The absence of William Saroyan’s personal items inspired the project curators to design the emptied space in a way that would speak to the character of the original owner. The inclusion of items not featured originally in the house was therefore ruled out given its potential to injure the authenticity and historical accuracy of the concept. The decision to largely exclude personal items from the museum also meant bypassing the common practice of oversaturating house museums with personal belongings to create a particular atmosphere.
By harnessing the power of archival materials, the curators hoped to renew interest in Saroyan’s mostly underrated legacy in the USA and draw attention to the complexity of his creative persona.
In the William Saroyan House Museum, visitors are no longer passive viewers skipping from one exhibit to another. Instead, they are actively engaged with the artworks on display in the interest of a more profound experience of the space and the character that once inhabited it.
The exhibition space is comprised of two rooms – the Visual Biography Room and the Hologram Room.
Immersed in darkness, the Visual Biography Room is intended as a visual exploration of William Saroyan’s life. Exhibits ranging from drawings and sketches to book covers and photographs line the black walls of the room while illuminated from behind to ensure maximum visibility.
Light sensors attached to the ceiling follow every movement of each of the visitors in the room, transforming the museum into a living structure of sorts, gifted with its own gaze.
The Hologram Room occupies the left end of the Corridor. While access to this room is forbidden, visitors are invited to enjoy Saroyan’s 3D holographic projection into the air from behind a protective glass wall. In addition to Saroyan’s holographic representation, the Hologram Room is the only space in the museum to include elements proper to Saroyan’s lifetime, including a wardrobe, a working table, a chair, a carpet, a lamp, a cloth hanger, a hat, a suitcase, a clock and a typewriter.
William Saroyan dreamed that his home would become a space for students to come and work. This is even noted in the writer’s will. Following his wishes, we decided to create a dedicated research room that would give an opportunity to students, scholars and other interested individuals to benefit from the vast heritage which William Saroyan left. Having created is the world's largest digital archive of Saroyan, and we plan to make it accessible for everyone on the planet. After the completion of the work, the house museum will become a center for Saroyan studies. Guests of the House Museum will be offered special guided tours, as well as have access to the study room. Extend your learning and teaching beyond the classroom and deepen your research at the Museum’s research center. Take time off to learn more about William Saroyan and The William Saroyan House Museum!
You can visit the Saroyan house museum only by booking a ticket online for 24 hours in advance.