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Neighborhood News: Celebrating Chicago Loop’s American Writers Museum

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American writing is distinctive, diverse, and comes in many forms from across the nation. As the only museum devoted to American writers and their works, AWM connects visitors with their favorite authors and writings from more than five centuries, while inspiring the discovery of new works of every type – poetry, lyrics, speeches, drama, fiction, nonfiction, journalism, and more.”

AWM Website

In these days of book banning and questionable sources, it’s especially wonderful that Chicago is host to a unique venue that celebrates America’s unique contributions to the world of the written word in all its forms.

Openedin2017,  The American Writers Museum, 180 N. Michigan Avenue, is the first (and only) museum of its kind in the nation. It celebrates writing of all kinds…journalism, poetry, fiction, nonfiction, children’s literature, etc. And it works overtime to reach every sector of reader and writer, whether it’s through exhibits like the Word Waterfall for kids or a section for distinct Chicago voices like Ida B. Wells and Studs Terkel

For those of the computer generation, you can harken back to the Stone Age in their collection of vintage typewriters. (Maybe you’ll see the one on which your grandmother wrote her high school term papers!) They host ‘Typewriter Tuesdays,’ featuring  special keyboards belonging to famous American writers, including Helen Keller’s braille writer.

Dark Testament: A Century of Black Writers on Justice

Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,

I am the dream and the hope of the slave.

I rise.”

—Maya Angelou

This exhibit honors the significant contributions of Black writers to American literature and history, with the goal of understanding racial injustice. 

The exhibit is both interactive and online, and features writings from prominent Black American writers from the end of the Civil War through the Civil Rights Movement, including W.E.B. Du Bois, Richard Wright, and James Baldwin, and runs through May 6, 2024.

The Kids Are Alright

The Children’s Literature Gallery at the American Writers Museum features an interactive reading space under a whimsical mural by Paul O. Zelinsky and a cozy reading area filled with books for families with young children so they can develop strong reading and writing skills. 

Celebrate The Holidays with AWM at Get Lit: Sun, Surf, Santa Claus

AWM is celebrating the world of beach reads at their holiday party on December 12, from 5:30pm-7:30pm. 

The museum is hosting a fun-filled, think-warm holiday celebration featuring pictures with Santa, dressed in his tropical finest, and ‘Santa’s Storytime,’ where “the jolly man himself will read passages from your favorite beach reads,” according to AWM’s website.

The event also features lots of unique activities, including a Holly Jolly Book Swap (bring your old books and get new ones), Also, you can create stunning beach scenes on sugar cookies, and write letters to Santa on a vintage typewriter. 

Adults 21+ can enjoy beer, wine, and the night’s specialty cocktail, Rudolph’s Mai Tai, a classic tiki cocktail…and no worries, a non-alcoholic version also is available. 

The American Writers Museum is open Thursday-Monday, 10am – 5pm, and is closed Tuesday and Wednesday. For tickets and more information, click here

Alison Moran-Powers and Dean’s Team Chicago