Browse Exhibits (27 total)

Chicago: City of Commerce


At the center of a vast network of transportation, production, and consumption, the story of Chicago's rapid growth is inextricably tied to its embrace of commerce. Starting in the nineteenth century, Chicago's boosters seized upon every opportunity to promote and grow their city.

Chicago's Creativity and Innovation in Printed Materials


As Chicago grew over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, it pioneered certain aspects of culture and technology. To explore Chicago's adventures in originality, this exhibit showcases a variety of Chicago's printed materials between 1837 and 1987 that depict the city's creativity in food, technology, urban planning, and journalism. 

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Cow Town


From the Streets to the Stars - Chicago as a Home to Entertainment and Pleasure


Chicago is a city known for its music, entertainment, and unique culture.  Over the years it has helped produce memorable figures and moments in these areas.  Journey from the city streets, concert halls, and even its kitchens, and learn how Chicago has been a home for American entertainment and pleasure.

Make No Little Plans: Daniel Burnham and Chicago

Picture of Daniel Burnham

One does not have to spend much time in Chicago to start noticing that the name "Burnham" keeps popping up. Plenty is named after the architect and urban planner, Daniel Burnham, and it does not take much digging to see why. Not only did Daniel Burnham design several buildings in the city, he co-authored with Edward Bennett the 1909 Plan of Chicago, a comprehensive urban planning document. The document was deeply influential in Chicago's development, and was in fact required reading in all Chicago Public Schools for years. Commonly referred to as "the Burnham Plan," the 1909 Plan of Chicago literally shaped the city.

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Not Just Progress: Tragedies in Chicago's Firt Century


When Chicago hosted The Century of Progress World's Fair in 1933-1934, its citizens celebrated the achievements of their growing community since their humble origins. These first hundred years were not easy though. Violence, tragedies, and disaster struck the city numerous times including several well-publicized events. As the city begins edging closer to its bicentennial, pause, bear witness to three tragedies of the past and hopefully learn from the mistakes and resilience of Chicago.

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Palaces of the Midwest: Chicago's Great Hotels


Determined to dispel East Coast notions of Chicago being a smelly, backwater town of the Midwest, certain wealthy Chicagoans set out to create lavish hotels that distinguished guests from around the world would flock to come marvel at the city's accomplishments. These palaces and the lifestyles they promoted sharply contrasted with the quotidien lives of the city's immigrant working classes. Nonetheless, their luxurious architecture and notoriety promoted Chicago as a worthy tourist destination, truly earning it the name "Paris of the Midwest."

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Playing in Chicago

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Chicago is a playground for children--if you know where to look. This collection features five images of fun things children can do in the city, and what they looked like in decades past.

Protest Theater at Chicago's 1968 Democratic National Convention


Theater in the late 1960s used group participation as a dramatic and popular form of socio-political collective action. Protests against established power in the United States grew between the years 1967 and 1968 because dramatic aspects of political and cultural rebellion manifested in theatrical methods. One prominent example was the Festival of Life by the Yippie Movement outside the Chicago Democratic National Convention in 1968. During this intense period of domestic conflict, these activists embraced radical theater as a visible form of protest. 

The Yippies, the police, and Chicago city administration used theater to express their conflicting messages. Yippies knew that their outlandish protest tactics would be unlikely to change the results of the Chicago convention, and thus represented Americans who were alienated from the political system. Police actions and the behavior of city leadership also indicate the alarming scale of conflict that developed in Chicago over the course of the weeklong convention. Radical theater reached its culmination in the turbulent struggle between the city and its demonstrators, and the Yippies would continue to use it in their future demonstrations for a changed America during the 1970s.

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Published in Chicago

Advertisement for Chicago Daily News newspaper

Newspapers, broadsides, maps, and more. This exhibit showcases print media published in Chicago.