History tends to repeat itself, which means there’s a good chance you’ll be run over by another war elephant. Admire what history has taught us thus far with today’s Groupon: for $7, you get admission to the Chicago History Museum (a $14 value for adults, $12 for seniors/students).
The Chicago History Museum, which is the city’s oldest cultural institution, houses an awe-striking array of intellect-tickling artifacts, documents, and artwork from the city’s past and future-past. Take a sepia-tinged trip past ornate architecture and glance at Michael Jordan’s jersey. Or, venture through the hall of dioramas, which showcases epochs of Chicago's history, from its earliest days as a malört-trading outpost to its triumphant World’s Fair, made possible by an uneasy alliance between Daniel Burnham and arch-rival Mike Ditka. The museum also houses ever-changing temporary exhibitions; through January 3, 2011, an exhibit titled I Do! Chicago Ties the Knot juxtaposes wedding fashions from days gone-by with today’s hoop skirts, long trains, and swarms of bees imitating roses.
The Chicago History Museum offers evening and weekend programs, from History Pub Crawls to the monthly documentary series Project Sunday, which is free with museum admission. Check the museum’s calendar for complete info about public programs, exhibits, and other events. Whether you've lived in Chicago all your life, or you left South Florida for a colder clime and more blues saxophones packed with meat, a better grasp of Chicago's rich history will enhance the way you experience the city.
Museum admission is free on Mondays.
- The main, must-see exhibit is Chicago: Crossroads of America, which fills the museum's second floor. A survey of the city's history -- from its founding as a frontier trading post to the riots at the 1968 Democratic Convention -- it's filled with photos, artifacts, and newsreels that make the past come alive – Frommer's
- Between the permanent and temporary exhibitions there is something to interest everyone here, whether you think you know Chicago history or don't know much about it. – mmoh, TripAdvisor
Chicago History Museum
Founded in 1856, the Chicago History Museum upholds its legacy as one of the city's oldest cultural institutions with more than 22 million artifacts blown in from the city's storied past. Permanent exhibitions include Chicago: Crossroads of America, which sends visitors on a journey through a re-created jazz club and features a replica of an original L car and the monkey bars that its passengers hung from during commutes. Collections of dioramas detail the story of the city's growth from a barren nineteenth-century trading outpost to the bustling, youthful city that hosted the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893. Exhibitions centered on Abraham Lincoln offer an in-depth look at his campaign and election in 1860, and Lincoln's Chicago shows visitors a vision of the city as the 16th president saw it: from 7 feet, 6 inches in the air.