Chicago History Museum

August 12th, 2008 · 4 Comments


Chicago History Museum, Old Town, Chicago

I’ve never been to the Chicago History Museum but I’ve passed by it on Clark and always thought, “I should check that out.” Online I found out that on Mondays admission is free, so I made my first visit yesterday.

I thought the Chicago History Museum was well put together. It’s not gigantic, which is kind of nice. You can see everything there in just and hour or two. If you plan ahead you can download a free audio tour mp3s of the permanent exhibit. I downloaded them, but forgot to put them on my iPod.

The special exhibit right now is Catholic Chicago, which I wasn’t really interested in. The permanent exhibits are all about the history of Chicago and I enjoyed those a lot. I liked the artifacts from the Columbian Exposition and Riverview Park. There was a cool area that was called “City in Crisis” that told about different things like the Great Chicago Fire, the Chicago race riot, Haymarket affair, the Chicago Outlet, that kind of thing.

This old CTA train reminded me of when Tien and I visited the New York Transit Museum.

One exhibit of the Chicago History Museum displayed artifacts from major businesses that are based in Chicago. I kind of chuckled because I own the pitcher that is on the left in the display. You can order your own here.

Kind of morbid, but I thought I’d seen Lincoln’s deathbed on a visit to Washington DC. I saw the Peterson house where Lincoln died and there was a room with a bed. When I got home I looked it up online and the Chicago History Museum has the actual bed. The one in the Peterson house is a replica.

There was a Gas for Less gas station on Lincoln. Before it was torn down I photographed it. At first I thought this was the same sign, but it’s not. Still cool because this sort of gas station sign just does not exist any more.

In the museum gift shop I bought a book on Riverview park. I walked around outside a bit. The Chicago History Museum is right on the edge of Lincoln Park, so the grounds are gorgeous. I wanted to walk around more but it was about 1:30 and I was hungry for lunch. I took the bus down Clark to Frontera Grill but they’re closed on Mondays. boo. I went to Mambo Grill instead. Pretty good, but not Bayless.

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4 Comments so far ↓

  • tina

    so somehow i too have never been to this museum, even though i’ve lived in chicago for nearly ten years, used to live very close to there and i’m interested in history. i’m glad to read your review because i think maybe i stayed away because i was worried i would be overwhelmed. sounds like it is pretty doable.

    also, i work one block from frontera and have never been there. what is wrong with me i don’t know. i know i would love it. i just never go. if you get the urge to go again and need a lunch buddy let me know!

  • RachelleB

    go check it out on a monday… if you don’t like it, nothing lost.

    dallas and i have been to topolobampo, but not frontera. i dont know why. it’s not far from my last office.

  • Seth A

    Ahh, thanks for the tip. I’ve been meaning to visit there since the rehab, but for some reason keep not going. Maybe when the Catholic Chicago exhibit is over (I’m not interested in that either).
    Do they have much on the Haymarket?

  • RachelleB

    Seth – the Haymarket section is not extensive, but there are a number of artifacts, if I recall correctly. I think there was a video playing and I remember seeing photos and article reprints. You should go by anyway, you’d probably like that whole exhibit.

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