New Vonnegut Museum Debuts at VonnegutFest

Courtesy of the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library

A replica of Kurt Vonnegut's writing space at the new Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library in Indianapolis.

Every November, Indianapolis hosts VonnegutFest in honor of its native son, the brilliant author Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007). But this year’s event will be quite special, as it coincides with the grand opening of the new Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library (KVML). Called “a pilgrimage destination for thousands of fans from around the world,” the KVML, which has been in operation for eight years, will officially debut its new space with a ribbon cutting on November 9, attended by the author's daughter, Edith Vonnegut.

The KVML houses rare books and memorabilia, including first editions of every Vonnegut novel from the Kevin Scherr Collection, some of Vonnegut’s famous drawings and doodles, family photographs, his typewriter, and even his Purple Heart, earned in the U.S. Army during World War II. The museum also offers fans the opportunity to “sit hunched over the same model typewriter Kurt Vonnegut pecked away at,” and to “ponder rejection letters Vonnegut received from editors.”

And in this, the 50th-anniversary year of Vonnegut’s cult classic, Slaughterhouse-Five, the KVML is raising funds to open a permanent exhibition in its new home called Unstuck in Time: Slaughterhouse-Five Then and Now. According to the Kickstarter page, “The Unstuck in Time exhibition will include a walk-through tunnel of the firebombing of Dresden, art by Kurt Vonnegut and other veterans, and biographical information about Kurt Vonnegut’s experience as a Prisoner of War during WWII. Every part of Unstuck in Time: Slaughterhouse-Five Then and Now will emphasize that literature, including Slaughterhouse-Five, is an important societal tool for understanding complex human experiences … This project will also help KVML offer programming for veterans, students, and the general public about the power of the arts and humanities to help us heal as individuals and as a society.”