Published by the American Writers Museum         Volume 7, Number 1   January 28, 2016

Our greatest writers contribute to the intellectual vitality of our country, and the American Writers Museum is an ambitious way in which to honor and recognize their contribution to scholarly inquiry and cultural expression. I welcome the potential to create such a museum both as a resource for research and engagement, as well as a symbol of literature's lasting importance.
-Robert J. Zimmer, President, The University of Chicago

The museum content is being finalized. Now is the time to make your voice heard. Click here, or follow the link below, to take the AWM Survey. 

  Fundraising Update and the Year Ahead

The American Writers Museum had its best year yet - raising just under $2.5 million during 2015.  Among new major donors at year end are John and Cathie Estey, who are funding A Writers Room exhibit; Jim and Carol Hansen, who are funding the Word Waterfall exhibit, and the Negaunee Foundation, which is funding the Children's Gallery.

Of special note are the two challenge grants which were achieved: Roger and Julie Baskes challenged other members of the Board and Founders Council to contribute an additional $100,000.  AWM Board Co-Chairman Jerre Stead and his wife, Mary Joy, challenged us to raise $2 for every $1 they would donate up to $1 million in contributions and their $500,000 match.  Thanks to all of you who helped us achieve these goals!

For a list of all donors of $100 or more, click here.

The task ahead is to raise an additional $5 million during 2016 so we can fully fund the exhibits and build out of our space.  For a list of naming opportunities, click here. Gifts at all levels are appreciated and will help ensure our opening in early 2017.

Subject Matter Experts' Work Continues; Exhibit Design Now Focused on Presentation

The disciplines required for the creation of exemplary visitor experiences are many--content research and development, 3D design, graphic design, interactive design, filmmaking and game design. Once the framework for a museum is set, these discipline move into high gear.

This is the state of the project today.

The Amaze Design team has expanded its staff and is now engaging the services of additional content specialists to convert the story research completed to date into a charismatic narrative that will engage visitors who bring varied levels of knowledge and interest to bear.
Naming Opportunities

Exhibits and programming at the American Writers Museum offers wonderful opportunities for donors to show their support and create a lasting legacy for themselves, their families, and their businesses. Opportunities from $1 million to $75,000 are available.  For a list of all naming opportunities, click here.
Founders Council Profile: Bob Franden
Bob Franden, an attorney in Tulsa, Oklahoma, became involved with The American Writers Museum in August of 2014, when fellow board member Thomas F. Staley and AWM President Malcolm O'Hagan told him about the museum. Bob has always been interested in the book world, having spent many years on the board of the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas in Austin. When he learned that the American Writers Museum was going to be in Chicago, he thought, "Chicago is the perfect place for the museum. The city has a great tradition in American literature. It will benefit by being located near Chicago's great museums and other cultural attractions. I feared we could be struggling for attention if we located it in another great American city such as New York or Washington, D.C."

Bob is looking forward to the Writers Room, an interactive room where visitors will be able to see how iconic American Writers wrote. He said, "This will really pull young people into the lives of these writers. The interactive nature of these exhibits will really entice the younger visitors and get them involved in the literary world. It is something I've been trying to do since I taught at Tulsa University and realized how little young people were reading."

"The greatest gift my mother gave me was the love of reading.  When you pick up a book, you can really 'go' anywhere."
Tom Borders Joins AWM's Board of Directors

Please join us in welcoming Tom Borders to the AWM's Board of Directors! Tom  is the co-founder and former CEO of Borders Books Shop, Inc. and Book I nventory Systems.  He is currently President of Midtown Group, Inc. and the manager of Sixth Street Films. Borders was a Founding Director of the Bank of Ann Arbor in 1996 and continues to be on the Board of the Bank. Borders is on the Board of Directors of the Tapestry Foundation. He is former Chair of the Harry Ransom Center Advisory Council, and has been a member of the Council since 2000. He and his wife, Carmel, live in Austin, Texas.

Media Coverage Continues to be Strong

Since the AWM announced its location, 180 N. Michigan Ave. in Chicago, there have been more than 666,000,000 opportunities to see, read or hear about the museum in local and national media.  Coverage has been provided by the Chicago Tribune, Crain's Chicago Business,  Inside Philanthropy, MSN online,  Publishers Weekly, The New York Times, and more.  Radio and TV coverage has been provided by ABC 7, Fox 32, NBC 5, WBBM-AM, and more.

AWM Affiliate Spotlight: The Willa Cather Foundation and Will Rogers Memorial Museum

William Faulkner's Rowan Oak

"Don't be 'a writer.' Be writing."
 - William Faulkner

Rowan Oak , formerly known as "The Bailey Place," was the home of William Faulkner for over thirty years. After Faulkner's death, his daughter, Jill, sold the home to the University of Mississippi so that people could learn more about his life and work. It is now a National Historic Landmark and part of the University of Mississippi Museum. Visitors to what Faulkner called his "postage stamp world"-the area in Mississippi from which he drew inspiration-can walk the grounds and tour the large Greek Revival home of the author of The Sound and the Fury and As I Lay Dying. Several of Faulkner's possessions remain in the house. Learn more about Falkner and his life at Rowan Oak and take a virtual tour of the home here . Be sure to visit Rowan Oak's   Facebook page for more information.
Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site
"Poetry is the opening and closing of a door, leaving those who look through to guess about what was seen during a moment."
 - Carl Sandburg
The Carl Sandburg Home in Flat Rock, North Carolina, was home to the Pulitzer Prize-winning p oet for over twenty years. After his death in 1967, his wife, Lilian, supported authorizing the home as a US National Park. It was authorized in 1968-the first park honoring a poet-and opened to the public in 1974. Visitors can tour 264 acres of beautiful land, the Sandburg home, the Museum Preservation center, and other structures. The Site also holds an annual student poetry contest , and submissions are open now through March 11. In honor of the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, this year's theme is "Legacy." For news and updates from the Site, visit their Facebook page .

To learn more about these American writers, please visit the websites for 
William Faulkner's Rowan Oak  and Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site . Be sure to find the Affiliate nearest you and check out their upcoming events!

AWM Welcomes a New Affiliate

We would like to welcome our newest AWM Affiliate - Eudora Welty House and Garden in Jackson, Mississippi.

Thanks to all our donors, patrons, affiliates, and friends for your ongoing support!


The mission of the American Writers Museum is to engage the public in celebrating American writers and exploring their influence on our history, our identity, our culture, and our daily lives.
American Writers Museum
Executive Offices
205 W. Wacker Drive, Suite 620
Chicago, IL 60606
(312) 346 - 9018
American Writers Museum
Opening in 2017
180 N. Michigan Avenue
2nd Floor
Chicago, IL 60601
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