Guide to Chicago History Museum. Beginning January 10, 2017, the Chicago History Museum will be free to Illinois residents from every Tuesday from 12:30pm–7:30 p.m.
Regular General Admission: Adults: $16 with audio tours, Seniors (65+): $14 with audio tours, Students (13–22 with ID): $14 with audio tours, Free for children (age 12 and younger), Free for active duty military personnel (ID required). Chicago residents get a $2 discount.
Location: 1601 N Clark St., 312-642-4600
The main thing with this museum is that general admission includes the whole museum.
Public exhibition tours include gallery overviews and highlights, and last less than an hour. Tour topics vary; currently tours are being offered for Chicago: Crossroads of America.
Public tours are free with Museum admission and occur nearly each day of the week. Contact 312-642-4600 to confirm the time and topic for the day of your visit.
Enhance your visit with an audio experience. The Chicago History Museum app includes five tours, two of which are available in Spanish, as well as rotating selections for temporary exhibitions. iPods preloaded with all of the tours are included with general admission. You may also purchase the app for your personal device. It’s available for iPhone and Android for only $1.99.
The Great Chicago Adventure
A new film presentation that transports visitors through major events and sites in Chicago’s history including the Great Chicago Fire, World’s Columbian Exposition, Maxwell Street in the 1950s, a view from an I-beam of the Sears Tower in the 1970s. Relive Chicago sports victories, President Obama’s Grant Park victory speech. The film runs 27 minutes; free with Museum admission. Please note: Screening times may be limited due to private events.
Encyclopedia of Chicago and The Great Chicago Fire & The Web of Memory
The Chicago History Museum’s website is home to the fabulous Encyclopedia of Chicago which this website uses frequently when researching background info for posts.
Equally fascinating is the Chicago History Museums website The Great Chicago Fire. This website contains photos and images from before, during and after the fire.
About the Chicago History Museum
Founded in 1856 and incorporated in 1857 the Chicago Historical Society opened its first building at the corner of Dearborn and Ontario Streets.
That building and the most of the collection, however, burned during the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. After three years and a second fire that destroyed most of the remaining collection, the Society renewed its operations. Occupying temporary buildings on the same site until 1896, the organization built a massive stone edifice designed by Henry Ives Cobb, which housed the Gilpin Library and exhibition spaces.
In 1920, the Society purchased thousands of manuscripts and hundreds of paintings and historical artifacts from the estate of Charles F. Gunther, including the bed on which Abraham Lincoln died and George Washington’s compass. In the late 1920s, the trustees began planning a new $1 million museum to house its growing collection and to celebrate the city’s centennial. Designed by Graham, Anderson, Probst & White, the Georgian colonial building opened in 1932 in Lincoln Park at Clark Street at North Avenue. That building, with various additions, renovations, and improvements, has served as the organization’s home ever since.
In 1972, the Society unveiled a modern limestone addition by Alfred Shaw and Associates. In 1988, Holabird and Root “wrapped” the limestone addition in a red brick modern adaptation of the 1932 building and added underground storage and new gallery spaces.
In February 2006, the Chicago Historical Society announced its new name: The Chicago History Museum. Later that year, the Museum celebrated a grand re-opening, unveiling a dramatic new lobby and redesigned exhibition spaces. Signature exhibitions such as Chicago: Crossroads of America and Sensing Chicago debuted, while an old favorite, Imagining Chicago: The Dioramas, was restored and updated.
The Museum continues to share the stories of the city and its people through exhibitions, programs, publications, and a website. Thousands of school groups from Chicago and the surrounding area visit annually. The Research Center serves thousands each year, from schoolchildren working on History Fair projects to PhD students writing dissertations to filmmakers researching documentaries.
The Chicago History Museum gratefully acknowledges the support of the Chicago Park District on behalf of the people of Chicago.