Chicago History Museum

Chicago History Museum The Chicago History Museum is a place of learning, discovery, creativity, and, of course, history.
(1505)

Is your new year's resolution to learn more about Chicago? Stop by CHM on one of our Illinois resident free days! And re...
01/05/2024

Is your new year's resolution to learn more about Chicago? Stop by CHM on one of our Illinois resident free days! And remember, Illinois kids 18 & under and all kids 12 & under are always free. https://ow.ly/rHrj50Qojlb

What've you all been searching for in the  ? In our latest blog post, CHM director of research & access Ellen Keith shar...
01/03/2024

What've you all been searching for in the ? In our latest blog post, CHM director of research & access Ellen Keith shares about the most requested research collections in 2023, such as materials on Chicago alderman Leon Despres, the African American Police League, Special Olympics Chicago, and Thing magazine. But who was no. 1? Read the post to find out! https://ow.ly/pQo250QnuMH

There was one set of CHM images that was shared and liked the most this year: this brown silk poplin and satin trimmed t...
12/31/2023

There was one set of CHM images that was shared and liked the most this year: this brown silk poplin and satin trimmed trousseau dress from 1869. Created by Field, Leiter & Co, the dress features intricate pleated details on the shoulders, wrists, and back waist. It is an excellent example of the transition in silhouette that took place in American women’s fashion between the 1860s and 1870s from bell-shaped cage-crinoline skirts to elliptical bustles. CHM, ICHi-055004, ICHi-055006, ICHi-055005, and ICHi-055003.⁠

Originally shared on Pinterest as a collage, the images of this dress received 9.43k reposts and shares this year. View these images and more at chicagohistory.org/costumecollection. ⁠

Happy Birthday to A. J. Pierzynski! The former Chicago White Sox catcher (2005–2012) helped lead the Sox to the 2005 Wor...
12/30/2023

Happy Birthday to A. J. Pierzynski! The former Chicago White Sox catcher (2005–2012) helped lead the Sox to the 2005 World Series title. Pierzynski holds the American League record for catching the most consecutive games (117) in a season without an error. In that 117-game stretch from April 19 to October 2, 2005, he handled 777 consecutive errorless chances. He continued his streak into the 2006 season, handling 962 consecutive errorless chances, breaking Yogi Berra's record of 950 set in 1959. He was also the first catcher in White Sox history to finish a full season (2009) in Chicago with a .300 or better batting average. Pierzynski was inducted into the National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame in 2021.

Learn more about Polish American athletes in “Back Home: Polish Chicago” https://ow.ly/VeTu50QmaZi

Spot no. 2 in our top four countdown of CHM images that you shared and liked the most in 2023 are Antonio Lopez’s fashio...
12/30/2023

Spot no. 2 in our top four countdown of CHM images that you shared and liked the most in 2023 are Antonio Lopez’s fashion illustrations of garments designed by Charles James. 1️⃣ Evening dress with a demi-cape, c. 1970. CHM, ICHi-062860. 2️⃣ Bra top and fitted pants, 1972. CHM, ICHi-062840. ⁠

Both prints are available for purchase through our photstore: https://ow.ly/zH8v50Qlc84. These images were pinned and shared on Pinterest a combined 8.78k times this year. ⁠

Marching down the aisle into the third spot on our top four list of images from our collection that you shared and liked...
12/29/2023

Marching down the aisle into the third spot on our top four list of images from our collection that you shared and liked the most in 2023 is this 1887 wedding dress by E. E. Holland of Chicago. Made of silk faille, net, lace, and pearls, the dress also features a long train and pearl trim around the hem pleats. CHM, ICHi-054689, ICHi-177987, ICHi-054690 and ICHi-062763

The first detail shot of the back of the dress received a combined 6.59k reposts and likes on Twitter/X this year. View these images and more at chicagohistory.org/costumecollection.

As part of our year-end wrap-up, we’ll be spotlighting four images (or sets of images) from our collection that you shar...
12/28/2023

As part of our year-end wrap-up, we’ll be spotlighting four images (or sets of images) from our collection that you shared and liked the most online this year. Perched at spot no. 4 on the list is this exterior view of Shadowcliff (1968–69), a private residence in Ellison Bay, WI, designed by Harry Weese and photographed by Orlando Cabanban, c. 1969. CHM, ICHi-092741

Originally featured in a 2011 “Places Journal” article about Weese, the image was pinned and shared on Pinterest 5.87k times this year. View this image and more at images.chicagohistory.org.

