Chicago—the city that has produced legendary authors such as Gwendolyn Brooks, Saul Bellow and Sandra Cisneros—is also home to the American Writers Museum. The first museum of its kind in the United States, this attraction honors the nation’s literary legends with interactive exhibits and community programs. The museum also recently received a $190,000 Museums for America grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to expand its virtual field trip programming.

The museum offers a suite of virtual experiences for K-12 students, including online exhibits, field trips and author talks.

Currently, the museum offers downloadable learning resources to accompany guided virtual visits to the exhibits “My America: Immigrant and Refugee Writers Today” and “Frederick Douglass: Agitator.” “My America” explores the influence of modern immigrant and refugee writing in America on our culture, while “Frederick Douglass” celebrates the work of the famous orator and abolitionist.

To request a virtual field trip, educators can visit the “Education” section of the American Writers Museum website to complete a registration form. The museum will then confirm a date and time to virtually meet with the class on either Google Meet or Zoom.

The museum also offers the Mind of a Writer program, which features staff-led interactive gameplay and pop quizzes about major literary works of the past and present, tailored to students’ grade-level. High school students can test their knowledge of American singers and songwriters and learn about literary allusions in their favorite music. Elementary school students can decipher Venn diagrams to learn about compound words and translate emojis into the titles of classic books.

Coming soon is the Writer Wednesdays program, which will offer students a weekly standing opportunity to connect with a writer once a week for a 20-minute pre-recorded lesson and 30- to 40-minute live Q&A with a published author about the craft of writing.


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