Chicago hosts an array of world-class museums, and now the first museum in the country dedicated to American writers has been added to the city's line-up. The American Writers Museum showcases the world of words from every angle and perspective. With 13 interactive exhibits and a changing gallery of installations and immersive programming, the AWM aims to show the world just how exciting writing and writers can be.

American Writers Museum Chicago

Located on the second floor of a landmark Michigan Avenue building, the American Writers Museum captures several centuries of different types of literature in a surprisingly compact space.

Just as the process of writing does, the museum serves up info that engages all of the senses. The "Surprise Bookshelf" features a wall of illuminated boxes that reveal details about specific works or authors. Visitors can uncover a Charles M. Schulz comic strip, listen to a verse from Stephen Foster's 1848 tune "Oh! Susanna" or read a section of Malcolm X's speech, "The Ballot or the Bullet." All are listed as examples of American writing.

Across from the bookshelf, "American Voices" presents the themes, words and influences from 100 influential American authors ranging from Eugene O'Neill to Zora Neale Hurston.

American Writers Museum Chicago

There's also a gallery dedicated to Chicago writers, a "Word Waterfall" sculpture and an enchanting children's literature gallery. The "Readers Hall" invites visitors to sit on sofas and chairs and read an array of literary offerings or suggest one to be featured in the museum.

Besides monthly workshops, talks and installations, there are also word games, old-school typewriters and laptops to write personal stories and enough inspiration to spend days holed up in this museum.

Don't miss the famous Jack Kerouac manuscript scroll on display through October 27, 2017.

American Writers Museum Chicago

American Writers Museum Chicago

American Writers Museum
180 N. Michigan Avenue, 2nd Floor
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 374-8790

  • Hours: Tuesday–Sunday, 10–5 p.m., Thursday, 10–8 p.m.
  • Tickets: $12 adults, $8 students. Free for kids 12 and under


Chicago is proud to claim over 60 museums to explore, and two great places to start are Museum Campus and Museum Campus South. For more unique museum finds, Chicago has that covered too.

Image Credits: American Writers Museum © Barry Brecheisen