Volume 5, Number 5 


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.




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 64-page museum design plan 


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"There's no great loss without some small gain."


- Laura Ingalls Wilder

" American writers have produced some of the world's great literature, essays and poetry, and it is time that their authors and their works be gathered and presented to the American people in a major cultural museum. The educational opportunities are endless, and I support the creation of the American Writers Museum with enthusiasm." 

- Henry Kissinger, U.S. Secretary of State (former) 


Join AWM at Chicago Book Expo and Chicago Literary Hall of Fame


On December 6, the American Writers Museum will be exhibiting at two prominent Chicago literary events, offering visitors a glimpse of what the First Edition of the museum will look like, and distributing calendars and bookmarks with the 2015 From Our Neighborhoods travelling exhibit schedule.


The Chicago Book Expo will be held from 11am to 5pm at Columbia College Chicago, 1104 S. Wabash. The Expo celebrates and promotes Chicago-area publishers and writers, and will feature book readings and signings, panel discussions, and numerous exhibitors.


The Chicago Literary Hall of Fame's annual induction ceremony will begin at 7pm in Ganz Hall at Roosevelt University, 430 S. Michigan Ave. The writers to be inducted this year are Margaret Anderson, David Hernandez, Edgar Lee Masters, Willard Motley, Shel Silverstein, and Margaret Walker. The winners of the 2014 Rutledge Student Writing Awards, sponsored by the American Writers Museum, will also be announced at the event.


For more information on the Chicago Book Expo please click here. The Chicago Literary Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is free and open to public, and attendees are asked to register here. Please click here for other information regarding the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame.  



AWM Partners With #GivingTuesday

This year the American Writers Museum Foundation has joined with thousands of other non-profit organizations around the world to take part in the #GivingTuesday initiative. #GivingTuesday falls on December 2 this year, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, and was conceived as a response to the commercialism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. #GivingTuesday encourages people to give back by volunteering and making donations to their favorite charities, and celebrates the spirit of generosity that is so central to the holiday season.


Please consider donating to the American Writers Museum Foundation on #GivingTuesday this year. For more information on how to donate please click here, and for more information on #GivingTuesday please click here.
nytPopular Young Adult Writers Veronica Roth and Erica O'Rourke Support AWM Event


Veronica Roth and Erica O'Rourke will be guest speakers at an event in support of the American Writers Museum on January 11, 2015.


Veronica Roth is the New York Times bestselling author of the young adult series Divergent, and was recently placed third on a Newcity list of the Top 50 Writers in Chicago. Her Divergent novels are currently being adapted into a four-film series, with the first, which was released earlier this year, topping the U.S. Box Office chart.  


Erica O'Rourke is the author of the popular young adult Torn trilogy, and her most recent novel, Dissonance, was published by Simon & Schuster in July, 2014. O'Rourke recently announced two sequels to Dissonance, titled Harmonic and Resonance, which are set to be released in Spring, 2015.


The event will be held at a private club in Chicago, and will feature readings and a book signing from both authors. This event is open to the public. For more information and to purchase tickets please call (312) 346-9018 or click here to email. More information on Veronica Roth can found on her website, and for more on Erica O'Rourke please visit her website here.   

horanExhibit Planning Underway


To determine the final content of the museum's First Edition, the American Writers Museum has assembled teams of subject matter experts. Team members have been drawn from across the nation and cover a wide range of professions, including noted literary and historic academics, journalists, museum curators, and authors. The teams have been divided into groups, each corresponding to a gallery in the museum, and will work as content advisors, ensuring that the museum is relevant, informative, and engaging. Proposed content will then be made available for public comment, and once this is obtained the next phase of the curatorial process will begin.


The team for the Chicago Writers gallery consists of Thomas Dyja, author of The Third Coast; Jacqueline Goldsby, Yale University professor; and John Russick, Director of Curatorial Affairs at the Chicago History Museum. The Children's Gallery content is being overseen by children's book historian Leonard Marcus; Benjamin Alire Saenz, University of Texas at El Paso; and Carolyn Saper, a Chicago-based education consultant. The team for Mysteries, Dark Tales, Western Adventures, a room dedicated to popular American genre fiction, includes NPR book critic and regular Washington Post contributor Maureen Corrigan; Robert Polito, President of the Poetry Foundation; and Gary K. Wolfe, Roosevelt University professor.


