June 2013 | Jeremy Howell

Turning Another Page at The American Writers Museum Foundation

In February Fine Books & Collections covered The National Endowment for the Humanities' grant to The American Writers Museum Foundation. The Foundation received the grant to help begin what will become the first museum dedicated to America's great writers. The Foundation continues to move forward with the project, canvas.pngreleasing this week its conceptual plans for the museum's first home, aptly named "First Edition." 


The plans for the Chicago-based museum are grand. The museum features several galleries with themes such as "writers of science fiction" and "writers who overcame social adversity." A large part of the visitor's experience will include touch-screen technology as well as other computer-based learning systems. In the main hall, for instance, visitors will be able to explore both real and fictional places from American literature by interacting with a large touch-screen literary map of the United States.


The Foundation's president, Malcolm O'Hagan, recently told Fine Books & Collections, "Computers will allow visitors to engage with the writers and their works. We will, of course, have great artifacts, but we do not want just static displays. We want visitors to experience the power of words and become involved with the lives of our great writers."


As for the artifacts that Mr. O'Hagan spoke of, the museum plans on borrowing pieces from the countless museum, university, and personal collections across the country dedicated to individual authors. The Foundation has expressed its desire to "not compete with other institutions, but rather, make visitors aware of the myriad literary resources available nationwide by showcasing and linking to them."


The path to opening day at the American Writers Museum will not be without its challenges. O'Hagan said, "Our biggest challenge is fundraising. We need to raise $10 million for the first phase of the museum. Later this summer we will launch a capital campaign. However we seek broad participation from readers in funding the museum that will honor the writers who bring so much joy and knowledge to their lives."


Those who donate $100 or more qualify to be one of the Museum's "Chapter One Patrons." Those interested in contributing to this project are encouraged to donate to the American Writers Museum Foundation at www.americanwritersmuseum.org.

Image Courtesy of The American Writers Museum Foundation