“To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme.”
“I write for myself, and for strangers.”
“I, too, am America.”
The American Writers Museum: what an awesomely creative idea! Newly opened in Chicago, its goal is to “engage the public in celebrating American writers and exploring their influence on our history, our identity, our culture, and our daily lives.” Years in the making, it is inspired by a Dublin museum devoted to writers and is designed to capture some of the drama and dedication of the lives and labors of 500 years of writers.
When I envision a museum celebrating writers, I think of books. But from the glimpse of it I’ve seen, this museum is firmly rooted in the digital era, which probably makes sense. Through interactive exhibits created to engage visitors with the act of writing, the museum hopes to:
Educate the public about American writers – past and present
Explore the many exciting worlds created by the written word
Enrich and deepen appreciation for good writing in all its forms
Motivate visitors to discover, or rediscover, a love of reading and writing
Inspire the budding writers of tomorrow
There are displays of well-known writers that share their words and work, exhibits that plumb the creative process of shaping a work of literature, vintage typewriters (love this!) that visitors can peck on, and even a word waterfall (love this, too!) — an ever-changing wall of literary quotes. As writers, we can all applaud its enterprising mission as it “educates, enriches, provokes, and inspires the public” to appreciate the written and spoken word — and the writers who bring words to life. And let’s hope, as Juan Felipe Herrera, Poet Laureate of the United States said, that it will “inspire new generations of literary giants — from every neighborhood.”
Think there’s a trip to Chicago in my future — write on!