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We champion the legacy of Kurt Vonnegut and the principles of
free expression and common decency.
Vonnegut Library Lands Kurt Vonnegut’s “Forever Home”
Lilly Endowment Approves $500,000 Gift to
Support Building Purchase
INDIANAPOLIS, July 3, 2019 – The Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library (KVML) in the author’s hometown of Indianapolis is purchasing a building that will become its new home at 543 Indiana Ave., thanks in part to $500,000 Lilly Endowment grant announced today.
KVML Founder and CEO Julia Whitehead said, “For ten years, we’ve had our eye on this building. It is perfect for us in every way. With partner Bluebeard setting up a second restaurant location on the first floor of the building, we will provide a top-notch visitor experience for our audience.”
The new building will feature exhibitions and programs that highlight the legacy of Vonnegut’s work and showcase KVML’s collection of artifacts and memorabilia. Exhibits will explore the impact of the author’s influential novel, Slaughterhouse-Five and his efforts to preserve freedom of expression and limit censorship. Enhancements to the building, which is close to the historic Madam Walker Legacy Center, will include “Vonnegut and Jazz,” an exhibition produced in conjunction with the Madam Walker Legacy Center and Indiana Jazz Foundation.
Additional updates will be made to exhibitions about Vonnegut’s life and work that will feature items from the organization’s large collection, which includes Vonnegut’s typewriter and Purple Heart.
KVML received cash gifts and pledges from 1,400 people and organizations this spring through its campaign for Vonnegut’s “Forever Home.” Whitehead said, “The $500,000 grant from Lilly Endowment is the largest grant we’ve ever received, and it gives our board the confidence to purchase the building and move forward with our exciting plans.”
KVML’s lease at its previous location, 334 N. Senate Ave., expired in February. The organization’s museum is currently closed, but KVML operates a pop-up gift shop at Circle Centre Mall in downtown Indianapolis. KVML expects to reopen its doors at the Indiana Avenue location by the end of September.
In addition to the Lilly Endowment grant, KVML has received $1 million in cash and pledges toward the purchase of the building. The organization was given a loan by National Bank of Indianapolis to make the purchase possible in advance of receiving the pledge funds.
“This community – along with donors from around the nation – came together to support a permanent home to celebrate Vonnegut and advocate for principles of free expression and common decency. We have so much work to do. It’s important for all who pledged to us to make good on your pledges now, if possible, so that we can start our build-out and open our building,” Whitehead added. “We have an additional $1.5 million to raise this year to be able to unveil our exhibits to the public. In addition to that, we have our programs supporting veterans, students, teachers, those suffering from mental health challenges, and general readers who will celebrate with us on our grand opening day and all the days to follow. ”
About the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library
The KVML is a public-benefit, nonprofit organization championing the legacy of Kurt Vonnegut and principles of free expression and common decency.
The Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library thinks Vonnegut’s imagination is worth sharing with a new generation. That’s why, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the release of Kurt Vonnegut’s masterpiece, we are undertaking one of the boldest programmatic efforts in our history.
Children’s Crusade Exhibition at Books & Brews
The Children’s Crusade is an exhibition of fine art prints curated by Jolynn Reigeluth in conjunction with our 2019 Slaughterhouse-Five programming at Books & Brews, 643 Massachusetts Avenue July 1 to August 2. Twenty artists from the U.S. and Canada have created images inspired by the characters and themes from Kurt Vonnegut’s powerful account of the second World War. Stop by and check it out, and don’t miss the opening and closing receptions on July 5 and August 2 at 6 p.m. Proceeds from artwork sales of the artwork go toward our continued fundraising efforts.
At the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library, we spend a lot of time celebrating—celebrating Vonnegut himself, writers, artists, veterans, books, continued learning, and common decency.
The Museum/Library is closed for Relocation
The Museum/Library closed for relocation January 5, 2019. We are no longer at the Emelie Building on Senate Avenue, but we have great news about a new possible location. Click here to learn more!
Hours of Operation:
Our pop-up gift shop at Circle Centre Mall opened February 1. We’ll be in this location during our relocation process, so stop by and see us! We have all of Vonnegut’s books plus dolls, posters, candles, and many other Vonnegut-related tchotchkes.
Circle Centre Mall
9 W Maryland St, Indianapolis, IN 46204
Located next to Aldo.
Open Thursday through Tuesday, 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
*Please note: The gift shop will be closed on Monday, May 27 in observance of Memorial Day
About Kurt Vonnegut
Kurt Vonnegut is a renowned author who took an unflinching look at the world, tempered with a satirical eye and sardonic sense of humor. In a career spanning over 50 years, Vonnegut published 14 novels, three short story collections, five plays, and five works of non-fiction. He is most famous for his darkly satirical, best-selling novel Slaughterhouse-Five, which is 50 years old in 2019.