September 25, 2020 (CHICAGO) – The American Writers Museum (AWM) received a $190,000 Museums for America (MFA) grant for the development of My America: The Next Generation, an online creative writing resource for middle and high school students. Museums for America is the largest grant program of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and supports projects that strengthen the ability of an individual museum to serve its public. My America, a virtual extension of the AWM’s current exhibit My America: Immigrant and Refugee Writers Today, aligns with the MFA project category of Lifelong Learning as it guides students to explore, question, analyze, and write about issues related to immigration and writing.
“This project is designed to address the polarizing issue of immigration with young people, using writing as a tool, and working with some of today’s most influential immigrant and refugee writers to inspire students to write creatively,” said AWM President, Carey Cranston.
The 31 writers featured in the My America exhibit, whose video interviews are included in the online extension, represent a wide range of countries and writing genres. Some write explicitly about their experience as an immigrant, and others address these themes indirectly. In their video interviews, these authors examine their relationship to the word “American,” the way their heritage shapes their work, and what writing means to them. These writers explore what it means to become American, with powerful and inspiring messages for young people, whether they are immigrants themselves, or are native-born with their own family immigration stories. The exhibit videos and videos of related author events are an important part of the website that complement the student curriculum and writing activities.
“As pillars of our communities, libraries and museums bring people together by providing important programs, services, and collections. These institutions are trusted spaces where people can learn, explore and grow,” said IMLS Director Crosby Kemper. “IMLS is proud to support their initiatives through our grants as they educate and enhance their communities.”
About American Writers Museum
The American Writers Museum is the first museum of its kind in the United States. 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, and our daily lives. The museum is located at 180 N. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60601, and offers something for every age group including permanent exhibits and special galleries highlighting America’s favorite works and the authors behind them. Tickets to the museum are $14 for adults, $9 for seniors, students, and teachers. Free for members and children ages 12 and under. Groups of 10 or more, including adults, student travel groups, and University students, receive discounted admission and an option of a guided or unguided tour. Inquire at AmericanWritersMuseum.org/visit/groups/ or call 312-374-8770. Museum hours are Wednesday – Sunday 10 AM – 5 PM. For more information visit www.AmericanWritersMuseum.org or call 312-374-8790.
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s libraries and museums. We advance, support, and empower America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. Our vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.