Tourists and literary buffs in Los Angeles are travelling along the coast to Salinas, California, to visit a museum dedicated to one of the most influential American writers of the last hundred years.
The National Steinbeck Centre is the largest museum dedicated to a single American writer, and the impressive library, research facility and exhibition space helps readers stay connected to his works and keeps his legacy alive.
The Nobel-and Pulitzer Prize-winning author’s novels, which include The Grapes of Wrath, Of Mice and Men and East of Eden, have captured the imaginations of adults and school age children around the world. His ability to write realistic characters with emotional depth ensure his stories endure the test of time and are relevant to readers of all ages.
Opened in 1998, the centre attracts some 30,000 visitors annually who come to explore the centre, along with scholars who meet there to discuss Steinbeck’s life and work.
Aptly located in Steinbeck’s hometown, the centre also has close links to other nearby attractions, including Monterey County wineries and the Pacific Coast.
The six permanent gallery spaces boast a range of artefacts, photographs, film clips and interactive exhibits to help visitors learn more about Steinbeck’s life and career, drawing close parallels between Steinbeck’s upbringing in Salinas the influence it had on his most famous stories.
“Rooted in the earth and the people of the Salinas Valley, Steinbeck achieved worldwide recognition for his keen observations and powerful descriptions of the human condition,” a statement on the Steinbeck Centre website reads.
“He championed the forgotten and disenfranchised, while affirming the strength of the human spirit. His life was as rich and provocative as the Salinas Valley he immortalised in his writing.”