Chicago History Minute
In December of 1961, Superintendent of Schools Benjamin C. Willis creates his infamous "Willis Wagons" to help manage the overcrowding of racially and ethnically divided schools. > Learn more
Benjamin Green-Field Gallery
Open Saturday, October 19, 2013 to December 8, 2013
In September 2011, the U.S. Congress bestowed the Congressional Gold Medal on the Japanese American World War II veterans who served in the 100th Infantry Battalion, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and the Military Intelligence Service. These men volunteered to serve their country in battle, despite the government’s forcible detention of thousands of Americans of Japanese ancestry.
> Learn more
Open through Sunday, January 5, 2014
Don't miss this opportunity to view a rare commemorative copy of the Emancipation Proclamation signed by Abraham Lincoln. Issued by the president in 1863, this document changed the course of American history.
Presented in partnership with the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum in Springfield, Illinois.
This exhibition is sponsored by Exelon.
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 January 5, 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
Costume and Textile Gallery
Siam: The Queen and the White City
Open through March 2, 2014
This year marks the 120th anniversary of Chicago’s World’s Columbian Exposition, an event that drew exhibits and visitors from around the world. Siam: The Queen and the White City honors Queen Savang Vadanafor her contributions in organizing her country’s displays for the fair’s Woman’s Building. Chicagoan Bertha Honore Palmer, as chair of the Board of Lady Managers, received an exquisite album from the Queen, now part of this charming exhibition that also features Siamese textiles, photographs, and other items.
Siam: the Queen and the White City was developed in partnership with the Queen Savang Vadhana Foundation and the Royal Thai government.
KPMG and Paul and Katherine Snyder Community Gallery
Vivian Maier's Chicago
Open through January 5, 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 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 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
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
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.
The Naphtali ben Yakov Pritzker American History
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
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
Konen Family Children's Gallery
Use your five senses to explore Chicago, uncover the past, and discover that history is all around you. The Konen Family Children's Gallery invites families to ride a high-wheel bicycle, hear the Great Chicago Fire, catch a fly ball at Comiskey Park, smell the city's past, and be a Chicago-style hot dog.
Tawani Foundation Diorama Hall
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