Shelf Awareness of 26 April, 2016 brings this news: “The American Writers Museum, the first in the United States to focus exclusively on American writers, ‘past and present,’ will open in March 2017 in downtown Chicago, Ill. Located at 180 North Michigan Avenue, the museum expects to draw up to 120,000 visitors each year and is working with more than 50 authors’ homes and museums around the country to build its exhibitions. Among the planned attractions are re-creations of writers’ homes and fictional locales (including Tara, Cannery Row and the House of Seven Gables), interactive exhibits about writers’ lives and methodologies (including ‘travels’ with Jack Kerouac and John Steinbeck, for example), and ample space for film screenings, talks, readings and presentations. The museum aims to hold exhibitions on a range of subjects.”

Their website is here. They list affiliation with museums memorializing the following writers: Louisa May Alcott. The Beats, William Cullen Bryant, Pearl S. Buck, Truman Capote and Harper Lee, Willa Cather, Emily Dickinson, Frederick Douglass, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne, William Faulkner, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Robert Frost, Alex Haley, Joel Chandler Harris, Ernest Hemingway, Washington Irving, Helen Hunt Jackson, Sarah Orne Jewett, Francis Parkinson Keyes, Jack London. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Herman Melville, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Margaret Mitchell, John Muir, Flannery O’Connor, Eugene O’Neill, O. Henry (William Sidney Porter), Edgar Allan Poe, James Whitcomb Riley, Will Rogers, Carl Sandburg, John Steinbeck, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Gene Stratton-Porter, James Thurber, Mark Twain, Kurt Vonnegut, Noah Webster, Eudora Welty, Edith Wharton, Walt Whitman, John Greenleaf Whittier, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and Thomas Wolfe. Who knew there were so many? We should have old turning up at all of these: obviously much wiser to wait till 2017 and visit Chicago!

Those among us seeking a shortcut to literary immortality can purchase naming rights to various bits of the museum and its exhibitions. The Cookie Jar Readers Hall is unfortunately already gone, but you can still get in on a couple of galleries.

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