It may look like just another house on the block, but the Fresno home where Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and playwright William Saroyan lived out his final years is now open to the public as an interactive museum.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony at 2729 W. Griffith Way on Friday afternoon came on what would have been Saroyan’s 110th birthday.
The museum features a hologram of Saroyan and a setup of his desk and part of his home as it was when he lived there. The rest of the house is filled with photos, videos and interviews taken of Saroyan throughout the years, posters of his work and his drawings.
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Saroyan was born in Fresno in 1908 and died at the Veterans Hospital in 1981 of cancer. He purchased the home on Griffith Way 17 years before his death and split his time there and abroad, according to his biography.
The Renaissance Cultural and Intellectual Foundation, based in Armenia, purchased the house in 2015 and set out to renovate it to honor Saroyan and the Armenian community.
Councilwoman Esmeralda Soria and Mayor Lee Brand were in attendance for the grand opening. The museum is in Soria’s district.
Soria said Saroyan grew up in what is now downtown Fresno because of a city law that blocked immigrants from owning or living in certain areas.
“Despite all of this, Saroyan still felt and left his heart here in Fresno,” she said.
The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.