Chicago’s American Writers Museum is a Haven for Writers and Readers

Upon walking into the American Writers Museum – whose tagline is “Find Your Words” – I was, ironically, at a loss for them. Partially due to the fact that, as a writer, I was ashamed not to know about this gem sooner.

While wandering down Michigan Avenue one afternoon, I saw a sign for a Bob Dylan exhibit in the aforementioned museum, just upstairs from where I was standing. Naturally, the content of the museum and the exhibit piqued my interest. So, I found myself heading upstairs to purchase a ticket.

The space had an intimate, library-esque feel that was both inviting and excitingly overwhelming. My first stop was in the children’s room, where beloved children’s books from over the decades were on display for all to enjoy. Somehow this room captured what I would imagine it would feel like to walk into Where The Wild Things Are.

After that, I wandered down an aisle of the museum that highlighted some of the best written words in American history. This ranged from screenplays to presidential speeches. This portion was interactive and included recordings from the respective speakers.

In the middle of the museum sat the Bob Dylan exhibit (which is on display through Fall 2019). Records and magazines adorned the walls, as a glass case sat in the center holding one of Dylan’s guitars. Lyrics from his songs and stories of his work were abound, telling the lyrical history of the singer.

The last parts of the museum I visited were my favorite – first was the First Lines section, which featured the first lines of stories written by famous authors (such as Stephen King), though the stories don’t actually exist. The second was a collection of typewriters, which invited people to collaborate together to write a story (one person comes in, writes a line and leaves. Another person comes in and adds to the story).

The whole museum was filled with wordy inspiration, and highlighted writers of all kinds (including some of Chicago’s own). Without giving too much of the experience away, just trust me when I say that if you’re a lover of the written word, this spot is a must-see.

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