The Chicago History Museum

The Chicago History Museum, known as the Chicago Historical Society for 150 years, reopened with a gala celebration in September 2006. After a $27.5 million complete renovation, the Museum on the southern edge of Lincoln Park takes its place again as a major tourist attraction in the city. Over 16,000 square feet of new and exciting galleries feature collections of 20 million different items that trace the history of Chicago, as well as many noteworthy events in America’s history. These remarkable collections include photographs and drawings, diaries and letters, textiles and costumes, sound recordings and films, books and newspapers, and furniture from the past. The Chicago History Museum, a privately endowed institution, provides the history through its research collections, publications, exhibitions, and online resources.

Visitors can view exhibitions and documentation of a number of interesting projects such as My Chicago, a project for children ages 6 to 12 to learn about the history and growth of the city and the website of Studs Terkel’s Conversations with America, a series of interviews on various subjects such as race, war, the depression, and 20th century life in Chicago. Other research areas at the Museum include the Civil War, the Haymarket Affair, the Great Chicago Fire, and the in-depth history of people and events such as Al Capone, the World Series scandal, and the Union Stockyards.

The Chicago History Museum also sponsors an ongoing project, the Neighborhoods: Keepers of Culture which features a partnership of the communities of Douglas/Grand Boulevard, Rogers Park/West Ridge, Pilsen/Little Village, and the Near West Side/East Garfield Park. To date, the Museum has sponsored four exhibitions and public programs, all highlighting the interesting history of these particular neighborhoods. Research and collection teams from the Museum focus on four specific subjects including urban renewal, employment, immigration, and culture in an Interactive Learning Center.

Permanent exhibits include boards from Fort Dearborn, artifacts from the Great Chicago fire, Lincoln’s deathbed, George Washington’s 2nd inaugural suit, and the first passenger car from Chicago’s “L” train. The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA 1) railroad car is displayed along with the Pioneer, the first locomotive to operate in the city. In addition, the 2nd floor of the Museum has panoramic views of 18th and 19th century Chicago, as well as one of only 23 copies of the Declaration of Independence.

Hours: Monday through Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Sunday 12 Noon to 5:00 p.m.
Admission: $5.00 for adults, $3.00 for seniors and students 13-22, $1.00 for children 6-12. Free for children under 6. Membership to the Museum includes a number of benefits and is actively encouraged.

Wheelchairs available and assisted listening system in the auditorium, the main conference room, and on gallery tours. Museum store and onsite restaurant.

Accessible by public transportation and free trolleys run by the city from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Self-parking garage nearby, open 24 hours, $8.00 with Museum admission verification.

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