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American Writers Museum

373 Reviews

American Writers Museum

373 Reviews
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180 N Michigan Ave 2nd Floor, Chicago, IL 60601-7401
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Taylor B wrote a review Sep 25
Chicago, Illinois6,401 contributions5,220 helpful votes
For a retired newspaperman, the American Writers Museum is a treasure trove of literary history and interactive displays and fascinating exhibits that document and highlight authors and writings from more than five centuries. Located on the second floor of an office building at 180 North Michigan Avenue in Chicago, not far from Millennium Park and the Art Institute of Chicago, the 11,000-square-foot museum was established in 2010 and opened in 2017, the brainchild of Malcolm O'Hagan, a retired executive from Washington D.C. After visiting the Dublin Writers Museum in his native Ireland in 2009, O'Hagan began to wonder why there wasn't a similar museum in the United States. He chose Chicago for his new museum because of its strong tourist traffic and rich literary history. In fact, that's the subject of one of the most interesting galleries in the venue, Chicago: A City of Writers. It recalls the brilliant work of Carl Sandburg, Nelson Algren, Ben Hecht, James T. Farrell, Ernest Hemingway, Sherwood Anderson, Scott Turow, Gwendolyn Brooks, Edgar Rice Burroughs and Mike Royko. Don't look for manuscripts, first editions, rare books and artifacts. Instead, there are interactive touch screens and high-tech multimedia installations galore. I always am enamored by the table of vintage typewriters. I remember when I used a Smith-Corona in college. Also the 85-foot-long interactive wall that highlights 100 notable writers chronologically. Minds of a Writer focuses on creativity and process. Surprise Bookshelf offers 100 memorable phrases, including Timex's "Takes a licking and keeps on ticking" advertising slogan. There's an interactive touch-screen table where visitors can dig deeply into the history and meaning of 25 masterworks, including The Great Gatsby. And another interactive display allows you to compare your writing habits and skills to those of the greats. See how you compare to the writings of Melville, Hemingway, Hawthorne, Mark Twain, John Steinbeck, Jack Kerouac, Norman Mailer, Harper Lee, W.E.B. DuBois, James Baldwin, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, Laura Ingalls Wilder, even Prince, Bob Dylan and Tupac Shakur. The museum is a celebration of American literature, a great way to recognize the enduring influence of American writers on our history, culture and daily lives.
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Date of experience: September 2020
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Rene C wrote a review Jun 2020
Chicago, Illinois13 contributions5 helpful votes
If you love writers, quotes, and books you'll be so happy you stopped here. Short descriptions and key facts of every American writer are highlighted as well as some key "writer" artifacts - like typewriters. So cool.
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Date of experience: December 2019
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imaginelifenow wrote a review May 2020
Chicago, Illinois4 contributions
Love this place!! So many different things to do. I had a blast watching my college grad daughter try out the typewriters. “Where is the #1 key on this typewriter?” Each section is setup so creatively. Alot of variety - history, hands on exhibits, play games, or sit and read. The author talks are very interesting. I spent awhile here and then became a member.
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Date of experience: May 2020
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Troy C wrote a review Feb 2020
4 contributions3 helpful votes
I had a meeting downtown and had an hour to kill. I visited this museum and lived it. A lot of displays worth reading. Was disappointed to not see Harper Lee or SE Hinton, but still a very comprehend museum. And there's a chance I just missed them because there was so much to see and read. I didn't finish in the hour I had and the staff was kind enough to let me return later in the day to finish my visit.
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Date of experience: February 2020
1 Helpful vote
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annX2206FC wrote a review Feb 2020
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania6 contributions1 helpful vote
We had a great two-hour visit here. We were impressed with how interactive the exhibits were! We played several games and tried our hand at writing a story on different typewriters. Learned some interesting facts about famous and not-so-famous writers. An enjoyable museum!
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Date of experience: February 2020
2 Helpful votes
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