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WE CHAMPION THE LEGACY OF KURT VONNEGUT AND THE PRINCIPLES OF FREE EXPRESSION AND COMMON DECENCY.

Welcome To KVML

Kurt Vonnegut was a World War II soldier and prisoner of war, peace activist, free speech champion, bestselling writer, artist, father, and lover of jazz, comedy, theater, and film. Celebrating our 15th anniversary in 2024, we at the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library (KVML) conduct tours of our museum’s diverse and accessible exhibitions. Members borrow books from our lending library. Students, teachers, veterans, and prisoners benefit from our programs that encourage storytelling to “make your soul grow.” From its German foundation in the 1800s, our gorgeous building is one of the few remaining buildings from the period when Indiana Avenue was known nationwide for its rich jazz history and Black excellence in business and culture. Our Bokonon Lounge is more than a bar but also a space that people use for weddings, birthday parties, and more. 

Outside of Indianapolis, we are widely known for our tough stance on free speech. We send hundreds, if not thousands, of free books to students around the country to support anti-censorship. As Kurt said, we want to remain “vibrant and alive and relevant” to support our local, state, national, and international audiences.

Upcoming Events

Class of 2024: Virtual Graduation Party
POSTPONED TO EARLY JUNE
Virtual

Get Tickets

Same Place, Different Date! This event has been postponed to early June due to unforeseen scheduling conflicts. We will update this page with the new date soon.

Calling all 2024 Grads! Gather your friends and families and join us at our Virtual Graduation Party in your honor with a commencement speech by Kurt Vonnegut!

In partnership with our friends at Seven Stories Press, hear from comedian and KVML Board Chair Lewis Black and other special guests.

Don’t forget to purchase If This Isn’t Nice, What Is? The Graduation Speeches and Other Words to Live By or Breaking Down Vonnegut from our museum shop (kvmlshop.org) for your graduate.

Cesar Chavez: Film and Lecture on Labor Rights in America
Thursday, May 16, 2024 7:00 – 9:15pm
Garfield Park Arts Center

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Join us at Garfield Park Arts Center for Cesar Chavez: Film and Lecture on Labor Rights in America as part of our NEA Big Reads Programming.

Public historian and preservation activist Glory-June Greiff will provide opening comments to contextualize the history of labor movements, followed by a screening of Cesar Chavez (2014) conducted by Indy movie historian Eric “Dr. Film” Grayson. The film follows renowned labor organizer and civil rights activist Cesar Chavez.

KurtChella: Granfalloon Jam
Saturday, June 1, 2024 6:30 – 9:30pm
Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library
Indianapolis, IN

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Join us for KurtChella as part of IU Arts and Humanities Council’s Granfalloon Festival. Our lineup includes: Wampus Milk Daddies, Vonnegut Hardware, and Billy Pilgrim * The Earthlings

Juneteenth
Wednesday, June 19, 2024 
Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library
Indianapolis, IN

 

Save the Date for our Juneteenth celebration and tribute to the history and culture of the block we call home. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, KVML is honored to be partof this diverse history of Indiana Avenue, including Arlene Manson’s family legacy. More information to come soon.

Our sponsors

Vonnegut USA

Help us bring Vonnegut to your state. Starting in 2022, KVML has been traveling the United States bringing programming, books, and Vonnegut’s message of free expression and common decency. Through this initiative, we hope to partner with schools and libraries as well as new and old Vonnegutians to further Kurt’s legacy. Visit our Events page to find out more about 2022 events in your state.

What should young people do with their lives today? Many things, obviously. But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured.

The Vonnecast

In 2022, acclaimed American author, Kurt Vonnegut, turns 100 years old. From the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library, The Vonnecast explores ways Vonnegut’s legacy has shaped the lives of others and continues to make souls grow. 

Education Programs

Through Educational programs, the KVML is proud to inspire Kurt Vonnegut’s legacy of free expression and common decency in readers, writers, and thinkers of all ages across the globe.

Join us after work or school for evening discussions and webinars that connect themes in literature to current events and history. Visit the Events page to register for our 2022 events, including Stories of Banned Conflicts, and our annual Banned Books Week Celebration.

Youth Writing Program

The Youth Writing Program connects volunteers across the country with students at Kurt Vonnegut’s alma mater: Shortridge High School. In the summer of 2022, the KVML will offer virtual Social Justice Writing Workshops monthly that will feature a guest writer or activist.

Teaching Vonnegut

Every summer, the KVML partners with educators across the country to offer the Teaching Vonnegut series. This virtual conference offers an array of sessions focused on Vonnegut’s life, works, legacy, and the causes he promoted. Classroom teachers and after-school educators will leave sessions inspired to create new lesson plans. Participants who are not traditional educators will enjoy learning about Vonnegut, and broaden their world view. Teaching Vonnegut 2023 is scheduled and open for registration!

