Bookish Places · Papercuts and Scribbles · The Book Nook Lifestyle

Becoming a Member of the American Writer’s Museum

This February, I took a leap and became a member of the American Writer’s Museum, a small (but epic) museum on Michigan Ave. here in Chicago. I’ve wanted to become a member since my first visit to the museum three years ago on a chilly December Friday (you can read about my experience here). As I mentioned in my 2018 post, the museum became a safe haven for an introverted writer in the second city. I’ve managed to go to the museum once a year since my visit in 2018 and even managed to visit Valentine’s Day weekend last year with my mom before the world went to shit.

On January 19th, Governor Pritzker announced Chicago could move back into Tier 2 COVID mitigations which allowed museums to open back up with limited capacity. With the reality of the vaccine officially realized, I decided it was time to start making moves towards the Chicago life I’ve wanted since I moved here– a life filled with culture, excitement, and memories.

If there’s anything 2020 taught us, it’s that life isn’t meant to be stuck inside. I do not regret following the restrictions put into place last year as it kept others safe and also protected the loved ones and friends I spent a majority of my year with from getting sick. However, I had my first shot of the Pfizer vaccine last weekend and it was the first time in the last year that I cried out of happiness instead of fear. I can see the end of the tunnel and I’m ready to the acceleration pedal once I get there.

The purchase of my museum membership was done slightly out of desperation for normalcy. Chicago had its snowiest February in decades this year and I experienced my worst case of cabin fever to date. I love snow, like Lorelai Gilmore-level love, but I was close to hating it by the end of February (my boyfriend certainly did). So, on one of those cold February weekends I took a deep dive into the museum’s membership options.

The museum has three tiers of membership:

  • Tier 1: Individual ($50 for 1 year; $90 for 2 years)
  • Tier 2: Household ($80 for 1 year; $150 for 2 years)
  • Tier 3: Literary Circle ($125 for 1 year)

After a bit of deliberation, I decided on a one-year Household membership (meaning my boyfriend and I both get in for free!). It includes:

  • 2 membership cards
  • Unlimited free admission for 2 adults and kids under 18
  • 50% discount for 2 guests on every visit
  • 2 one-time-use guest passes
  • 15% discount on retail purchases
  • Reciprocal membership benefits at participating CASM organizations
  • Free admission to 13 Affiliate Author Home Museums nationwide: See list here
  • Monthly e-newsletter updates
  • Invitations to members-only events

The American Writers Museum is scheduled to reopen May 14, which I personally respect with the way the world is right now. I’ll be first in line in May and look forward to when I’m fully vaccinated so my boyfriend (who’s already vaccinated) and I can explore the CASM organizations and 13 Affiliate Author Home Museums. Together, we’re most excited about the Museum of Broadcast Communications here in Chicago. We’re split on the national museums available with him most interested in The Beat Museum – Jack Kerouac in San Francisco while I’m drawn most to the Thoreau Farm… but, let’s be honest, I’d go to all of the author homes in a heartbeat.

I highly recommend checking out the virtual exhibits available on the American Writers Museum website since the museum is currently closed. I’ve seen all of the exhibits currently available online in-person, as well as on the site, and they hold up as remote experiences. Consider giving their podcast a listen to too, if that’s your jam.

As a closing note, I swear this post is not sponsored, I just really love this place.

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