What a year! 2023 was an exciting one for us. Thanks to your support, we were able to connect thousands of visitors to C...
12/27/2023

What a year! 2023 was an exciting one for us. Thanks to your support, we were able to connect thousands of visitors to Chicago’s history and to each other.

We’re looking forward to making more connections in 2024 with our exhibitions, collections, educational initiatives, and public programming. It’s thanks to people’s incredible generosity—both large and small—that we’re able to continue to uncover Chicago’s unique stories for those who seek them. Your support can help us do so much more! Donate today: https://ow.ly/TB8S50Qm9hi

Merry Christmas from CHM! Due to their red uniforms, Victorian British postal workers were affectionately known as "robi...
12/25/2023

Merry Christmas from CHM! Due to their red uniforms, Victorian British postal workers were affectionately known as "robins." Thanks to this postal connection and the fact that European robins often becomes more sociable during the winter as they seek out alternative food sources, this little red-breasted bird became one of the most popular motifs to adorn postcards bringing holiday greetings to loved ones in England and the United States. These late Victorian-era cards from our collection (c. 1890) are an excellent example of this avian tradition!

See more cards here https://ow.ly/Y27Y50Qljpx or in person at the .

  140 years ago, Arthur W. Mitchell was born in Roanoke, AL. In 1934, he became the first African American elected to Co...
12/22/2023

140 years ago, Arthur W. Mitchell was born in Roanoke, AL. In 1934, he became the first African American elected to Congress as a Democrat and represented Chicago’s First Congressional District from 1935 to 1943, during which he was the only African American member of Congress.

Mitchell is perhaps best known for spearheading the desegregation of interstate rail travel. While traveling from Chicago to Hot Springs, AR, by train in 1937, a conductor forced him out of first class (for which he had tickets) into a car designated for Black passengers. He sued the Illinois Central and Rock Island railroads and the Pullman Company under the Interstate Commerce Act, taking his case all the way to the US Supreme Court. In April 1941, the high court unanimously ruled in Mitchell v. United States et al. that Black passengers had the right to equal accommodations and treatment during interstate travel.

Learn more about Mitchell's congressional career in our latest blog post: https://ow.ly/O6q250Qljn5

Chicago's Polish theater scene has long helped preserve a sense Polishness (Polskość) among the city's Polish communitie...
12/20/2023

Chicago's Polish theater scene has long helped preserve a sense Polishness (Polskość) among the city's Polish communities. An actor from the Polish Theater of Chicago wore this costume (1997) while playing the Polish King Casimir III the Great (1310‒70) in the nativity play "Betlejem Polskie" ("Polish Bethlehem"), performed at the Holy Trinity High School Auditorium. Nativity plays are a Christian tradition in which the story of Jesus’s birth is recounted and are usually performed at Christmas time. In "Betlejem Polskie," people from Polish history visit the baby Jesus. You can see the costume and learn more about Polish Chicago’s theater scene in our exhibition "Back Home: Polish Chicago." https://ow.ly/p2KY50QkJnc

Watching any holiday movies this weekend? In our latest blog post, Jojo Galvan writes about the classic sequel "Home Alo...
12/15/2023

Watching any holiday movies this weekend? In our latest blog post, Jojo Galvan writes about the classic sequel "Home Alone 2," which, despite its subtitle "Lost in New York," had many scenes filmed in Chicago! Read the post: https://ow.ly/tc2950QiXzv

❄️Winter Holiday Hours❄️ CHM will be closed all day on December 24, December 25, and January 1. We will be open 9:30 a.m...
12/14/2023

❄️Winter Holiday Hours❄️ CHM will be closed all day on December 24, December 25, and January 1. We will be open 9:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. from Tuesday, December 26, through Saturday, December 30, and 12:00–5:00 p.m. on Sunday, December 31.

The Abakanowicz Research Center will be closed from Sunday, December 24, through Monday, January 1. Learn More https://ow.ly/V8tI50QhEB2 // A young child watches the festivities from a window during the Holiday Light Up Ceremony at Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago, November 23, 1997. ST-10001729-0038, Chicago Sun-Times collection, CHM

‘Tis the season to cozy up to your television, so we’re highlighting Kukla, Fran and Ollie, one of five programs produce...
12/13/2023

‘Tis the season to cozy up to your television, so we’re highlighting Kukla, Fran and Ollie, one of five programs produced in NBC’s Chicago studios that comprised the Chicago School of Television.

Who—or what—exactly were Kukla, Fran, and Ollie? TV viewers of a certain age know the answer, perhaps wistfully recalling the puppets Kukla, a clown, Ollie, full name Oliver J. Dragon, and their human pal Fran Allison, who visited their homes regularly from 1947 to 1957 via network TV. Kukla, Ollie, and their various friends, collectively known as the Kuklapolitans, were the creation of puppeteer Burr Tillstrom, a Chicago native.

