A new museum that pays tribute to one of Fresno’s most famous natives, William Saroyan, is celebrating its opening Friday, Aug. 31—the day that would mark the writer’s 110th birthday.
The William Saroyan House-Museum is located at 2729 W. Griffith Way (that’s near Marks and Ashlan). Saroyan lived at this home during the later years of his life. The modest dwelling is on Local Register of Historic Resources.
Saroyan was born in Fresno in 1908 and was living here when he died in 1981. The author and playwright often wrote about Fresno and the Central Valley. He earned critical acclaim for his work, which includes My Name is Aram and Tracy’s Tiger. Saroyan won the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 1940 for the play The Time of Your Life, as well as the Academy Award for Best Story for the film adaptation of The Human Comedy.
The Renaissance Cultural and Intellectual Foundation purchased the home two years ago when it went up for auction.
“This is the first and only interactive Saroyan museum in the region,” says Liana Nikoghosyan, Research Manager for the William Saroyan House-Museum. “He’s Fresno’s son. We wanted to preserve William Saroyan’s literacy legacy and spread it again all over the world.”
Interactive museum will host Saroyan hologram
Some of you may remember that the Fresno Metropolitan Museum used to house a Saroyan exhibit, but when they closed in 2010 the number of places to go to learn about Saroyan decreased. The Fresno County Public Library’s downtown Fresno branch has a large Saroyan collection, but many of the books aren’t allowed to be checked out.
Nikoghosyan says the new museum will have the world’s largest Saroyan digital archive. There will also be a Saroyan hologram, unique pictures, and a research area. There will be no fee to visit the William Saroyan House-Museum.
“The museum will tell about known and unknown episodes from William Saroyan’s life,” Nikoghosyan says. “We are planning to organize tours for students to learn about the big literary legacy Saroyan left.”
Opening ceremony at Fresno State
The public is invited to attend the opening ceremony event, which won’t be held at the museum itself, but instead at Fresno State. There is room for about 700 guests. You can register at the website, SaroyanHouse.com, if you’d like to attend.