THE VETERANS WRITING PROGRAM

Writing In Peace, offers veterans a monthly opportunity to engage in a 4-hour writing workshop in the company of other military veterans. A collection of their work is presented annually at Vonnegut Fest, our celebration of Kurt’s Birthday, Veterans Day, and Armistice Day.

Kurt Vonnegut served in WWII and was captured during his first day of combat at the Battle of the Bulge. His experience as a combat veteran and POW shaped his world view and creative endeavors. The KVML is honored to provide a space for veterans to explore their creativity, and build community. We are currently planning the 2022 Veterans Writing Program. Please check back for more information.

Kathi Badertscher, PhD

Director of Graduate Programs at the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy
Kathi Badertscher, PhD, is Director of Graduate Programs at the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Dr. Badertscher teaches a variety of BA, MA, and doctoral courses, including Applying Ethics in Philanthropy and History of Philanthropy. She has participated in several Teaching Vonnegut workshops and is a member of the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library. Dr. Badertscher has been a guest speaker on ethics in philanthropy, including at the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners – Indianapolis Council; Association of Fundraising Professionals – Indiana Chapter; and Zhou Enlai School of Government, Nankai University, Tianjin, China. In 2019 she received IUPUI Office for Women, Women’s Leadership Award for Newcomer Faculty. In 2019 and 2020 she received the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, Graduate Teaching Award.
Dr. Badertscher’s publications include “Fundraising for Advocacy and Social Change,” co-authored with Shariq Siddiqui in Achieving Excellence in Fundraising, 5th ed., 2022; “Insulin at 100: Indianapolis, Toronto, Woods Hole, and the ‘Insulin Road,’ co-authored with Christopher Rutty, Pharmacy in History (2020); and three articles in the Indiana Magazine of History: “A New Wishard Is on the Way,” “Evaline Holliday and the Work of Community Service,” and “Social Networks in Indianapolis during the Progressive Era.” Her chapters on social welfare history will appear in three upcoming edited volumes on the history of philanthropy, including “The Legacy of Edna Henry and Her Contributions to the IU School of Social Work,” Women at Indiana University: Views of the Past and the Future, edited by Andrea Walton, Indiana University Press, 2022 (forthcoming). Dr. Badertscher is also the Philanthropy and Nonprofits Consulting Editor for the forthcoming Digital Encyclopedia of Indianapolis, edited by David J. Bodenhamer and Elizabeth Van Allen, Indiana University Press, 2021. Dr. Badertscher is an active volunteer in the Indianapolis community. At present, she is a Coburn Place Safe Haven Board Member and a Children’s Bureau/Families First Brand and Marketing Advisor. Dr. Badertscher holds the MA in History from Indiana University and the MA and PhD in philanthropic studies from the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

Volunteer With KVML

Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library Volunteer Application

Please contact [email protected] if you have any questions about this application’s content.

Eclipse Fundraiser 2024

Help us make sure students are not left in the dark about their right to read freely

As we prepare for a once-in-a-lifetime experience under the moon’s shadow, consider making a gift to support getting banned books into the hands of students whose freedom to read is being suppressed.

We also hope you will join us for our free “A Big Eye in the Sky” community celebration on April 8th.

Who will be the champion?

The Vonnegut Tourney is back! This time, places associated with or created by Vonnegut are going head to head. Click below to cast your votes on who shall be champion!

Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library

Please consider supporting KVML!

Get Your Free Book!

Sign up for any of our NEA Big Read programs and receive a free copy of Jess Walter’s The Cold Millions 

It's Giving Tuesday!

 We invite you to help pen the future and empower Vonnegut’s words by giving back in YOUR way – whether that’s a financial contribution or gifting your time.

Black Friday Deals!

It’s the season of giving, which is why we’re giving 25% off all KVML clothes, books, accessories, homeware, and select artwork November 24th – 27th.

Vonnegutfest 2023

VonnegutFest

Whether you’re a die-hard fan or just getting acquainted with his writings, VonnegutFest 2023 promises an unforgettable experience. Immerse yourself in the world of Vonnegut as you engage with fellow fans!   

Image of curator Chris Lafave giving a tour to students on our third floor at the Slaughterhouse-Five exhibit

Back to School: Kurt Vonnegut and Eduation
Kickstarter Campaign

Help KVML finish our year of education strong!

Support the completion of our education exhibit, expansion of our Youth Writing Program, and so much more.   

Campaign ends on Sunday, October 8th

The Tralfamadorian Dictionary

Preorder KVML’s First Ever Book The Tralfamadorian Dictionary.

We’ve worked with Vonnegut experts and top linguists to create the official handbook for the languages of notable alien species in the Vonnegut Universe. 

Be sure to sign up for our special release party event with our Margo language expert on June 8th. This event is free. Tap shoes will not be provided, so please bring your own.