In our latest blog post, CHM director of exhibitions Paul Durica writes about the Burr Tillstrom papers, a treasure trove of photographs, original sheet music, set designs, fan appreciation, and more at the . https://ow.ly/6v0H50QipLQ

Is present shopping giving you paralysis by analysis? 🎁 We got you! Check out our Chicago-themed gifts available now in ...
12/08/2023

Is present shopping giving you paralysis by analysis? 🎁 We got you! Check out our Chicago-themed gifts available now in our Museum Store, both online and on-site. If you're a Museum member, today [12/8] is also your last day to double your gift shop discount at the in-person or online store!

1. Pierogi by Zuza Zak https://ow.ly/OoZp50QgvvU
2. Chicago Neighborhood Icons Mug and Fire Dept. Coffee https://ow.ly/I4Tn50QgvyM // https://ow.ly/zSZB50QgvyW
3. Chicago History Museum & Flag Decal Set https://ow.ly/7OrW50QgvzC
4. Windy City Holiday Sweater https://ow.ly/tfGf50QgvEr
5. Pigeon Ornament https://ow.ly/hG4s50QgvEI
6. Chicago Icons Tote https://ow.ly/TomX50QgvF0

Happy Hanukkah from CHM!🕎 This hanukkiah on display in "Back Home: Polish Chicago" was made in Poland c. 1900 and used b...
12/07/2023

Happy Hanukkah from CHM!🕎 This hanukkiah on display in "Back Home: Polish Chicago" was made in Poland c. 1900 and used by the Sol and Bertha Leaf family in their home. A hanukkiah, or nine-pronged menorah, is a special candelabra used during the Jewish celebration of Hanukkah. Bertha brought it when she immigrated to America in 1907. Its style, which represents the biblical Garden of Eden, was popular at this time and features palm trees, grape leaves, and animals. The eight vessel-like pieces along its base are used to hold eight candles—one for each night of Hanukkah—and the single vessel to the right holds the shamash, or “helper” candle, which is used to light the others. The hanukkiah was passed from Sol and Bertha to their son, Marshall Leaf, and his wife Fredi. Fredi, who donated the hanukkiah to CHM in 2014, noted the hanukkiah was lovingly used by her in-laws for many years until it was later replaced by a midcentury modern design, though this beloved symbol of the old world remained in their home for many decades. // Hanukkiah, c. 1900. Metal. B. Buch/W.M.F., Warsaw, Poland. Collection of the Chicago History Museum, gift of Fredi Leaf. 2014.78.1. https://ow.ly/ST5350QgscV

  in 1907, MLB infielder Anthony Pietruszka, a.k.a.  , was born in Berwick, PA. His family moved to Chicago when he was ...
12/07/2023

in 1907, MLB infielder Anthony Pietruszka, a.k.a. , was born in Berwick, PA. His family moved to Chicago when he was five, and he attended Bowen High School on the city’s Southeast Side. This plaque on display in "Back Home: Polish Chicago" commemorates Piet's playing career, including nearly 300 games for the Chicago White Sox (1935‒37). It likely hung in his Southwest Side car dealership. At Tony Piet Pontiac City, customers could, “Shop for it anywhere, but buy it at Piet!” He also actively supported youth baseball in the neighborhood. Learn more about Chicago's Polish communities in . https://ow.ly/Oa1v50Qgrw9

December 6 marks the   of Bari, Bishop of Myra. Known for advocating for those experiencing financial need, St. Nicholas...
12/06/2023

December 6 marks the of Bari, Bishop of Myra. Known for advocating for those experiencing financial need, St. Nicholas’s legacy as the patron saint of children and the poor has become embodied through heritages of gift giving. Different gift giving traditions abound, with many children and families leaving stockings hung on Christmas Eve. In some European and Euro-American Christian households, this has translated to leaving shoes out on the eve of December 5 in anticipation of St. Nicholas filling them with small gifts and treats the next day—treats including candy! In our latest blog post, CHM curator of religion and community history Rebekah Coffman writes about the Chicago origins of candy manufacturer Leaf Brands Co. https://ow.ly/9sT350Qg1Wb

Al Capone. H. H. Holmes. Leopold and Loeb. For all its architectural marvels and cultural richness, Chicago has a darker...
11/29/2023

Al Capone. H. H. Holmes. Leopold and Loeb. For all its architectural marvels and cultural richness, Chicago has a darker side to its history–one that unfolds through infamous true crime cases.

