For book lovers and literary enthusiasts, there’s a special thrill that comes from immersing oneself in the world of literature by visiting museums dedicated to celebrated writers. 

It’s a chance to explore the lives and works of literary icons, delving into the history and inspiration behind their masterpieces. It’s not just about the written works, but also about a glimpse at writer’s lives – including some often sordid details. It’s a look at their creative process, how they lived and worked, and about their claim to fame. 

Since operating days and hours, ticket prices, and educational programs can change frequently, we’ve provided a link to the museum website. Be sure to read up on all the relevant visitor information before you plan your visit. For many, admission tickets (often timed-entry) can be purchased in advance online.

photo of a book shelf with vintage volumes on it and a magnifying glass in front

Join us on a journey through 25 literary museums located around the world. We hope this will deepen your appreciation for these authors and their written word, and perhaps inspire you down a literary path (reading or writing).

25 Literary Museums Literature Lovers Will Want to Visit

1. The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust 

Perhaps the greatest playwright in English literature, William Shakespeare, is celebrated at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. There are currently three venues open to visitors (two additional remain closed). You can visit his childhood home, explore exhibits dedicated to his life and works, and experience live performances in the renowned Royal Shakespeare Theatre. You can also visit Anne Hathaway’s family cottage, where she was raised and lived while Shakespeare courted her. 

Location: Stratford-upon-Avon, England

Website here

Reading suggestion: Macbeth

2. The Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House

Discover the literary legacy of Louisa May Alcott, author of “Little Women,” at her former home, Orchard House. Explore the rooms where Alcott penned her famous novel and learn about the inspirations behind her beloved characters. There have been no major structural changes to the house since Alcott lived there, so the rooms and their furnishings look very much the same.

Location: Concord, Massachusetts

Website here

Reading suggestion: Little Women

3. The Jane Austen’s House Museum 

Immerse yourself in the world of Jane Austen, one of the most celebrated English novelists, at her former residence. Walk in her footsteps, admire the rooms where she wrote her timeless novels, and gain insights into her life and literary achievements. Jane wrote, revised, and published all six of her novels from this cottage.

Location: Chawton, England

Website here

Reading suggestion: Pride and Prejudice

4. The Mark Twain House and Museum

Visit the stunning Victorian mansion where the legendary American author Mark Twain lived and wrote some of his most famous works. Take a guided tour, explore Twain’s study, and delve into the humor and social commentary of this literary genius. Mark Twain changed the way the world sees American and the way we see ourselves.

Location: Hartford, Connecticut

Website here

Suggested reading: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

5. The James Joyce Centre 

Delve into the complex and groundbreaking works of James Joyce, one of Ireland’s most influential writers. The James Joyce Centre offers exhibits, walking tours, and lectures that explore the author’s life, literature, and Dublin’s connections to his works. If you can’t visit Dublin right now, the centre offers a robust program of onine events.

Location: Dublin, Ireland

Website here

Suggested reading: Dubliners

6. The Emily Dickinson Museum

Step into the poetic world of Emily Dickinson at her former homestead, where she wrote nearly 1,800 poems. Discover the private life of this reclusive poet, explore her bedroom, and gain insight into her profound contributions to American literature. Check out the museum’s website for the poem of the day.

Location: Amherst, Massachusetts

Website here

Suggested reading: Hope is the Thing with Feathers: The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson

7. The Miguel de Cervantes Birthplace Museum

Pay homage to the father of modern literature, Miguel de Cervantes, at his birthplace museum. Explore the life and works of the iconic Spanish author, known for his masterpiece “Don Quixote,” and discover the enduring impact of his writing.

Location: Alcalá de Henares, Spain

Website here:

Suggested reading: Don Quixote

8. The Franz Kafka Museum

Delve into the enigmatic world of Franz Kafka, one of the most influential figures in 20th-century literature, at the Franz Kafka Museum in Prague. The museum offers a fascinating exploration of Kafka’s life, his surreal stories, and the themes of existentialism and alienation that permeate his works. I read a lot of Kafka in college and found his work both enigmatic and conflicting.

Location: Prague, Czech Republic

Website here

Suggested reading: The Metamorphosis

9. The National Steinbeck Center

Explore the life and literary contributions of John Steinbeck, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author known for his novels such of emerging America. The National Steinbeck Center showcases Steinbeck’s works, personal artifacts, and the agricultural landscapes that inspired his writing. Steinbeck had a way of making us take a look at ourselves in a way that was often uncomfortable.

Location: Salinas, California

Website here

Suggested reading: East of Eden

10. The National Museum of Edgar Allan Poe

Enter the mysterious world of Edgar Allan Poe, the master of macabre and suspense. The Poe Museum features exhibits on the life and works of this American author, including the Raven Room dedicated to his famous poem. Poe has a actual place in history, not just a literary place. In his youth, he was part of a junior honor guard that escorted Revolutionary War officers around Richmond.

Location: Richmond, Virginia

Website here

Suggested reading: The Fall of the House of Usher

11. The Hans Christian Andersen Museum

Delight in the fairy tales that have enchanted generations at the Hans Christian Andersen Museum. Explore the life and imagination of the Danish author behind beloved short stories like “The Little Mermaid” and “The Ugly Duckling.” From the moment you step into the building, the exhibition whisks you farther away from the familiar and deeper into Andersen’s fairy tales. 

Location: Odense, Denmark

Website here

Suggested reading: The Little Mermaid

12. The José Saramago Foundation

Celebrate the literary legacy of Nobel laureate José Saramago at his foundation in Lisbon. The museum offers insight into Saramago’s works, his engagement with social issues, and his impact on Portuguese literature. Saramago self-defined as an atheist and his work was criticized by the Catholic Church.

