Arts, Culture, and Humanities

AMERICAN WRITERS MUSEUM

Find Your Words

aka The American Writers Museum   |   Chicago, IL   |  www.americanwritersmuseum.org

Mission

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.

The American Writers Museum strives to:

Educate the public about American writers – past and present;
Engage visitors in exploring the many exciting worlds created by the spoken and written word;
Enrich and deepen appreciation for good writing in all its forms;
Motivate visitors to discover, or rediscover, a love of reading and writing; and
Inspire the young writers of tomorrow

Through innovative and dynamic state-of-the-art exhibitions, as well as compelling programming, the American Writers Museum educates, enriches, provokes, and inspires the public.

Ruling year info

2010

President

Mr. Carey Cranston

Main address

180 North Michigan Avenue Suite 300

Chicago, IL 60601 USA

Show more addresses

EIN

27-1822749

Cause area (NTEE code) info

Museum & Museum Activities (A50)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2018, 2018 and 2017.
Register now

Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

America was founded on the written word, but no place in this country was celebrating and promoting the significance of writers and their work on our history and culture in the same way we celebrate sports figures or movie stars. Our founders saw this problem as an opportunity to create an immersive and interactive space that would celebrate great writers of the past, promote the amazing writers of today, and through those efforts, inspire the writers of tomorrow.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Write In Youth Education Program

The Write In Youth Education Program uses the museum’s fun, interactive exhibits, coupled with specially designed curriculum, to teach and inspire middle and high school students before, during and after their museum visit. Through Write In, students experience the spectrum of American writing and the enduring relevance of great writing in all genres. In the 2019-2020 school year, Write In will serve about 8,000 students.

Population(s) Served
K-12 (5-19 years)
Budget
$350,000

Where we work

Charting impact

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

This museum has been designed as a celebratory and interactive space, with exhibits and programs that are meant to engage and excite our visitors. Rather than focus on the artifacts of the writers, our focus is on their words and their stories, looking at writing across all mediums and genres and presenting it in exciting ways that are visual, auditory, and tactile. The American Writers Museum is unique in its conception, design, and execution. From the beginning, there was a recognition that a writers museum could not have a singular voice, so a team of experts worked together as content leaders and subject matter experts, with over 40 scholars, writers, poets, editors and others coming together to focus on the content. Beside these people were some of the best exhibit designers in the country, focused on creating a unique interactive space that allows people to explore and engage. The museum was designed to be interactive, with beautiful videos that explore the breadth and diversity of American writers and innovative touch screen exhibits full of content to areas for people to write and create, everything in this museum from its touchscreens to its typewriters allows visitors to engage, celebrate and learn. And clearly, based on visitor reaction seen on sites like TripAdvisor, where after two years the museum sits at #2 out of 128 Museums in Chicago based on visitor reviews, the solution that has been executed here is powerful. While building a museum that visitors love is one thing, the American Writers Museum has an even deeper long term purpose, which is inspiring the writers of our future. Since we have opened we have built a vibrant youth education program called Write In that has engaged over 10,000 students in and around Chicago, mostly from low income neighborhoods, exposing them to great writing and its power, and we have a plan to increase that impact in the years ahead.

The American Writers Museum provides visitors a first-of-its-kind opportunity to experience the works and the stories of writers, poets, songwriters, novelists, and journalists who have contributed to America's culture come to life in fully-immersive multimedia exhibits. The experience is bolstered by robust educational programming and a speaker series that brings writers from all over the country to Chicago. The American Writers Museum is neither a collection of books nor a definitive list of the greatest, most influential writers. Rather, our intent is to celebrate some of the country's prolific literary minds and invite guests to trace literature's impact on our identity, our culture, and daily lives. The fact that there was no museum focused on this in the country and none other like it to date, makes the American Writers Museum unique, and our impact in the community and the country shows that it is filled a needed space. The AWM's strategic plan outlines goals for growth in several areas, with a particular focus on the Write In youth education program. We are in the first year of an ambitious five-year plan to expand this program with new curriculum, special events with authors just for students, and an expanded online presence that will allow students nationwide to take advantage of this program.

