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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

Exploring Labor and Union Struggles in The Cold Millions Era
Thursday, March 21, 2024 4:30 – 6:30pm
Eugene V. Debs Foundation
Terre Haute, IN | Hybrid 

Get Tickets

Join us as KVML partners with The Eugene V. Debs Museum as part of our NEA Big Reads programming, offering profound insights into the historical backdrop of The Cold Millions, a novel by Jess Walter. Immerse yourself in the fascinating stories of local and global labor rights movements, setting the stage for a deeper understanding of the novel. Following the lecture, there will be a book discussion on The Cold Millions. 

A Big Eye in the Sky: Solar Eclipse Celebration
Monday, April 8th, 2024 10:00 – 3:30pm
Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library
Indianapolis, IN

Get Tickets

On April 8th at 3:06 P.M., Indianapolis will be shrouded in darkness for three and a half minutes during the The Great American Eclipse. Join us for our solar eclipse celebration “A Big Eye in the Sky.” 

Spend the day at the community fair in our parking lot with literary entertainment, music, and a book discussion of The Cold Millions by Jess Walter as part of our NEA Big Read programming. Secure your spot and score a FREE copy of the book if you don’t already own one – because great stories are universal! We’ll also provide FREE from NASA, thanks to our friends at Visit Indy. More information to come soon. 

Moonbeam Melodies: A Serendipitous Series of Accidents
Monday, April 8th, 2024 6:30 – 9:00pm
Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library
Indianapolis, IN

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You’ll be seeing polka dots and moonbeams at our inaugural speakeasy event at KVML’s Bokonon Lounge!

You’ll be unstuck in time back to Indiana Avenue in 1922. Come dressed in your 20’s best and join us for a roaring evening of music, food, and specialty drinks. More information to come soon.

KVML x Carmel Clay Public Library: The Cold Millions Book Discussion
Thursday, April 11, 2024 4:30 – 6:00pm
Carmel Clay Public Library
Carmel, IN

Get Tickets

KVML and Carmel Clay Public Library invite you to a book discussion on The Cold Millions by Jess Walter. Secure your spot now and score a FREE copy of the book if you don’t already have one – because great stories are meant to be shared!

Kentucky Derby Party
Saturday, May 4, 2024 5:00 – 9:30pm
Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library
Indianapolis, IN

Get Tickets

Saddle up for an evening of music, horse racing, betting, food, and fun. Don your Derby hat, sip your mint julep, and revel in the spirit of the races Vonnegut-style!

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

Get Tickets

Join us at Garfield Park Conservatory for Cesar Chavez: Film and Lecture on Latino Labor Rights in America as part of our NEA Big Reads Programming. Public historian and preservation activist Glory-June Greiff will provide an opening talk on the history of labor movements, followed by a screening conducted by Eric “Dr. Film” Grayson of Cesar Chavez (2014), a film that followed renowned labor organizer and civil rights activist Cesar Chavez.

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!


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.

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


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.