Literary Pilgrimage: The American Writers Museum


Last weekend was a bit of a whirlwind. I accompanied my boyfriend to Chicago where he attended a conference with thousands of other people who work in his field. His BFFs, who are spread out around the country, were there and we all met up.

Part of the trip was a chance for me to meet his friends and to take spend the weekend together. The other part, well, that was the realization of a dream I’ve had for the last two years: visit the American Writer’s Museum!

I first learned about the American Writer’s Museum on social media when I read about the fledgling organization. They were in the process of attracting donors and creating exhibits, set to open in the spring of 2016. I followed along each month, hoping to visit Chicago right after they opened.

Needless to say, life happens and I didn’t make it to Chi-town for the opening. But, I finally got my chance to walk the halls of this one-of-a-kind museum last weekend!

The museum pays homage to the generations of writers who have celebrated, critiqued and truly developed the United States’ literary identity into what it is today. Voted one of the top new museums in Chicago, this one doesn’t disappoint! The displays have interesting information, the interactive exhibits are fun and exciting for adults and kids, and they have a fantastic kids room to engage children!

Okay, I promise no one is paying me to write this. I just really enjoyed my time here! I spent about 2 hours wandering through and reading everything. One of my favorite displays is a giant interactive map of the United States. You can click on any state and learn about significant writers who were born in those states and the works they created. Through this display, I learned about a writer whom I’d never heard of before. Gwendolyn Brooks is an African-American poet born in St. Louis who had a significant place in American literature. I can’t wait to pick up some of her poetry and learn more about her.

Another favorite part of this museum for me was the attention they paid to all of the American Gothic writers! Poe was a given, but they included more obscure people like Charles Brockden Brown in their catalog as well.

If you’re headed to Chicago in the near future, I highly recommend stopping in at the American Writer’s Museum. I learned a lot and met some new writers too! If you have kids, this museum definitely will cater to them as well. It’s so gratifying to see our craft being preserved and held up in such a special way.

Here are a few photos I took during my visit to the museum.

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