How long has a been since you visited a museum dedicated just to you? Not to you as an individual, of course, but to your creative calling as a writer? If the answer is “never” or “not lately,” you should check out the American Writers Museum in downtown Chicago.
First, some vital information.
Location: 180 N. Michigan Avenue. Two blocks north of Millennium Station, this is easy access for visitors coming from Indiana by the South Shore train.
Hours: Monday–Friday, 9 am–5 pm. Unfortunately there are no weekend hours, but if you need time off from your day job for mental health purposes, this is a good place to go. It is also a good place to take the children for a summer outing.
Tickets: $12 for adults, $8 for seniors 65 and up, $8 for students with a valid ID, and free for children 12 and under. Ticket sales end 30 minutes before closing.
Memberships: $40 for one year and $70 for two years.
Telephone: (312) 374-8790.
It takes a minimum of two hours to do the museum justice, and you may want to consider spending three to four hours there. Here is a quick look at the exhibits.
A Nation of Writers: This permanent exhibit features information on 100 American authors who illustrate how American writing evolved and flourished. It also reminds us that memorable writing can be long or short, fact or fiction.
The Mind of a Writer: This fun, interactive permanent exhibit offers insights into how writers think, exploring daily discipline and habits as well as how authors use language to make their writing sing.
Readers’ Hall: Learn about the critical role of the reader in this permanent exhibit, and vote for your favorite book.
Children’s Literature Gallery: This permanent exhibit highlights some of the best American children’s literature and helps children discover how and why each of those books was written. Only a few books are covered and your favorites may have been omitted, but the exhibit does a good job of selecting books that represent various categories.
Wintrust Chicago Gallery: Another permanent exhibit, this gallery provides information on selected Chicago writers.
Laura Ingalls Wilder: From Prairie to Page: This is a temporary exhibit that is only scheduled through Spring 2018. The website does not contain an exact closing date or information on what will replace it. If you can make it while the exhibit is still open, however, you will learn about the forces that shaped Laura Ingalls Wilder and her books.
Capturing Stories: Photographs of Writers by Art Shay: This is also billed as a temporary exhibit but doesn’t list a closing date. The exhibit consists of Art Shay’s photographs of well-known American authors.
So find time to visit the museum that celebrates you.