If you’re looking for things to see in Chicago, the American Writers Museum houses permanent, temporary, and online exhibits.
American writing is distinctive, diverse, and comes in many forms from across the nations. As the only museum devoted to American writers and their works, AWM connects visitors with their favorite authors and writings from more than five centuries, while inspiring the discovery of new works of every type – poetry, lyrics, speeches, drama, fiction, nonfiction, journalism, and more.
Our exhibits, both in-person and online, are all meant to engage visitors in a celebration of the significance and power of writing. We have three types of exhibit areas for you to explore:
We hope you enjoy what you find here, and check back or join our mailing to list to learn when new exhibits are added online and in-person.
Explore Bradbury’s writing and other more surprising influences on our history and daily lives.
Explore the influence of modern immigrant and refugee writing in America on our culture, history, and daily lives.
Explore the later life of writer and orator Frederick Douglass in this original exhibit.
Explore the evolution and flourishing of American writing. This rich literary heritage reflects America in all of its complexity: its energy, hope, conflict, disillusionment, and creativity.
Learn more about the history of writing practice in the exhibit Tools of the Trade, which examines the tools that have made writing possible through the years.
Explore the influence of modern immigrant and refugee writing in America.
On view in the Meijer Gallery November 2019-Early 2022
This beautiful, interactive reading space features a mural by Paul O. Zelinsky and a cozy reading area filled with books for families with young children.
The Nation of Writers gallery celebrates writing in the United States with an interactive timeline, a surprise bookshelf which engages all 5 senses, an amazing Word Waterfall, and more!
This gallery offers insights into how writers think: the daily discipline and habits necessary to get the work done, the deep understanding of language to make the writing sing.
Chicago poets, novelists, journalists, and other writers have found inspiration in everyday people, telling their stories and transforming the way they talk into art. We honor our home city in this gallery.
In addition to being the museum’s primary event space, Readers Hall also offers interpretive exhibits celebrating the critical role of the reader in American literature, both now and in the past.
Our downtown museum is a fun, interactive, and educational space that shows students the power of writing. By immersing your class in our exhibits, and letting them explore the history of American writers, they can gain a new appreciation for the art, history, and passion behind why people write. Inspire the potential writers in your class.
American writers have changed the country. A trip to the museum can change your student’s life.