Free Northern District of Illinois Court History Museum
Where: Everett McKinley Dirksen U.S. Courthouse, U.S. District Court, Room 2144 A, 219 S. Dearborn Street
When: Monday-Friday, 7 a.m.- 6 p.m., closed on federal holidays
Well I did not know anything about this museum until I saw an interview with our new U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Chief Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer on Chicago Tonight. She’s the first woman chief Judge in Illinois. That only took 200 years! During a long judicial career she sent former Governor Ryan to the slammer for 6 1/2 years. Anyway this museum opened in May of 2018! Where was I?
This museum is located in the Dirksen Federal Building so you have to go through a metal detector, your bag is xrayed, you must remove your computers and tablets from your bag, put your change and metal in a tray and show a valid ID in order to get in.
This museum was very informative. There isn’t a lot there but it’s an area I knew nothing about. When you walk in there is a display with multiple videos. I watched all of them. This took about an hour. There was no one in the museum so I moved a chair to sit on to watch the videos. Everything else took about another hour. I learned a lot.
The Northern District of Illinois Court History Museum highlights the people, places, and cases that have impacted the court, the community, and the nation through interactive video displays, listening stations, art, artifacts, and guest lectures.
For almost 200 years, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois is where key cases on civil rights, public corruption, organized crime, and other important issues have been decided. Famous trials include that of mob boss Al Capone, the trial of the “Chicago Seven,” the Greylord Cook County judicial corruption trials, and the trials of four Illinois governors. James Benton Parsons, the first African-American to serve as a federal judge in U.S. District Court, served in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, including service as the district’s chief judge.