Home | Plan a Visit | Exhibitions


Benjamin Green-Field Gallery

Railroaders: Jack Delano's Homefront Photography

Open through August 10, 2015

Soldiers and civilians, food and supplies, fuel and raw materials—everything moved by rail during World War II (1941–45). America’s railroads were critical to the war effort, and the Office of War Information assigned photographer Jack Delano the job of telling the nation’s rail story in pictures. He focused his lens on the railroaders who kept the industry running, the men and women whose demanding jobs and long hours demonstrated the sacrifices needed to win the war. During the assignment, Delano captured three thousand images, two-thirds in Chicago—the heart of the nation’s rail industry.

> Learn more

Current Exhibitions


The Bessie Green-Field Warshawsky Gallery, The Mazza Foundation Gallery, and the Skyline Gallery of The Pritzker Foundation Special Exhibitions Wing

Inspiring Beauty: 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair

Open through May 11, 2014

Relive the experience of the Ebony Fashion Fair in this one-of-a-kind exhibition. Explore its fifty-year history and discover how Eunice Johnson overcame adversity to bring couture fashion to African American communities, while raising millions of dollars for charity. More than sixty garments, including works by Oscar de la Renta, Christian Dior, Stephen Burrows, Yves Saint Laurent, and Patrick Kelly help tell the story of this world-renowned fashion show and its redefinition of American beauty.

> Learn more


KPMG and Paul and Katherine Snyder Community Gallery

Vivian Maier's Chicago

Continuing through summer 2014

Come witness the life work of a nanny turned photographer that wowed the world with breathtaking images of everyday life in Urban America. Discover Chicago faces and neighborhoods of the 1960s and 1970s from an entirely new vantage point.

> Learn more


Sanger P. Robinson Gallery

Lincoln's Chicago

Lincoln was a frequent visitor to Chicago; The city became his second home and political headquarters during his rise to prominence. This gallery features portraits of Lincoln’s contemporaries with lithograph views of Chicago created in the 1860s. The pairings provide a glimpse of the city that Lincoln knew—a dynamic young metropolis on the verge of greatness.

The McCormick Foundation

The McCormick Foundation is the lead exhibition sponsor of Lincoln’s Chicago. Education funding for Lincoln’s Chicago is provided by JP Morgan Chase and the Terra Foundation for American Art.  




Abraham Lincoln

As president, Abraham Lincoln faced our nation’s greatest crisis—the Civil War. His resolve to save the Union and radical decision to end slavery transformed America. This intimate exhibition highlights Lincoln’s election in 1860, his leadership during the Civil War, and his tragic assassination. Together these stories honor a great leader whose legacy endures.

The Abraham Lincoln installation is supported by a gift from The Gupta Family with additional support from The Joyce Foundation in honor of Lawrence N. Hansen.


Kovler Family Lobby

Unexpected Chicago

What’s the most surprising thing about a collection made up of millions artifacts? A single artifact! This world-class collection holds the second largest costume collection in the world including clothing and accessories as well as thousands of linear feet of archives and manuscripts that make up the equivalent of forty-nine football fields or twelve Willis Towers. Unexpected Chicago is a way to reveal unexpected treasures of Chicago history a single artifact at a time.

> Learn more about Unexpected Chicago

Unexpected Chicago is supported by a gift from The Jacob and Rosaline Cohn Foundation.

Permanent Exhibitions

Facing Freedom

The Naphtali ben Yakov Pritzker American History Wing

Facing Freedom

What does freedom mean? To whom should freedom be extended? How are denied rights gained? These are some of the questions the new American history exhibition explores. Based on the central idea that the history of the United States has been shaped by conflicts over what it means to be free, this new exhibition uses images, artifacts, and interactivity to explore familiar and not-so-familiar stories from the nation’s past. From women's suffrage and the formation of unions, to Japanese internment, to a local school boycott, the exhibition highlights some of the ways Americans have struggled over the true meaning of freedom.


The Exelon Wing

Chicago: Crossroads of America

Discover the city's vast history in Chicago: Crossroads of America. Whether you are interested in Chicago's changing economy, challenging crises, diverse neighborhoods, groundbreaking innovations, or lively cultural scene, this exhibition is a must see!

> Learn more about Crossroads and preview highlights



Tawani Foundation Diorama Hall

The Dioramas

Our much-loved dioramas have been restored and are better than ever! Visit the Tawani Foundation Diorama Hall to learn the story of Chicago's rise from a desolate frontier outpost in 1804 to the bustling city that hosted the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893. Engaging details invite you to look closely and put history into a larger context.



This series of building-wide installations promises to surprise you from the moment you step in the door. Highlights include a 1978 Chevrolet Monte Carlo lowrider, souvenirs from Chicago's world's fairs, and Abraham Lincoln's deathbed.

> View the lowrider video

Document Actions