In our latest blog post, Ayah Elkossei of the shares about our abundant resources for those fascinated by the city’s criminal past. The newly available True Crime LibGuide is a digital treasure trove crafted by CHM staff to help you explore our holdings, such as images, archives and manuscripts, and published materials. https://ow.ly/81IG50Qcu0B Content warning: Some of the resources discuss heinous acts of violence and sexual assault, which may be distressing or triggering.

Looking for the perfect present for the history lovers in your life? Give the gift of CHM membership this holiday season...
11/24/2023

Looking for the perfect present for the history lovers in your life? Give the gift of CHM membership this holiday season! From now through Saturday, January 6, all gift memberships are 20% off with code 23WIHOL. CHM members enjoy exclusive events, double discount weeks, and more! https://ow.ly/Iig150Q6w1M

Questions? Call Hannah Johnson, CHM member relations manager, at (312) 799-2113.

Happy Thanksgiving from the Chicago History Museum! What’s on your menu today?  This Clifton House menu from November 25...
11/23/2023

Happy Thanksgiving from the Chicago History Museum! What’s on your menu today?

This Clifton House menu from November 25, 1858, offers selections from North American and European cuisines. European-style highlights include “Goose Livers, Sauce” (possibly similar to foie gras), “Maccaroni, with a Ragout of Chicken Livers” (pasta with chicken liver sauce, or ragù fegatini di pollo, is popular in northern Italy, particularly Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna), and “Blance Mange” (blancmange). There are seafoods that we can presume were brought in from the East Coast, such as oysters, clams, and shad, a fish typically found along the Atlantic coast. Note the caution with which the shellfish were served—there are no raw offerings. Instead, the clams were stewed, and the oysters were served escalloped, fried, and in soup or an aspic.

The menu lists plenty of local game, such as venison, squirrels, prairie chickens, and ducks. Dessert offerings include Roman Punch, a semifrozen concoction that has champagne and orange juice as its primary ingredients and was notable for the floating crown of meringue that adorned the top of the drink. The pastry offerings are equally robust and include a Charlotte Russe, a French pastry particularly popular in the American South comprising mousse poured into a ladyfinger-lined cake mold and topped with either preserves or fresh fruit. See more menus https://g.co/arts/64TQg522DqdUFbK4A

  in 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, TX, by Lee Harvey Oswald. Kennedy was the first Catholi...
11/22/2023

in 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, TX, by Lee Harvey Oswald. Kennedy was the first Catholic US president and at 43, the youngest person to be elected president. The Kennedy family had ties to Chicago as owners of Merchandise Mart for over 50 years, and JFK visited the city numerous times, including attending the 1956 Democratic National Convention. In 1960, he participated in the presidential debate televised from WBBM-TV, CBS Chicago, and, according to political lore, it was mayor Richard J. Daley who worked the legendary Democratic machine on his behalf to win the election. As president, JFK visited Chicago in October 1962 to speak at the Cook County Democratic dinner at the Arie Crown Theater and again in March 1963 to officially dedicate O'Hare International Airport.

In the days following Kennedy's death, Chicagoans watched in shock and grief along with the rest of the world as Oswald himself was shot and killed in Dallas by Chicago native Jack Ruby and the state funeral of the second US president to be assassinated took place. https://ow.ly/gkqK50Q9XuI

  in 1969, photographer Declan Haun (1937–94) was in Washington, DC, capturing the Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam ...
11/15/2023

in 1969, photographer Declan Haun (1937–94) was in Washington, DC, capturing the Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam activities taking place. During the 1960s, Haun worked first as a staff photographer for the "Charlotte Observer" in North Carolina and later in Chicago as a freelancer for the picture agency Black Star. Haun’s ability to communicate the emotional tenor of the times in his photographs earned him contracts with leading national magazines, such as "Life," "Newsweek," and the "Saturday Evening Post."

These photographs are part of the Declan Haun Archive, which CHM acquired through the generosity of the photographer’s estate in 2002. The archive includes most of Haun’s original negatives, slides, personal and professional papers, and a selection of his original prints. See more of Declan Haun’s images: https://ow.ly/YFL750Q7UUC

Today marks Poland's National Independence Day, which commemorates Poland becoming an independent nation again in 1918 a...
11/11/2023

Today marks Poland's National Independence Day, which commemorates Poland becoming an independent nation again in 1918 after World War I and the collapse of the Russian, German, and Austro-Hungarian Empires. In the 19th century, Polish immigrants in Chicago looked to each other for support and aid, which resulted in the creation of fraternal groups. The three major national organizations were based in Chicago: Polish Roman Catholic Union of America (1873), Polish National Alliance (1880), and Polish Women’s Alliance (1898). They organized support for the Polish independence movement and wartime relief for the Polish people. Learn more about these organizations and others in "Back Home: Polish Chicago." https://ow.ly/c49A50Q6vCE

“The whole idea of the American Indian is a concept that was invented by Europeans to designate the native people from N...
11/08/2023

“The whole idea of the American Indian is a concept that was invented by Europeans to designate the native people from North America. . . . Partly it’s a myth. The American Indian is a myth that doesn’t exist. Poncas exist. Ojibwe people exist. Seminoles exist. Cherokees exist.”

