Friday 16 April 2021
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The Big City Blog: Experiencing the new American Writers Museum in downtown Chicago

By Jina Bute

In May, Chicago officially became home to the American Writers Museum — the first of its kind in the United States — at 180 N. Michigan Ave. This very interactive museum features multiple galleries, allowing fans of literature to learn about the history of their favorite American classics and authors.

One of the first exhibits upon entering is the Children’s Literature Gallery. With plenty of seating for parents and children to read together, the exhibit features classic children’s books written by famous American authors such as Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein. Personally, the children’s book that caught my eye was The Very Hungry Caterpillar, one of my favorite picture books from childhood.

Another exhibit that provides relaxation is the “greenhouse” called All Awake in the Darkness. With its tropical atmosphere, visitors can enjoy the peace and quiet while reading a favorite book.

One can learn about the history and evolution of American writing with a visual highlighting 100 influential authors and writings from as early as 1490. There are plenty of other features, such as the Surprise Bookshelf, storing pieces of writing of all types of genres, as well as a word waterfall with quotes and excerpts from classic pieces of literature.

The American Writers Museum also encourages participation through voting for favorite books, designing your own bookmark and multiple word-play activities. You can even take a stab at using an old-fashioned typewriter. Not every guest needs to be an avid reader or writer to enjoy this new Chicago gem. An appreciation for the history of the written word is all that’s required.