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About the Collection

Over 22 Million Chicago and U.S. History Artifacts and Documents

The Museum's collection of over 22 million artifacts and documents is a rich source for the study of the history of Chicago as metropolitan urban center that spans five counties, as part of the state of Illinois, and as a part of the broader history of the United States.

Explore the research resources available in each of our eight main collection areas:

> Explore the collection

> Architecture

> Archives and Manuscripts (includes Radio, Oral History, and Sound Recordings)

> Books and other Published Materials

> Costumes and Textiles

> Decorative and Industrial Arts

> Fine Arts (includes Paintings, Sculpture, and Works-On-Paper)

> Prints and Photographs (includes Film and Video)


Collecting Scope

The Museum's collecting scope currently emphasizes five areas.

Living in the Metropolitan Area

Demographic change, family life, communities, neighborhoods, religious life, gender, sports, recreation, class, suburbs, leisure, crime, race, ethnicity, and education

Working in the Metropolitan Area

The changing economic base of the city, business, manufacturing, labor, transportation, and scientific and technological development

Governing the Metropolitan Area

Electoral politics, citizen action movements, community organizing, and urban planning

The Built Environment

Architecture in its broadest social and economic context, going beyond great buildings and architects.

Individuals and Ideas

Art, literature, music, and philosophy produced by individuals in the metropolitan area, particularly as reflections on the interpretations of this area

> Download the Chicago History Museum's Collections Policy (PDF, 545 KB)

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