Museums in Cicero

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A giant tree spreads its limbs across a softly lit room as soothing forest sounds play. On a child-size stage, kids manipulate controls to flick theater lights on and off. In an art studio stocked with supplies, budding artists make creative messes. This is all taking place in Wonder Works' 6,400-square-foot space. Children aged 8 and younger explore six hands-on exhibits that help them express their creativity and develop mental and social skills. Wonder Works is able to cater to children with special needs.

The children's museum also hosts school field trips, and a variety of special activities and events including a children's music concert series, African American History Month, and the paleontology-centric Dino Works. In addition, an outdoor organic garden onsite gives kids an opportunity to marvel in the great outdoors without having to pay tolls to riddle-spouting trolls.

6445 North Ave
Oak Park,
IL
US

One of the best examples of Prairie School Architecture in the U.S., Pleasant House mingles grandeur with simplicity. Visitors to the National Historic Landmark building enter through a broad porch which architect George Washington Maher adorned with decorated motifs using roman bricks and stone. Once within, students of architecture will recognize familiar turn-of-the-century Prairie elements: airy open spaces, glittering art-glass windows, and intricate carvings.

As the 120th anniversary of the building draws near, guests can explore Pleasant Home's 30 rooms of original and restored pieces on docent-guided tours that run every Thursday through Sunday. The house also hosts a a full calendar of lectures and classes, classical and jazz performances, locally-produced theater, and children's programming to inspire the next generation of architects.

217 Home Ave
Oak Park,
IL
US

"You know, Unity Temple is my contribution to modern architecture"—bold, blunt, and revolutionary, Frank Lloyd Wright single-handedly forged the Prairie school of architecture, of which Unity Temple is perhaps the purest example. Built between 1905 and 1908, the church broke all of the traditional rules, replacing the steeple with low, flat roofs, removing the prominent entranceway to create a sense of monolithic austerity, and most daringly of all, using poured concrete as not just a structural element but an architectural one. This honest exposure of a conventionally hidden material reflected the philosophy of a man who valued genuine candor over sweetened niceties, whether in word or in stone.

More than a century since its construction, the church is in the midst of an ongoing restoration, funded by member sponsorship and daily admission fees. Although the interior still luxuriates in the wash of natural light from the stained glass ceiling, and the boxy, modern light fixtures flicker on, the exterior faces severe weathering due mainly to Wright's eternally before-his-time designs, which failed to account for the effects of water and time on concrete, and an infestation of rockbiters in the 70s.

875 Lake St
Oak Park,
IL
US

The Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park fosters understanding of the life and work of Ernest Hemingway, with emphasis on his Oak Park origins and his impact on world literature.

We run the Hemingway Birthplace Home and the Hemingway Museum, plus offering scholarly and popular programming and entertainment year-round.

200 N Oak Park Ave
Oak Park,
IL
US

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