The Chicago History Museum is located in Old Town. One of the best museums in the city, it has over 20 million artifacts and is worth at least a half day of exploration. It was founded in 1856. Admission is US$14 for adults (as of August 2015).
As soon as you walk into the museum, you’re hit with several artifacts and photos including a 1978 Chevrolet Monte Carlo lowrider. This exhibit is called Treasures.
Chicago: Crossroads of America
After buying tickets, you’re directed upstairs to the permanent exhibit on Chicago history. It’s called Chicago: Crossroads of America and it’s exceptional. The exhibit tells the story from the early days of the explorers all the way to today. Subjects such as the Great Chicago Fire, the 1968 Riots, 1968 Democratic National Convention, and more are examined.
Imagining Chicago: An American City
A particularly interesting exhibit on the ground floor is called Imagining Chicago: An American City. It’s a series of dioramas that show what Chicago looked like at various points in its history.
A hands-on exhibit for children, Sensing Chicago, allows visitors to become a Chicago hot dog, sit in the seats from old Comiskey Park, and hear the Chicago Fire.
Facing Freedom in America
A wonderful exhibit highlights the struggle for equality in America. It covers such topics as slavery, Japanese internment, and women’s suffrage. It’s called Facing Freedom in America.
The Robert R. McCormick Theater presents a film called The Great Chicago Adventure. It displays major events throughout Chicago’s history.
Outside the theater is a map of the city of Chicago on the floor. I thought it was interesting.
A small temporary exhibit on Abraham Lincoln covered his presidency and assassination. A life mask of the president is on display. There are also drawings of Chicago in the 1860s as it would’ve appeared during Lincoln’s time in office.
Other temporary exhibits were also on display. There were two photography exhibits along with another exhibit showing interesting pieces of the museum’s collection that are normally kept in storage. Some of the items included Charlie Chaplin’s cane, a pail from the Titanic, a wetsuit from the Great Chicago Flood, and the table from the Appomattox Courthouse where the Civil War came to an end.
Behind the Chicago History Museum is the southern end of Lincoln Park. A famous statue of Abraham Lincoln can be found there. It’s called Abraham Lincoln: The Man, and was erected in 1887 by Augustus Saint-Gardens.
If you’re lucky, you’ll spot some of the endangered birds that nest near the museum.
You can also see the original building which was built in 1932. The modern extension was completed in 1988.