An Introduction to the American Writers Museum

9 May 2019

The American Writers Museum video installation, Word Waterfall. Photo courtesy of The American Writers Museum.


1000M is located on Michigan Avenue along Chicago’s Cultural Mile, giving residents enriching access to all of the city’s best cultural institutions.


The American Writers Museum is Born


Situated at 180 North Michigan Avenue, the American Writers Museum is the first of its kind in America. The idea of the museum was first conceptualized in 2009, and finally the museum opened its doors to the public in May of 2017. Other locations were considered during the planning process, but in the end, it made perfect sense that the museum would find a home in Chicago’s Cultural Mile with the city playing host for the nation.


An Engaging Sensory Experience


The museum was established to celebrate and explore the influence of American writers through uniquely engaging exhibits. Nearly all of the five senses are engaged while roaming through the museum. Lining the largest museum corridor, named John and Cathie Estey’s Nation of Writers, are 100 wall-mounted boxes that pull out, revealing literary ephemera that you can touch, hear or smell. At the end of the hall is also the mesmerizing video installation Word Waterfall showcasing famous literary quotes.


Museum Exhibits


The museum also includes a Writers Hall, a Readers Hall, an interactive children’s gallery and The Mind of a Writer Gallery. The latter includes a long, sleek wooden desk laden with multi-colored typewriters. The typewriters serve as an invitation to museum-goers: you can write something on the spot and pin in it to the Story of the Day wall. While honoring American writers, the museum also seeks to explore the writing process and invite the next generation to take part in it. The hope is that you’ll go home after your visit with new knowledge, and the inspiration to create your own next great work.


Temporary exhibits at the museum also feature Bob Dylan: Electric, which celebrates Bob Dylan’s enduring impact on music, language and history. Also on show: Frederick Douglass: Agitator, passionate orator about racism before, during and after the end of slavery in 1865. And soon to replace the Frederick Douglass exhibit, Tools of the Trade will open in June, examining writing implements, some used by famous authors, that helped to write some of America’s most revered literature.


The American Writers Museum is located at 180 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago IL. They are open daily 10 am – 5 pm. Pricing for tickets is $12 for adults, $8 for seniors and students and free for children. For more information on pricing and hours visit their website.