Location: Lisbon, Portugal

Website here

Suggested reading: The Gospel According to Jesus Christ

13. The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre

Enter the whimsical world of Roald Dahl, the beloved author of children’s classics like “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and “Matilda.” Dahl has been called one of the greatest storytellers for children of the 20th century. This literary museum takes visitors on an interactive journey through his life, characters, and the creative process behind his magical stories.

Location: Great Missenden, England

Website here

Suggested reading: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

14. The Sir Walter Scott’s Abbotsford

Step into the realm of Scottish literature at Abbotsford, the former home of Sir Walter Scott. Explore the stunning house, gardens, and the writer’s extensive library, which housed his vast collection of books and manuscripts. The beautiful castle with a rich literary history turns spooky at Halloween time with special events and garden displays.

Location: Melrose, Scotland

Website here

Suggested reading: Rob Roy

15. The Oscar Wilde House

Explore the life and wit of the iconic Irish playwright and poet, Oscar Wilde, at his former residence. The Oscar Wilde House offers a glimpse into Wilde’s artistic achievements, his trials, and his enduring impact on literature. He attended nearby Trinity College before heading out to make his mark on the world.

Location: Dublin, Ireland

Website here

Suggested reading: The Picture of Dorian Gray

16. The Haruki Murakami Library

Immerse yourself in the surreal and imaginative world of Haruki Murakami, the acclaimed Japanese novelist. The Haruki Murakami Library showcases his works, inspirations, and unique storytelling style, offering fans a deeper understanding of his literary universe. His work has been translated into 50 languages and has sold millions of copies outside of Japan.

Location: Tokyo, Japan

Website here

Suggested reading: Norwegian Wood

17. The Virginia Woolf House (Monk’s House)

Delve into the introspective and pioneering works of Virginia Woolf, a central figure in the modernist literary movement. Monk’s House is a 16t-century weatherboarded cottage when she lived until her husband’s death. It is still furnished, and lo0oks like they’ve just stepped away for a walk. The Virginia Woolf House provides insights into her essays, novels, and her impact on feminist literature and thought.

Location: London, England

Website here

Suggested reading: Mrs. Dalloway

18. The Agatha Christie Museum

Step into the world of mystery and intrigue created by Agatha Christie, the “Queen of Crime.” The Agatha Christie Museum presents the life and works of this prolific author, known for her detective novels and iconic characters like Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. Many of Christie’s famous books have been turned into movies and/or television. They make a great companion to a museum visit.

Location: Torquay, England

Website here

Suggested reading: Murder on the Nile

19. The Pablo Neruda House

Immerse yourself in the poetry of Pablo Neruda, the Chilean poet and diplomat. The Pablo Neruda House showcases his collection of art, poetry, and personal artifacts, offering a poetic journey through his life and creative expressions. I wish I knew Spanish well enough to read Neruda in his native tongue.

Location: Santiago, Chile

Website here

Suggested reading:  Twenty Love Poems: And a Song of Dispair

20. The Charles Dickens Museum

Welcome to 48 Doughty Street, the London home – and Victorian world – of Charles Dickens. , The Charles Dickens Museum offers a glimpse into the life of the renowned English novelist, and the social issues he wrote about. The gift shop has a lovely assortment of items with that Dickensian twist. 

Location: London, England

Website here

Suggested reading: A Tale of Two Cities

21. The Fitzgerald Museum

Step into the Jazz Age through the lens of F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife, Zelda.  The museum offers a look at this celebrated American author with insights into his works and the cultural and historical contexts of the Roaring Twenties. If you want an even more immersive experience, book a say in the Zelda Suite or the F. Scott Suite, on the upper floor of the museum.

Location: Montgomery, Alabama

Website here

Suggested reading: The Great Gatsby

22. The Jack Kerouac House

Immerse yourself in the Beat Generation at the Jack Kerouac House, where the iconic American author penned his influential novel “On the Road.” The house hosts writer-in-residence programs, preserving Kerouac’s legacy and inspiring new voices. The beat goes on.

Location: Location: Orlando, Florida

Website here

Suggested reading: On the Road

23. The Nathaniel Hawthorne House

The Nathaniel Hawthorne House offers visitors a chance to explore the life, literary achievements, and the historical context of this American author. The house, built in 1668, has seven gables, giving rise to Hawthorne’s book of the same name.

Location: Salem, Massachusetts,

Website here

Suggested reading: The Scarlett Letter

24. The O. Henry Museum

Dive into the short stories and wit of O. Henry (William Sydney Porter) , the American author known for his clever and humorous short stories narratives. The O. Henry Museum celebrates his unique storytelling style and showcases artifacts that shed light on his life and contributions to American literature.

Location: Austin, Texas

Website here

Suggested reading: The Gift of the Magi

25. The Louvre Museum

While primarily known as an art museum, the Louvre Museum also holds significant literary treasures. Discover the original manuscripts of famous authors such as Marcel Proust, Victor Hugo, and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, whose works have left an indelible mark on French literature.

Location: Paris, France

Website here:

Suggested reading: In Search of Lost Time (Marcell Proust); Les Miserables (Victor Hugo); The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry)

Travel Reading Challenge

In 2108 I started a travel reading challenge, founded out of my love of reading and curiosity for the world – and as a means of exploring new topics, writers, and points of view. The self-paced challenge is designed for those who enjoy traveling and learning more about the world.

If you’re a traveler who enjoys visiting literary museums and locations, you’ll likely be interested to learn more about the challenge. Check out my 2023 travel reading challenge update.

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