Ebon Heath is a visual artist based in Brooklyn who makes typographic mobiles.

"We use type daily yet rarely appreciate the form of a letter," he says. "By liberating type from the confines of the page we not only free the words to express the content in a new dimension of scale, volume, and movement, but also force the reader to become a viewer."

Heath's pieces would be perfect for an exhibition in the American Poetry Museum, which opened in Washington, D.C. in 2004. It's part gallery, part literary arts event space. They collect poetry on paper, audio recordings and artifacts related to poetry. They host readings, concerts and exhibits, mostly outside the walls of the museum.  

Of all the literary arts, poetry is most under threat by modern publishing.

Swansea, Wales (pop. 231,000) is home to the Dylan Thomas Center, which functions as a tribute to the Welsh icon's life and work while also providing space for readings and workshops. 

The tomb of mystic poet Rumi is part of the Mevlana Museum in Konya, Turkey.  

The breathtaking galleries within the British Library in London house manuscripts of Beowulf,  Pope's Iliad, the Canterbury Tales and other precious pieces of history.

The word "museum" is Greek for "seat of the muses". It originally meant a place for scholarly learning.

Critics accuse museums of "commodity fetishism" and claim that placing works under glass does a great disservice to the act of creating art. A museum is "a place of objects not ideas...a kind of terrible and admonishing cabinet."

"Museums are just a lot of lies, and the people who make art their business are mostly impostors. We have infected the pictures in our museums with all our stupidities, all our mistakes, all our poverty of spirit. We have turned them into petty and ridiculous things"

(Pablo Picasso quoted in Barr 1946: 274). 

But museum practices are slowly changing. While museums have historically been hegemonic spaces associated with the bourgeois, modern museums are being forced (by technology and an aging population) to serve the cultural interests of all classes and gear collections to a younger, more media-savvy audience.

Instead, we're seeing new museums that seek to "abolish hierarchies and normal, given categories and push us to question the fundamental role of the artist, his/her social and critical responsibility and his /her link to history."

Here's W.H. Auden's poem "Musee des Beaux Arts", inspired by The Fall of Icarus at the fine arts museum in Brussels:

About suffering they were never wrong,
The Old Masters; how well, they understood
Its human position; how it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along;
How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting
For the miraculous birth, there always must be
Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating
On a pond at the edge of the wood:
They never forgot
That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course
Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot
Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer’s horse
Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.

In Breughel’s Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
Water; and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.