The Shaping America and We Will Be Heard rooms, which focus on political writing and the power of writing to transcend boundaries of discrimination, are being managed by a single team, consisting of regular Washington Post contributor Marie Arana; Sandra Gilbert, University of California, Davis professor; Jill Lepore, Harvard professor; Ilan Stavans, Amherst College professor; and Ivy Wilson, Northwestern University professor.


The content development process is being overseen by a Content Leadership Team consisting of Elizabeth Alexander, Yale University professor; Reginald Gibbons, Northwestern University professor; Max Rudin, Publisher for Library of America; and Donna Seaman, Senior Editor, Booklist, American Library Association.


The overall project leader is Amaze Design, headed by Andy Anway, the museum design firm that was responsible for the initial concept planning.


The commencement of the exhibit planning marks a significant milestone in bringing the American Writers Museum another step closer to its scheduled opening in 2016.

rutledgeawardAWM Affiliates Network Expands, with New Partners in Massachusetts, Maine, Oklahoma, and North Carolina 

William Cullen Bryant Homestead

The past few months have seen seven new author homes and literary museums join the AWM Affiliates program. In Massachusetts, the William Cullen Bryant Homestead, in Cummington, preserves the summer home of the quintessential poet of the American landscape; while in Concord, the Old Manse celebrates the great American writers of the 19th century, including Ralph Waldo Emerson and Nathaniel Hawthorne, both of whom lived in the historic home briefly. Not far from the state capital of Boston, the Longfellow House, in Cambridge, stands as a National Historic Site open to visitors. It served not only as the home of prominent 19th century poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, but was also used by General George Washington as a military headquarters from 1775-76.


Longfellow's boyhood home, the Wadsworth-Longfellow House in Portland, Maine, is also preserved as a historic site and includes a large collection of personal items and artifacts original to Longfellow and his family. Also in Maine, the Sarah Orne Jewett House Museum & Visitor Center in South Berwick includes two historic homes, next door to one another, both used by the writer for living and working.

Carl Sandburg Home


Other literary museums and author homes which have recently joined the AWM affiliates program include the Will Rogers Memorial Museum in Claremore, Oklahoma, which boasts thousands of Rogers' original manuscripts and letters, and offers daily screenings of films in which he appeared; and the Carl Sandburg Home in Flat Rock, North Carolina, a National Historic Site, which preserves the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and biographer's home of 22 years.


These recent additions bring the total number of affiliates to 43, allowing the group to continue to strengthen ties and facilitate cooperative programming within the literary community. See a complete list with photographs here.


There is no cost to become an AWM affiliate. More information on the program including the Affiliate mission statement, membership criteria, and details on how to join can be found here

madhubutiAffiliate Spotlight: Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum, Walnut Grove, and Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home and Museum


Hundreds of meadow larks were rising from the prairie, singing higher and higher in the air. Their songs came down from the great, clear sky like a rain of music.  

       -  Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House on the Prairie

The Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Walnut Grove, Minnesota, celebrates the life and works of Laura Ingalls Wilder, and stands in the spot which provides the setting for the fourth book in her famous Little House series. Exhibits incorporate personal items owned by Wilder, historical documents, and a covered wagon display. The museum is also known for organizing popular events, such as reunions of cast members from the television series based on the Little House books, and outdoor theatrical productions of Wilder's stories.


In Mansfield, Missouri, the famous Rocky Ridge Farmhouse, in which Wilder wrote the Little House series, is preserved as the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home and Museum. The museum houses an impressive array of artifacts, including Wilder's handwritten manuscripts, her father's original fiddle, and her personal writing desk. Visitors can not only explore the home, but also the vegetable garden, which honors Wilder's passion for gardening, and the Wilder Family Walking Trail.


To learn more about the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum at Walnut Grove, please click here, and to learn more about the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home and Museum, please click here.     


Laura Ingalls Wilder's autobiography, Pioneer Girl, was recently published for the first time, in an annotated edition edited by Pamela Smith Hill. Please click here for more information.

foundersTrivia Contest - Enter to Win $25 and AWM posters


Which great 19th century American short story writer is widely credited with introducing the character of St. Nicholas into the American Christmas tradition, and also popularized practices such as the singing of carols and hanging of mistletoe?


Submit your answer here for the chance to win. A winner will be drawn randomly from the correct respondents to receive the $25 prize and the runners-up will each receive an AWM poster.    

Thanks to all our donors, patrons, affiliates, and friends for your ongoing support!
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