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Chicago’s American Writers Museum to open this spring

The long-discussed, high-tech project will be anything but a boring library

The American Writers Museum

Billed as the first and only museum of its kind in the country, Chicago’s long-planned American Writers Museum has announced that it will officially open its doors on May 16. Located just steps from Millennium Park and occupying the second floor of 180 N. Michigan Avenue, the new cultural institution will invite visitors to celebrate writers “from Mark Twain to Dr. Seuss” and explore their influences on our collective national history, identity, and culture.

The layout of the 12,000-square-foot museum comes from Boston-based firm Amaze Design, a group the previously collaborated on Washington DC’s striking Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

“For the American Writers Museum, we know we must dispel the notion that we are a library, reading room, or bookstore,” said Amaze Design founder Andrew Anway in an interview with Architectural Digest last year. “As such, it’s very important to incorporate a contemporary design that’s both modern and welcoming.”

The American Writers Museum

Technology and interactivity will be at the heart of the American Writers Museum experience. For example, guests can take a virtual tour of writers’ homes plus fictional sites from works such as Cannery Row and The House of the Seven Gables inside the museum’s “A Nation of Writers” exhibition hall. Visitors can also connect with great literary figures from their home region by plugging a zip code into the touch screen walls of the “Writers Hall.”

The themed galleries, interactive exhibits, educational programs, and special events will regularly change to “continually surprise and engage” visitors of all ages, said the future museum’s curators in a statement released earlier this week. The high-tech museum is expected to draw up to 120,000 visitors annually.