The Guild of the Chicago History Museum

The Guild of the Chicago History Museum Founded as a women's board in 1948, the Guild supports a variety of the Chicago History Museum’s needs and provides funding for many major projects.
The Guild of the Chicago History Museum is a women's board dedicated to supporting a wide range of projects at the Chicago History Museum.
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HISTORY OF THE GUILD The Chicago Historical Society was founded in 1856, nineteen years after Chicago was incorporated as a city, and is Chicago’s oldest cultural institution. More than 150 years later, the Chicago History Museum continues its role as a major urban history center committed to serving its many visitors with exhibitions, programs and publications that educate and respond to their varied needs and interests. In 1948, the Board of Trustees of the Chicago Historical Society voted to establish a women’s committee for the Museum. Board member Jean Morton Cudahy (Mrs. Joseph M. Cudahy, Jr.) convened a meeting of civic leaders at her home on December 10, 1948. This meeting became the inception of the support group now known as The Guild of the Chicago Historical Society. The Chicago Historical Society’s director, Paul M. Angle, outlined the purposes of The Guild to be as follows: “To further public interest in the Chicago Historical Society and to encourage and promote the general activities of the Society; to create a friendly atmosphere for special events; to assist in entertaining distinguished visitors at the Museum or in private houses.” Gary T. Johnson, the current president, says “The Guild always has been the Museum’s best friend.” At the urging of Mrs. Philip K. Wrigley, The Guild established the Council of Costume Associates in April 1974 for members and non-members of The Guild whose interests focused primarily on the Society’s costume collection. The Guild is committed to assisting with a variety of the Chicago History Museum’s needs and provides funding for many major projects. From 1967 to 1975, it contributed over $50,000 to the campaign to build a new wing for the Museum. In a modernization project launched in 1985, The Guild raised over one million dollars, making it the largest support group donor to the campaign. To honor this achievement, the original 1932 Georgian-style building was dedicated to The Guild. The Guild continues to focus on promoting greater interest in the Chicago History Museum’s programs and exhibitions. The Guild Exhibition Development Fund, established in 1997, helps to fund groundbreaking exhibitions at the Museum. Guild funds have also supported the Digital Photography Studio and the Museum’s Card Catalogue Conversion Project. In 2008, The Guild completed a pledge of a quarter of a million dollars to underwrite Chicago: Crossroads of America - the catalogue for the new Chicago History Galleries that were installed in conjunction with the Museum’s 150th Anniversary and the major renovation that took place at the time. In 2010, The Guild completed another $250,000 campaign for the design and renovation of the North & Clark Café Complex and The Guild Room. The Guild continues to be a major underwriter for a number of important initiatives, including Big Picture, an exhibition of paintings in Chicago, the creation of the Lincoln Bicentennial Teen Council in honor of the 2009 Year of Lincoln, and the Great Fire web application. As a leader among women’s boards in the city of Chicago, in May 2012 The Guild hosted an historic luncheon for 18 women’s boards serving Chicago’s cultural community. A plaque commemorating this historic event is on permanent display in The Guild Room. A dynamic group of over 350 women, The Guild today continues to provide strong support to the Chicago History Museum as it pursues its educational mission.

03/09/2020

From Chicago Classic Magazine
CHM Guild Presents Ali Velshi

BY JUDY CARMACK BROSS

The first stop in Chicago for Emmy-winning Global correspondent, MSNBC Anchor and author Ali Velshi is always what he calls his favorite museum in the world, the Chicago History Museum. And on March 12 Velshi will be sharing this favorite destination with a roomful of Guild Gala guests anticipating his insights into the 2020 presidential elections and how to decipher the 24-hour news cycle.


Ali Velshi.

