Volume 4, Number 1


About AWM

Learn more about plans to establish the American Writers Museum


See what other people are saying about the American Writers Museum


Learn more about the Executive Planning Team and National Advisory Council


Fill out our online survey and tell us what you want to see in the American Writers Museum


Read the museum concept plan.


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Add your name to our mailing list and receive updates about the American Writers Museum



The mission of the American Writers Museum Foundation is to establish the first national museum in the United States dedicated to engaging the public in celebrating American writers and exploring their influence on our history, our identity, our culture and our daily lives.

"Anyone invested in the cultural landscape of the United States would welcome an American Writers Museum--even those of us who believe that a picture might be worth a thousand words. Literature and the visual arts have been linked together since some of the first human efforts at creative expression, and they serve--with music, theater, dance, and other art forms--to celebrate the human spirit and as a source of inspiration for generations of artists to come. A museum devoted to American literature, specifically in Chicago, perhaps the most American of all cities, would play a vital role in keeping the creative impulse alive in the national psyche." - Douglas Druick, President, Art Institute of Chicago 

Progress over the last few months is transforming the Museum's concept plan into a floor plan with designs for exhibits has been substantial. Working with Boston-based Amaze Design, a leading museum exhibit design firm that has been involved with AWM from its inception, we will soon be publishing an interactive blueprint for how space will be allocated and what galleries and exhibits will be featured in the museum. Guided by input from literary scholars, publishers, AWM planners, the public, museum experts, and writers, six areas of focus have emerged:


  • Literary Independence: "Writers who declared literary independence or became emblematic for American writing"
  • Breaking Boundaries: "Getting past the cultural gatekeepers"
  • Shaping America: "Writings that shaped American society and consciousness"   
  • American Favorites
  • Chicago Room: "Creating a new language of literature"
  • Children's Room: "Authors who shaped young minds"


We will soon be posting an online plan for our First Edition space. Look for it on our website!   


NEH Bestows 2nd Grant to Museum  

The National Endowment for Humanities (NEH) has awarded the American Writers Museum Foundation (AWMF) a second grant. The grant will help speed planning and exhibit design for the museum's design phase. A previous NEH grant helped fund the Museum's Concept Plan and the museum is now in the process of transforming that Concept Plan into a blueprint for the physical space and exhibit design. 


The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is an independent grant-making agency of the United States government dedicated to supporting research, education, preservation, and public programs in the humanities. 

Hammock and Staley Named to Board of Directors
The American Writers Museum is pleased to announce the addition of Mr. Hill Hammock and Dr. Tom Staley to its Board of Directors.

Hill Hammock is the Chairman for the Chicago Deferred Exchange Company. Previously, Hammock served as the Vice Chairman and Chief Operating Officer of LaSalle Bank. He then became the Chief Administrative Officer for the Chicago Public Schools, the third largest school district in the United States. At this time, Hammock worked for Arne Duncan who now serves as the Secretary of Education. Hill has had a long and active involvement in the civic organizations of Chicago having served on a number of not-for-profit Boards. For a bio of Mr. Hill Hammock, click here.

Tom Staley, PhD, is the director of the Harry Ransom Center at The University of Texas Austin. The center houses one of the greatest collections of American and English literature in the United States. Staley has authored and edited 15 books on James Joyce, Italo Svevo and British women novelists. He is the founding editor of the James Joyce Quaterly. Staley currently edits a series on literary modernism at The University of Texas Press. For a bio on Dr. Staley, click here.
Paul O'Day Joins Executive Planning Team

Mr. Paul O'Day, President and Counsel of The American Fiber Manufacturers Association, has joined the AWMF Executive Planning Team. O' Day previously served in the U.S. Department of Commerce and as an Office of the United States Trade Representative. O'Day holds degrees in chemistry (American International College), public administration (American University) and law (Georgetown University). He is currently on the board of the Robert Benchley Society and serves as a trade policy advisor to the U.S. government. For a bio of Paul O'Day, click here.




 Become a Chapter One Patron Today 


Become a Chapter One Patron of the American Writers Museum by donating $100 or more to the American Writers Museum Foundation. Patrons will be listed on the

American Writers Museum websiteYour financial support helps us to continue with our mission and is fully tax-deductible. Please make a secure donation here.



AWM's Student Brainstorming Session

The American Writers Museum invited students from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. to an informal brainstorm to share ideas and discuss museum plans. Topics ranged from what writers should be featured, to how exhibits should be structured, to what social areas would make the museum inviting to them. Among the takeaways that surfaced were these five ideas for exhibits:
  • The personal lives of authors and their relationships with each other
  • Books on film and how literary works translate to the big screen
  • The writing process, including everything from sources of inspiration, the revision process, and the challenges of rejection before success 
  • Censored books and how changing public mores have affected writers past and present
  • Interconnections and influences on literatures, exploring how literary works and history intertwine themes throughout history 

 To weigh in on your suggestions for the museum, take our online survey here.

Spotlight On: Beat Writers

Did you know that there is a museum in San Francisco devoted to exploring the lives of The Beats? The museum celebrates authors who rebelled against the social norms of the 1950s such as Neal Cassady, Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsburg. It houses original manuscripts and first edition letters from many of the authors. The website states that "The Beat Museum is dedicated to spreading the spirit of The Beat Generation, which we define as tolerance, compassion and having the courage to live your individual truth." Explore the website here.




AWM Contest: Who Said It?


What famous American poet once said, "Writing free verse is like playing tennis with the net down." 

Send your answers via email (with "AWM Contest" in the subject line and your answers in the email message) to general@americanwritersmuseum.orgRemember to include your name and contact information. We'll have a drawing of all those who submit the correct answers and the winner of the drawing will receive $25.


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