On the suggestion of Judy Alter, a native Chicagoan and fellow writer at Story Circle Network, I made the trek over to the American Writers Museum today. I was lucky enough to be accompanied by Ray’s and my host for the week, our friend, Mother Shireen Baker, who is an Episcopal priest in Elmhurst, a suburb of Chicago. According to the brochure, this museum is the first of its kind, celebrating American writers, past and present.
The museum has only been open to the public since May 16, 2017, and boasts many interactive displays centered around American authors. A large video screen shows photos of famous authors accompanied by a photo and a quote, while two full-length walls have displays of a wide range of American authors with photos, histories, quotes and inspirational advice. One room celebrates American libraries while another room centers around the original manuscript scroll of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road. A bank of old typewriters with paper already inserted lures many a person to sit down and type out a message.
I felt almost overwhelmed with the amount of information presented and could easily see how I could devote four hours to this museum, at the very least. Alas, we did not have quite that much so I concluded I’ll need to return for a longer visit in the future.
One highlight of the museum trip, besides having Shireen with me and being in a space that celebrated American authors, was an impromptu rendezvous with our St. Thomas the Apostle seminarian, Brit Bjurstrom Frazier, who happened to be in Chicago for a meeting of the Society of Catholic Priests. She attends Virginia Theological Seminar but had flown into town for this meeting, which, coincidentally, was being held within a 15-minute walk of the Writers Museum. Happy days! I had the pleasure to sit with these two women – one already an Episcopal priest and the other studying to become one – and enjoy hearing all about their mutual acquaintances and similar experiences at VFS. This made me especially happy since I was the chairperson for each of these young women’s discernment committees and have a special spot in my heart for them as a result.
After our visit, we met Ray, who had skipped the Writers Museum in favor of heading straight to the Art Institue. He had a chance to catch up with Brit over lunch before we went our separate ways later in the afternoon. Brit went back to her meeting and Ray, Shireen and I headed over to the Art Institute.
Here are a few photos of the American Writers Museum just to give you some idea of what was there. It is well worth a trip if you are in Chicago. It is located at 180 North Michigan Avenue and the website is americanwriters museum.org. Go there for more information celebrating American writers.
What a lovely day indeed.