When we caught up with Velshi, he compared his work as a journalist with the work of a museum—interpreting for people what they are seeing: “At first I was not a ‘museum guy’—I didn’t feel smart enough. But I am passionate about telling stories and fell in love with the History Museum because of the way it tells stories, whether it’s the Chicago fire, Lincoln, or the great car in the lobby. After I first visited the Museum I contacted the President Gary Johnson and asked what I could do,” Velshi shares.
He continues, “My job is to tell people the right stuff about what is going on in the world and create an access point because we are all flooded with news, I feel that the Museum interprets Chicago in that way, and I applaud the recent exhibits ‘Out in Chicago’ and ‘American Medina’ on Muslim Chicagoans.”
For the past three decades, Velshi has considered himself a tremendous fan of the Windy City, always looking for any excuse to visit. He sees in it many similarities to Toronto, where he grew up: the lakefront, the geography, and its waves of immigration.
Although he has the parameters for his talk, Velshi, now a CHM board member, will wait until the results of Super Tuesday to put together his final remarks: “I speak on larger issues such as inequality and disenfranchisement and where we are now, and my concern for the current splintering of our society. For me, I like asking questions of viewers and people I meet such as at the Guild—I want their insight into what they think is going on.”


Velshi in Las Vegas at the recent Nevada caucus.



The interviewer in action.

An award-winning journalist, author, MSNBC anchor, and business correspondent for NBC News and MSNBC, Velshi has covered domestic, global, and economic issues, including the spread and defeat of ISIS, the refugee crisis, the Iran nuclear deal, and the global financial crisis for both networks.
The author of Gimme My Money Back: Your Guide to Beating the Financial Crisis and How to Speak Money: The Language and Knowledge You Need Now, co-authored by long-time friend and co-anchor Christine Romans, Velshi is currently at work on a new book, studying whether capitalism is, in fact, broken, and what needs to be done to fix it. “If your sink is leaking, you would call a plumber, not get rid of all your plumbing. You are not against plumbing—you just want it fixed,” he explains. “I am hoping to write from a higher level, not talking about what isn’t working but individual chapters on best practices in areas like healthcare, climate change, and gender issues. All this yelling now is so pointless—let’s discuss.”


Velshi speaking.

Next month’s CHM will provide that very opportunity: a chance to hear the anchor and author tackle the current state of affairs. Those purchasing patron tickets may receive, on a first come first serve basis, a tour of the NBC studios with Velshi.
Known for offering great events such as An Evening of Intrigue, with CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson, the Guild of the Chicago History Museum has nearly 300 members. Linda Celesia and Karen Zupko are this year’s gala chairs.


Bob and Linda Sullivan with Valerie Plame Wilson (center). Photo by Robert Carl.



From the Guild Spy Gala. Photo by Robert Carl.



David Hamel and Erica Meyer at the 70th anniversary gala. Photo by Sean Sue Photography.