The AWM is located in downtown Chicago on Michigan Avenue, in the heart of the city's cultural corridor, and attracts many locals, visitors and schools groups. Our visitors include people of all ages, races, backgrounds, and income levels. The museum's strengths include: outstanding exhibits, an engaged and influential Board of Trustees, staff who are experienced and passionate about the AWM's mission, a strong reputation and brand, and a stable financial position. The AWM has received grants and corporate support from major companies like Wintrust, Allstate, and Exelon, and support from major Chicago foundations such as the Elizabeth Morse Charitable Trust, the Robert R. McCormick Foundation and the Chicago Community Trust. In 2019, the AWM received a highly competitive National Endowment for the Humanities grant to support the planning for a new exhibit on Immigrant and Refugee Writers. We have partnered and worked with institutions across the city and country, from the Library of Congress, to the Newberry Library, the Chicago Public Library, the Adler Planetarium and a host of others.

The AWM works with a third party evaluator to assess the visitor experience in the museum as well as the online user experience.

Since opening to the public in 2017, the AWM has welcomed nearly 100,000 visitors from all 50 states and nearly 40 foreign countries. Online reviews are overwhelmingly positive and result in many new visitors. The founders raised $10 million in the museum's first campaign to fund the design and building of the museum. In our first three years, we have increased annual giving each year, primarily due to the support for our youth education program that has served over 10,000 students to date and brought over 150 authors to Chicago for public events from a Supreme Court Justice to literary giants. We have been ranked on TripAdvisor as the #2 Museum in Chicago out of 120+ institutions, falling just below the Art Institute of Chicago. In 2017 we were ranked the #1 Best Attraction in Illinois in a USA Today Readers Best poll, and Fodor's listed the AWM first in its listing of the World's 10 Best New Museums. Our current work is focused on the five-year expansion plan for the Write In youth education program, adding online content, and presenting new exhibits that are innovative, timely and unique, with related author programs that bring our visitors face to face with today's award-winning and bestselling writers.

Financials

AMERICAN WRITERS MUSEUM
lock

Unlock financial insights by subscribing to our monthly plan.

Subscribe

Unlock nonprofit financial insights that will help you make more informed decisions. Try our monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights?
Learn more about GuideStar Pro.

Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

AMERICAN WRITERS MUSEUM

Board of directors
as of 12/12/2019
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. John Estey

M. Hill Hammock

LaSalle Bank (ret)

Roberta Rubin

The Bookstall at Chestnut Court (ret)

Roger Baskes

Civic Leader

Gail Bent

Allstate Insurance Company

Jane Irwin

Potash Corp. (ret)

Werner Hein

Mayer Brown, LLP

Jerre Stead

IHS Markit

Malcolm O'Hagan

National Electric Manufacturing Assn. (ret)

Jay Hammer

Theralogix

Marie Arana

Simon & Schuster/Harcourt Brace (ret)

Olivia Bedi

Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP

Allen Bulley III

Bulley & Andrews

Marion Cameron

Sipi Metals Corporation

Ellen Clark

Wilmette Library (ret)

Joan Clifford

Clifford Law Offices

S. Leigh Conant

Civic Leader

Carolyn Curiel

Purdue University (ret)

Edith Falk

Campbell & Company (ret)

Robert Franden

Attorney

Julie Justie

Allstate Insurance Company (ret)

Ivan Kane

Mayer Brown LLP (ret)

Joanne Leedom-Ackerman

Author, Journalist

Coco Meers

Entrepreneur

Catherine Mouly

University of Chicago/Columbia College (ret)

Grove Mower

Hummer Mower Associates

Richard Murphy

Wintrust

Judy Pomeranz

Author, Art Critic

Dominique Raccah

Sourcebooks

Amanda Rutledge

Civic Leader

Sarah Schrup

Northwestern Pritzker School of Law

Michael Scodro

Mayer Brown, LLP

Larry Shulman

Arcline Investment Management

Shaun Zhang

Goldman, Ismail, Tomaselli, Brennan & Baum

Keywords

museum