The American Writers Museum celebrates American writers through innovative, state-of-the-art exhibitions and compelling programming.
Chicago’s rich literary history is the ideal setting for the American Writers Museum, an institution dedicated to celebrating American writers of the past, engaging in dialogue with writers of the present and inspiring writers of the future. Visitors get the chance to explore how the American voice has evolved through the years and the influence American writers have on our history, our identity, our culture and our daily lives.
The American Writers Museum is a living, breathing museum with a vast array of content and engaging, interactive exhibits to captivate the mind of writers and readers alike. Since the museum is largely self-guided, visitors are free to explore at their own pace, following those paths to discovery wherever they may lead. And with varied public programs, from author readings and signings to writing workshops, as well as rotating exhibits, each visit tells a different story.
Whether a Chicago resident or a traveler passing through, now is a good time to see the original scroll on which Jack Kerouac typed the first draft of "On the Road." Kerouac himself passed through Chicago on one of his many cross-country adventures, which he immortalized in the seminal book of the Beat Generation. Visitors can see what he had to say about his visit to Chicago, then let the inspiration take over and write their own stories on one of our many vintage typewriters.
With the summer sun now bright and shining, the art installation "Palms: All Awake in the Darkness" celebrates both the poetry of W.S. Merwin and his lifelong commitment to the preservation of natural lands. Combining audio recordings of poets reading their work, a video presentation and the visual and tactile sensation of walking among live palm plants, this is a truly immersive installation that leaves visitors contemplative and inspired.
The American Writers Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday, from 10-5, except on Thursday when hours are extended to 8 pm.