Published by the American Writers Museum         Special Edition             October 28, 2015

AWM Announces Space at Press Conference

The American Writers Museum will be located at 180 N. Michigan Avenue, with opening planned for  early 2017.

At a press conference attended by three public officials, members of the Chicago Cultural Mile  association, many media outlets, AWM Board members and friends, key benchmarks for the Museum's plans were  highlighted. To read the press release, click here.  A video of the Press Conference will be posted to the website shortly.

Cook County Board President, Toni Preckwinkle, said, "As many of you know, I am a teacher by profession, so an institution that honors the written word is surely one that I want to celebrate... I understand that this museum is the only one of its kind in the nation and will serve as a cultural landmark, not only for our city, but for our country as a whole."

Michelle Boone, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events,  affirmed, "The American Writers Museum will be a wonderful addition to the city's cultural landscape, bringing many, many visitors to Chicago, and a place for all budding writers to go and be inspired."

Alderman Ed Burke, 14th Ward and Chairman of the City Council Committee on Finance, offered: "The opening of the American Writers Museum in spring of 2017 will add to the luster of our world-class museums, research libraries, galleries and live performance venues, which annually draw millions of people to Chicago; an important tourist destination in the new and evolving global economy."

American Writers Museum Vice-Chair Hill Hammock stated: "We are funding this with private funds. This is not a government enterprise. We're going to do it through the support of many of the people here, and those that we hope to enlist in months to come."

Other spokespeople for the American Writers Museum included Founder Malcolm O'Hagan, Executive  Director Nike Whitcomb, Mary Joy Stead, donor and wife of AWM Chairman Jerre Stead, and donor and  Board Member, S. Leigh Pierson Conant. Their remarks are provided in the accompanying stories.

To watch the full press conference, click here. The video of the press conference will be available via YouTube and our website shortly.

Remarks by Malcolm O'Hagan, President and Founder

The American Writers Museum is a museum whose time has come. Major cities in other parts of the world: Japan, China, Brazil, and my own native country, Ireland, have celebrated their great writers, whether they write novels, non-fiction, plays, speeches, movie scripts, poetry, - any genre of the written and spoken word.

It is time for America to follow suit.

America is a country uniquely founded on the written word. American ideals have been defined from the very beginning by written documents, from political treatises such as the Declaration of Independence, to novels and plays and poetry, to journalism and political speeches... And yet, although every major city has an art museum, and a history museum, and a science museum, there is not one museum in the country dedicated purely to celebrating our own literature as a whole.

The American Writers Museum is addressing that omission...
Executive Director Nike Whitcomb's Remarks at Press Conference

 When I was invited to become the first executive director of the  American Writers Museum, I  thought, "I am an avid reader and  Literature major, this is a great opportunity to do what I  love."

 I still have that same sense of awe today - after nearly 2 years on the  job. In that time, we've  built an outstanding board of committed  volunteers, increased brand awareness, doubled our  social media  coverage, and raised significant amounts of money.

In addition to this we have also gathered together 50 author homes and literary museums  across the country, from the Walt Whitman Birthplace in New York to the Jack Kerouac Beat  Museum in San Francisco, into a group of affiliates: a great pool of literary knowledge from  which the American Writers Museum and each individual affiliate can contribute to and draw  from. 

There is more to do - we need to raise an additional $5 Million between now and the end of  2016 to ensure our opening in early 2017. 

We are fortunate to have a challenge from our chairman Jerre Stead and his wife, Mary Joy,  that will provide $1 for every $2 we raise between now and December 31 of this year.  I hope those of you who learn about the American Writers Museum will go to our website and  join with us with a contribution.
Remarks at Press Conference by Mary Joy Stead, Lead Donor and Wife of Board Chair, Jerre Stead

Good morning, I am speaking today on behalf of my husband Jerre and myself, to tell you how happy  and excited we are that the American Writers Museum will open here in the heart of the Midwest,  Chicago, in early 2017. 

Jerre and I are partners as well as spouses. Throughout our lives, we have directed our philanthropy to  places where we know we can have an impact, and in response to causes that move us.

The American Writers Museum is just such a cause. When Jerre first told me about this exciting new  project, we agreed that we had to be part of it. The gifts we have made have given the Museum a solid  start, and our friends and business colleagues from many parts of the United States are responding as  we ask them to join with us in support of the Museum.

It is nearly impossible to imagine that the United States has never recognized the writers who, through  our nation's entire history, have inspired us, intrigued us, and taught us important lessons about life and  the world around us. We are pleased to be lead donors to the American Writers Museum and are  looking forward to the opening in just a few short months.

Board Member and Donor S. Leigh Pierson Conant's concluding remarks at Press Conferenc e

Good Morning... And what an amazing opportunity we have before us, an opportunity to celebrate great American authors and great American literature.

Through unforgettable characters and memorable plot lines, great literature has the ability to have tremendous and long lasting impact. Literature reflects and shapes our culture. It helps us create our moral center by asking questions and challenging us. When we read, we travel both into ourselves and out in the world.

We only have to take a minute to think of our favorite books to know that the enjoyment and satisfaction that they give, and the questions and s that they pose, touch all of us.

The American Writers Museum is our chance to help encourage a nation of readers and writers. This museum will celebrate American literature and give us a way to thank the writers who have created it.

As Chicagoans we are both proud and delighted that this museum will find its home in such a centrally located, museum friendly city.

The AWM has an amazing space and incredible plans that include the best technology has to offer; all to help spark heartfelt appreciation and interest in a variety of great American literature.

As a member of the founding board of the AWM, it is my great pleasure to play a key role in all of this. My husband and I have committed the resources necessary to have a "Readers Hall".  Along the way we have the fun of asking and wrestling with some interesting questions: What is your favorite book?  What makes a great author?  How do you define an American author?

Right here in Chicago, we will have a chance to ask these questions of each other, while creating a museum that honors the best our country's writers have to offer, and an experience that is second to none.

Interactive Visitor Experience Now on Website

Please visit our website to explore the new interactive Visitor Experience. The Visitor Experience explains the museum plans and what exhibits will have to offer.

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
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