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The first museum for US writers will open in 2017

A rendering of the museum’s “American Identity” section. (Courtesy the American Writers Museum)
By Thu-Huong Ha
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

A new museum to celebrate the American literary tradition is slated to open in the Loop, Chicago’s central business district, in early 2017. The American Writers Museum is the first of its kind in the country, and will feature writers and works ranging from Native American oral narratives to children’s book Harold and the Purple Crayon.

Nike Whitcomb, the museum’s executive director, tells Quartz that the interactive museum will be mostly digital, and does not aim to collect physical artifacts from writers’ lives. But the museum also hopes to provide information beyond what’s already available online, she says, and “to bring people to life in a way that you wouldn’t necessarily get on your smart phone or tablet.”

The US has a rich history of celebrating individual authors, with dozens of writers’ homes turned into tourist attractions, but this will be the first to honor American writers generally, under one roof. The museum hopes to draw 120,000 visitors each year.

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