The Guild supports the museum’s goals through education, service, and fundraising. At 72 years old, it is the museum’s oldest support organization and has done a masterful job in sharing Chicago’s stories since Mrs. Joseph M. Cudahy, Jr. convened a meeting of civic leaders in her home in 1948. Current President Kate Arias follows in the footsteps of legendary Chicago leaders such as Florence Lowden Miller, Clare Dedmon, Louise Smith, Barbara Potter, Lucia Uihlein, Nin Florian, and in recent years, Sally Sprowl, Jean Haider, Erica Meyer, Joan Werhane, Peggy Snorf, and Libbet Richter.
We talked this week with Nancy Robinson, a past president not only about her term of office (2004-2006) but also about when she first fell in love with the Chicago History Museum, then the Chicago Historical Society. Her enthusiasm about this life long love came forth in each word she said: “I attended North Shore Country Day School where I think we spent the whole year studying Abraham Lincoln. One of the mothers, Elaine Madlener, made sure we had many trips to the Historical Society to see its amazing Lincoln collection as well as to Springfield where we met Adlai Stevenson, who was Governor at the time and gave us little pins. It was years later that I learned she was also a president of the Guild.”
“The Guild has always been focused on the changing history of Chicago, promoting it, and learning more about its neighborhoods,” she continues. “My first year as President was an amazing time for the Guild and for the museum as well. The museum itself was closed except for the offices and board room on the 3rd floor. We had to plan all activities as a way a great opportunity to learn more about our city.”
At the end of her second year of her term as president, Gary Johnson became a part of the Historical Society and his vision transformed it into the History Museum. A history major and Rhodes Scholar, Johnson was also a lawyer and businessman with many contacts in the city. Robinson shares that she felt lucky to be his primer to the Guild. She recalls, “The museum opened again and the Guild hosted a gala in the new Chicago Room, with Judy Konen and Erica Meyer as chairs, all of us dancing to the music of Stanley Paul.” Potter Palmer and Erica Meyer contributed to Stanley Paul’s entertainment writing a “musical history” of the city as well as a group of original songs with lyrics about the city.
Another very important happening Robinson shared was the funding of the catalogue for the Chicago: Crossroads of America exhibition, which she described as a huge undertaking for the Guild. “We launched a very successful campaign with the help of every board member. Libbet Richter, with her public relations skills, was extremely helpful. I invited John Rowe, who had just taken over as head of the Board of Trustees, to our Annual Meeting at The Casino. He said he would stop by on his way to a business meeting but couldn’t stay more than a few minutes. He was surprised and delighted to see that we had well over 100 enthusiastic members in attendance and asked if he could say a few words to help welcome them.”


John Cartland, Nancy Robinson, and Karen and Tom Howell. Photo by Sean Sue Photography.



Lynn Orschel at a past gala. Photo by Sean Sue Photography.

Lynn Orschel, a longtime Guild member and one of the wisest women in town, told us: “I have long felt that the membership involves many outstanding women who are interested in the fascinating city and history that is Chicago. Also, we are committed to supporting the countless groups of Chicago youngsters who learn so much from our varied and wonderful collections. It warms my heart to see these young people hurrying off their school buses and rushing to learn about our illustrious history. Many of these youngsters have never been to such an institution and that gives me great pleasure that we can facilitate this in a small way.”
The programs, special events, and fundraising benefits are, indeed, very special. They all revolve around our city and generate much-needed funds for both the museum and its Guild.
Lastly, we must not overlook our volunteer activities. Many members serve as docents. One of our projects has been serving as judges for the Chicago History Fair: we judge and review history and scientific exhibits all over the city. This culminates in the Spark event where the winners are proudly showcased.

For further information about the March 12 Guild Gala, contact Odette Barrientos at [email protected] or 312-799-2112.

02/24/2020
A Message from Ali Velshi

Get your tickets for this wonderful event and fundraiser on March 12, 2020! Tix online now: chicagohistory.org/an-evening-with-ali-velshi/

The Guild of the Chicago History Museum's cover photo
08/29/2018

The Guild of the Chicago History Museum's cover photo

The March 31 benefit was a huge success.
04/06/2017

The March 31 benefit was a huge success.

Congratulations to the Chicago History Museum!
04/27/2016

Congratulations to the Chicago History Museum!

We are thrilled to announce that the Institute of Museum and Library Services has named the Chicago History Museum as one of the ten winners of the 2016 National Medal for Museum and Library Service! Many thanks to the people of Chicago for your support—we will proudly represent you at the upcoming award ceremony in Washington, DC. To learn more about the 2016 honorees, visit https://www.imls.gov/2016-medals

Congratulations to the Chicago History Museum for being a National Medal finalist. Share your favorite stories about the...
03/17/2016

Congratulations to the Chicago History Museum for being a National Medal finalist. Share your favorite stories about the Museum today on the IMLS page!

The Museum is honored to be a finalist for the 2016 #NationalMedal awarded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The award is the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries that demonstrate extraordinary and innovative approaches to public service and are making a difference for individuals, families, and communities.

