museum will be open from 10 am to 4 pm Tuesday through Sunday, and on Thursday open until 8pm, Admission is $12

The AWM is located on the heart of Chicago’s “Cultural Mile” on 180 N. Michigan Avenue. It will be just steps from numerous cultural attractions, including: the Art Institute of Chicago, Millenium Park (“The Bean”), Chicago Cultural Center, Joffrey Ballett, Theatre District, Chicago Architecture Foundation and more.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports and TheBank.News, partnered with FOX Sports Engage Network. and News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington TimesNBC and Chicago, currently contributes to WGN CLTV and KOZN

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