Recently, I visited The American Writers Museum in Chicago and brought my son along for the ride.
One of the first exhibits we saw was the Children’s Literature Gallery. There is a beautiful mural painted on one of the walls along with ample seating and a bookshelf filled with children’s books. There is also an area where you can listen to Langston Hughes’ poems.
There is also an area dedicated to L.M. Alcott’s, Little Women.
Across from the Children’s Gallery is a room filled with plants! This temporary exhibit is called Palm: All Awake in the Darkness. It is dedicated to the life and work of poet W.S. Merwin. At the end of the exhibit, there is a pile of blank, white paper and pencils with a sign urging each patron to write a note. These notes are to be sent to Merwin to be planted underneath newly planted palm trees in his Hawaiian garden. This made my son and I feel connected to both nature and Merwin’s work. We wondered if a palm tree would be grown from our words. We loved this exhibit.
Afterward, we entered a room with a long hallway. There were interactive, glowing, rectangle tiles aligned on a wall. This exhibit was called the Surprise Bookshelf. My son was immediately drawn to the wall and began turning the tiles. Some were filled with more information, while others smelled like food. It was very interesting.
On the opposite side, there were portraits of writers. When you turned the tile, one could read more information about each writer including an excerpt from their work. One could spend hours here.
Here is something that has crossed my mind more than once:
Most artists find process fascinating mainly because we all do it differently and writers are no different. This area of the museum is dedicated to the mind of a writer. It is genius.
It’s been a long time since I used a typewriter, but when I sat down, I remembered how to set the paper and the margins. My son was fascinated by these ancient typing machines. He even requested one! It’s true what they say, everything old becomes new again.
I love this quote:
I found The American Writers Museum both interesting and well-put-together, which is why I recently purchased a membership. I urge you to all check it out if you live in Chicago or are in the Chicago area. It is fantastic!