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"There is a void in the American museum world. We collect in central points the artifacts of civilization and
honor politicians and soldiers, athletes and artists, inventors and entrepreneurs, but we neglect our writers.
In a country established as an idea explicated in written documents and embellished by generations of poets,
novelists, and critics, the case for commemorating the written word is self-evident. After all, what is
written describes a people and what is celebrated defines their values."
-Jim Leach, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities
On behalf of all of us at The American Writers Museum Foundation, we hope the New Year brings you wonderful books to
read and the time to enjoy them. Here is an update on the latest developments in the movement to establish The
American Writers Museum to honor the influence of American writers on history and culture.
Rare book consultant and noted collector of rare books, Robert H. Jackson has written an eloquent article in the
February issue of the Writers Chronicle on why The American Writers Museum should be established. Jackson, a senior
partner at the Cleveland law firm, Kohrman Jackson & Krantz, P.L.L, and a gifted writer, makes a compelling case
which is a delight to read.
Click to read more.
Must Read: Writers Chronicle
Features Robert Jackson article on The American Writers Museum
Where will The American Writers Museum be located? A number of cities are in contention and a final decision won't be made for a while,
but the leading contender at press time is the city of Chicago. A team from AWM has already met with business, cultural and civic leaders including Mayor Daley. The Windy City is home to the nation's largest library system and has deep literary roots (Edna Ferber, Ernest Hemingway, Saul Bellow,
Raymond Chandler, Shel Silverstein, Carl Sandburg, John Dos Passos, Sandra Cisneros, Gwendolyn Brooks, Ray Bradbury, Edgar Rice Burroughs,
the list goes on and on).
Location, Location, Location
On Friday, February 4 from 1:30-2:45 pm, a special panel at the 2011 AWP Conference will focus on AWM and "Honoring American Writers and
Their Works." Panel members will include Andy Anway, President Amaze Design, Boston, MA, Tree Swenson, President, American Academy of Poets,
Max Rudin, Publisher, Library of America, and Malcolm O'Hagan, President, The American Writers Museum Foundation. The panel will discuss plans
for AWM and invite the audience to engage in a discussion to help shape plans for the museum in terms of genres, authors, artifacts, events, etc.
Click here for more information.
During the AWP Conference, please stop by the AWM Exhibit Space at G24 in the North Hall and pick up an AWM bookmark and a special,
new mini-poster featuring quotes by famous American writers on writing.
February Panel at AWP Conference in Washington, D.C. to Focus on The American Writers Museum
The proposal, Finding Home: Immigrant Voices in American Literature, will focus on the influences that writing about the immigration
experience has had on American literature. The vision is to create a traveling exhibit for 5-6 major U.S. cities.
The New York Public Library, NY; The Newberry Library, Chicago; the Huntington Library, Los Angeles; the Iowa City Public Library, Iowa City;
and the Austin Public Library, Austin, are among those expressing interest in hosting the exhibit should the proposal be accepted.
Special thanks to AWM planning team member Beverly Sheppard, Institute for Learning Innovation based in Annapolis, and Andy Amway,
Amaze Design, Boston, on our proposal team. In addition, these literary scholars have contributed their time and talent:
Michael Anania, University of Illinois/Chicago; Francis Aparicio, Northwestern University; Reg Gibbons, Northwestern University;
Alan Kraut, American University; Ben Railton, Fitchburg State University; and Robert Stepto, Yale University.
AWM Submits Planning Grant Proposal to National Endowment for the Humanities
The list of those who share our enthusiasm for the establishment of The American Writers Museum continues to grow.
U.S. Poet Laureate W.S. Merwin writes: "The idea of an American Writers Museum seems to me long overdue. The literate world has
known and prized American writers since the generation of Emerson and Thoreau. Whitman and Emily Dickinson have influenced poets
and readers in English and in translation into many languages. The great current continues, and a museum honoring and portraying
American writing would be an honor to the suffering and vision from which our literature came.
Read latest endorsements
U.S. Poet Laureate W.S. Merwin on Writers Museum Concept: "Long Overdue"
The primary role of the AWM Advisory Council is to help develop the major themes for the museum and serve as a curatorial committee.
Newest members include:
AWM Adds Three New Advisory Council Members
Read more words of support for AWM
- Marie Arana, editor and Washington Post Writer-at-Large and author of American Chica: Two Worlds, One Childhood,
a finalist for the 2001 National Book Award as well as the PEN/Memoir Award
- Nicholas Basbanes, author of eight books on books and book culture, including A Gentle Madness: Bibliophiles,
Bibliomanes, and the Eternal Passion for Books (Henry Holt), a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist
and New York Times Notable Book of the Year
- Reginald Gibbons, poet, fiction writer, translator, critic, former editor of TriQuarterly magazine, director
of the Center for the Writing Arts at Northwestern University and author of Creatures of a Day (LSU Press, 2008),
which was a Finalist for the 2008 National Book Award in poetry
Plans are underway to issue a request for proposal
for public relations/marketing support (on a pro bono basis) for AWM. "We'll be looking at agencies that combine
talent and enthusiasm with experience in museums, fundraising and literary circles," explains Robert Udowitz,
principal of RFP Associates, LLC in Washington, D.C. a firm that specializes in helping organizations find the right PR partner.
An RFP is expected to be issued early in 2011. For more information, or if you know of an agency that should be considered, contact
Udowitz at 703.621.8060, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
AWM to Issue RFP for Public Relations Services
Please weigh in on your vision for The American Writers Museum by taking our online survey. To take the survey,
Have You Taken the Museum Survey?
Dennis Barrie, one of the nation's leading museum consultants, shared his depth of knowledge in a recent
meeting of the AWM Executive Planning Team. Barrie spent a number of years at the Smithsonian Institution,
and more recently was integrally involved in the start-up of several highly successful museums including
the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland, Ohio and the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C.
Barrie generously offered numerous insights and suggestions for next steps in turning AWM from vision to
reality. Thank you, Dennis!
Leading Museum Consultant Shares Wisdom with AWM
According to statistics compiled by the American Association of Museums:
- Americans view museums as one of the most important resources for educating children
- Americans consider museums one of the most trustworthy sources of objective information.
- Museums annually spend more than $1 billion to provide over 18 million instructional hours for educational programs.
- There are 2.3 million museum visits per day, adding up to 865 million visits per year to American museums.
- Museums rank in the top three family vacation destinations
Please remember AWM in your planning for 2011 charitable donations. Every dollar donated to AWM is tax deductible.
You can make a secure donation here.
New Year's Resolution: Support AWM with a Tax Deductible Donation
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