What’s your favorite memory, photograph, or fact about the Chicago History Museum? IMLS is featuring stories about us today, so head over to their page to share! https://www.facebook.com/USIMLS

Last Wednesday the Guild toasted the holiday season at the annual holiday luncheon at The Casino. Guests enjoyed a fanta...
12/09/2015

Last Wednesday the Guild toasted the holiday season at the annual holiday luncheon at The Casino. Guests enjoyed a fantastic performance from the Chicago Opera Theater.

Happy Holidays to all!

Chicago History Museum
12/01/2015
Chicago History Museum

Chicago History Museum

Giving Tuesday is here!

Today, join the global movement of more than 10,000 organizations by showing your support for the Chicago History Museum. Your contribution of any amount helps the Museum preserve our collection of timeless artifacts, create exciting new exhibitions, and offer free admission to more than 60,000 schoolchildren each year. Remember to share your generous gesture on social media using #GivingTuesday.

Learn more at chicagohistory.org/support/giving-tuesday

The Guild of the Chicago History Museum's cover photo
11/04/2015

The Guild of the Chicago History Museum's cover photo

Last Friday the Guild celebrated the opening of the Chicago History Museum's newest exhibition, Chicago Authored! Member...
10/22/2015

Last Friday the Guild celebrated the opening of the Chicago History Museum's newest exhibition, Chicago Authored! Members and guests enjoyed an exclusive tour of the exhibition, Chicago-themed hors d'ouevres and cocktails, and a lively performance in the newly renovated Robert R. McCormick Theater.

Thank you to all sponsors and attendees for a fabulous evening!

Photos by James Warden of Five Lake Arts.

From backrooms to courtrooms, the brutal murder of Dr. Patrick Henry Cronin uncovered a web of intrigue, secrecy, and co...
09/12/2015

From backrooms to courtrooms, the brutal murder of Dr. Patrick Henry Cronin uncovered a web of intrigue, secrecy, and corruption that stretched far beyond 19th century Chicago. Join us on Thursday, September 17th to hear Dr. Gillian O'Brien talk about the sensational 1889 murder - much of which she researched within the Museum's own archive!

And don't forget - bring your favorite books about Chicago or by Chicago authors to donate for the October 16th fundraiser - it's a surprise!

For more information on Dr. Gillian O'Brien and her new book, "Blood Runs Green: The Murder That Transfixed Gilded Age Chicago," click here: http://www.npr.org/2015/03/14/392783110/murder-city-earns-its-name-in-blood-runs-green

A few more photos from the unveiling of the Guild Gallery at the Chicago History Museum. Be sure to try the interactive ...
07/08/2015

A few more photos from the unveiling of the Guild Gallery at the Chicago History Museum. Be sure to try the interactive Fifth Star Challenge and see the new film, The Great Chicago Adventure, on your next visit. Thank you to all Guild members who made this beautiful Gallery a possibility!

The Guild was thrilled to be part of the unveiling of the new Guild Gallery at the Chicago History Museum!
07/06/2015

The Guild was thrilled to be part of the unveiling of the new Guild Gallery at the Chicago History Museum!

On June 9th, Guild members celebrated the 125th anniversary of the American Horticultural Society at the Chicago Botanic...
06/30/2015

On June 9th, Guild members celebrated the 125th anniversary of the American Horticultural Society at the Chicago Botanic Garden with a lovely jazz concert, tram ride, and lunch. Such a beautiful way to kick off the summer! Photos by James Warden, Five Lake Arts.

Frances Willard: Temperance advocate and prohibition supporter; straight-laced progressive, free-wheeling conservative, ...
03/17/2015

Frances Willard: Temperance advocate and prohibition supporter; straight-laced progressive, free-wheeling conservative, radical. The Guild celebrated International Women’s History Month by hearing the true story of Evanston’s most famous citizen and one of the world’s most influential women.

Lori Osborne, archivist at the Evanston History Center and Director of the Evanston Women’s History Project, presented the inside story on F.E.W.