In November 1971, Studs Terkel spoke with Roger Buffalohead, a Ponca tribe member and educator, scholar, and activist, about Native American history and creating space at universities to study Indigenous history from the Indigenous perspective. In their conversation, they discuss how history is interpreted, rationalized, and often distorted through myths that persist into contemporary times. Buffalohead points out that more than 400 distinct cultures in North America were reduced to merely a few symbols and often discussed only in terms of their material social contributions. Listen to the full conversation:
https://ow.ly/RYov50Q5H9g // Roger Buffalohead, the Institute of the American West photograph collection,1886‒1985. Courtesy of the University of Utah, J. Willard Marriott Library.

In observance of Thanksgiving, the Chicago History Museum will close at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, November 22, and will re...
11/06/2023

In observance of Thanksgiving, the Chicago History Museum will close at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, November 22, and will reopen on Friday, November 24. The Abakanowicz Research Center will be closed starting Wednesday, November 22, and will reopen on Tuesday, November 28. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. https://ow.ly/XP9C50Q45C6

Don't clown around—it's the last weekend to experience "Haunted Dolls 2: The Riddles of the Wayward Spirit"! Find the do...
11/03/2023

Don't clown around—it's the last weekend to experience "Haunted Dolls 2: The Riddles of the Wayward Spirit"! Find the dolls, solve the riddles with your knowledge of Chicago history, and stop the wayward spirit's sinister plan before Sunday, 11/5. https://ow.ly/8m0s50Q40Qo // Clown doll, c. 1930. Gift of Lucy Fairbanks. 1989.668.1.

On November 1 and 2,  ***os (Day of the Dead) is celebrated in Mexico. Renowned for bright, elaborate ofrendas (altars) ...
11/01/2023

On November 1 and 2, ***os (Day of the Dead) is celebrated in Mexico. Renowned for bright, elaborate ofrendas (altars) installed in homes and businesses, the holiday is a time of remembrance, celebration, and veneration for those who have passed. On a typical ofrenda one can expect to find things like calaveras (sugar skulls), cempazúchitl (marigold flowers), pan de mu**to (bread for the dead), and other mementos that represent and honor those to whom the ofrenda is dedicated, such as this tortillera (tortilla maker) figurine (c. 1990) by Ms. Elena Duran. Made out of cardboard and painted by hand, it depicts another ancestral tradition in Mexican culture passed down from generation to generation—the art of handmade corn tortillas. Today, Día de los Mu***os celebrations across Chicago are plentiful and serve as a visual reminder of the rapid growth of the city’s Mexican American population. https://ow.ly/bRF750Q363M

Happy Halloween! Chicago's Graceland Cemetery is many things, such as a certified arboretum and a masterclass example of...
10/31/2023

Happy Halloween! Chicago's Graceland Cemetery is many things, such as a certified arboretum and a masterclass example of the garden cemetery movement popularized across the United States in the 19th century. But most notably to Chicagoans, the hallowed grounds are the final resting place for an extensive list of Chicago elites and eccentrics, including Louis Henri Sullivan, Potter and Bertha Honoré Palmer, Charles Wacker, and Daniel H. Burnham, who is buried alongside his wife, Margaret, on their own private island inside the cemetery. Learn more in our latest blog post: https://ow.ly/eNvm50Q2Oga

Address

1601 N Clark Street
Chicago, IL
60614

Opening Hours

Monday 9:30am - 4:30pm
Tuesday 9:30am - 4:30pm
Wednesday 9:30am - 4:30pm
Thursday 9:30am - 4:30pm
Friday 9:30am - 4:30pm
Saturday 9:30am - 4:30pm
Sunday 12pm - 5pm

Telephone

(312) 642-4600

Website

https://shop.chicagohistory.org/

Alerts

Be the first to know and let us send you an email when Chicago History Museum posts news and promotions. Your email address will not be used for any other purpose, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Contact The Museum

Send a message to Chicago History Museum:

Videos

Share

Nearby museums


Other Chicago museums

Show All