Photos by James Warden, Five Lake Arts

Frances Willard: Temperance advocate and prohibition supporter; straight-laced progressive, free-wheeling conservative, radical. The Guild celebrated International Women’s History Month by hearing the true story of Evanston’s most famous citizen and one of the world’s most influential women.

Lori Osborne, archivist at the Evanston History Center and Director of the Evanston Women’s History Project, presented the inside story on F.E.W.

Photos by James Warden, Five Lake Arts

One could argue that Chicago history began in a saloon, the Sauganash Hotel, where Chicago’s first election was held in ...
03/17/2015

One could argue that Chicago history began in a saloon, the Sauganash Hotel, where Chicago’s first election was held in 1833. Chicagoans ever since have created a sense of identity in these key “third places.”

Northwestern professor and Newberry lecturer, Bill Savage, discussed how race, ethnicity, gender, and class get constructed along with cold beers, exotic cocktails, and the occasional “free lunch.”

Photos by James Warden, Five Lake Arts

One could argue that Chicago history began in a saloon, the Sauganash Hotel, where Chicago’s first election was held in 1833. Chicagoans ever since have created a sense of identity in these key “third places.”

Northwestern professor and Newberry lecturer, Bill Savage, discussed how race, ethnicity, gender, and class get constructed along with cold beers, exotic cocktails, and the occasional “free lunch.”

Photos by James Warden, Five Lake Arts

Lester Munson, senior writer and legal analyst for ESPN, adjunct instructor at Northwestern Medill School of Journalism,...
03/17/2015

Lester Munson, senior writer and legal analyst for ESPN, adjunct instructor at Northwestern Medill School of Journalism, and our favorite panelist on WFMT, presented his inside views of Chicago’s sports scene.

Photos by James Warden, Five Lake Arts

Lester Munson, senior writer and legal analyst for ESPN, adjunct instructor at Northwestern Medill School of Journalism, and our favorite panelist on WFMT, presented his inside views of Chicago’s sports scene.

Photos by James Warden, Five Lake Arts

Guild member got into the spirit with the inspiring holiday readings of Michael Halberstam, co-founder of The Writers Th...
01/20/2015

Guild member got into the spirit with the inspiring holiday readings of Michael Halberstam, co-founder of The Writers Theatre in Glencoe. He has won numerous theatrical awards and directed over thirty-five productions. In addition, Mr. Halberstam brought us up-to-date on the new Jeannie Gang Writers Theatre building.

Guild member got into the spirit with the inspiring holiday readings of Michael Halberstam, co-founder of The Writers Theatre in Glencoe. He has won numerous theatrical awards and directed over thirty-five productions. In addition, Mr. Halberstam brought us up-to-date on the new Jeannie Gang Writers Theatre building.

In 1968, everything seemed to matter and little that had seemed normal could be taken for granted. Upheaval was everywhe...
01/20/2015

In 1968, everything seemed to matter and little that had seemed normal could be taken for granted. Upheaval was everywhere, change raging across the world and throughout society. The press of current events made it difficult for artists to remain sheltered in their studios. But how could art engage with these troubled times?

Paula Wisotzki, art history professor at Loyola University Chicago, explored artists’ varied responses to the year’s tumultuous events, focusing especially on developments in our own City of Chicago. Also, Guild members took the opportunity to tour The 1968 Exhibit with curator Joy Bivins!

In 1968, everything seemed to matter and little that had seemed normal could be taken for granted. Upheaval was everywhere, change raging across the world and throughout society. The press of current events made it difficult for artists to remain sheltered in their studios. But how could art engage with these troubled times?

Paula Wisotzki, art history professor at Loyola University Chicago, explored artists’ varied responses to the year’s tumultuous events, focusing especially on developments in our own City of Chicago. Also, Guild members took the opportunity to tour The 1968 Exhibit with curator Joy Bivins!

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