$25 Chicago History Museum Family Membership. See Below for Individual Membership.

Chicago History Museum

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Click above to buy a family membership to Chicago History Museum for $25. Buy here for an individual membership for $20.

_Jump to: Reviews The Roguish Rapier, Chapter Four: “The Bend of History”_

History repeats itself as often as you can stand it with today’s Groupon, which gets you half off a yearlong membership to the Chicago History Museum. With today’s deal, you’ll get an individual membership (with a year of free admission for you and one guest) for $20 (a $40 value) or a family membership (with a year of free admission for you and three guests) for $25 (a $50 value). Click here to purchase an individual membership. Regular admission for adults is $14, so if you go just once with a guest, you’ve already gotten more than your money’s worth.

Whether you’ve lived here 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. Your morning commute will take on a sepia tinge as you rattle past ornate architecture and glance down at your worn Michael Jordan jersey. You’ll get access to millions of artifacts, documents, paintings, sculptures, costumes, and more. The museum houses permanent and temporary exhibitions, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to see something new each time you go.

Get a block-by-block historical view of Lincoln Park, or get to know the tall, dark, and handsome man who led the nation through the Civil War. Check out the hall of intricate dioramas, which takes you through the epochs of Chicago’s history from its earliest days as a malört-trading outpost to the city’s triumphant World’s Fair, made possible by an uneasy alliance between Daniel Burnham and his arch-rival, Mike Ditka. Find out why Chicago is called The Windy City (hint: anagram for “Yet why indict?”). Complete the day with a journey to Groupon’s office fridge to see the oldest-known slice of deep-dish pizza (by appointment only).

The sheer abundance of information and stimulation in museums can be overwhelming, but with today’s deal you won’t have to feel like you have to stay all day to see what you paid for. Pop in on your lunch break to see a new special exhibit, or blow off some steam in the crossroads exhibit, a permanent exhibition on Chicago’s railroad history. If you’re too busy during the day, check out one of the evening or weekend programs—which are free or discounted for members—from History Pub Crawls, to the monthly documentary series, Project Sunday. Take some of the financial burden off all the friends to whom you’ve offered your comfy Chicago couch, and have a pre-paid plan for sanctioned silence when you’re stuck entertaining your mother-in-law.

Your Chicago History Museum membership will get you the following benefits:

  • free admission to galleries and Research Center
  • invites to exclusive member events, like exhibition previews, lectures, and parties
  • subscriptions to the museum’s Chicago History magazine and Calendar
  • free or discounted admission to more than 160 history museums nationwide
  • all kinds of discounts on city tours, lectures, workshops, cruises, purchases at the museum’s on-site restaurant, the Museum Store, and more
  • monthly e-newsletter for museum updates and events


Insider Pages reviewers and IgoUgo users give the Chicago History Museum four stars: > * I love this space. The inside is beautful [sic] and welcoming; the exhibits are informative and fun. Even a quick walk through will yield new/fun information to the visitor. – nmford, IgoUgo > * This museum has a detailed and informative series of exhibits that can add an incredible depth to your knowledge of Chicago’s history. Tours and talks by knowledgable [sic] staff, as well as frequent turnover of special exhibits make it a museum worthy of repeat visits. – Jethro N., Insider Pages > * my children really enjoyed this museum, and have gone back with friends. Great sports exhibit, and lots of information on historical Chicago. On a level where adults can learn, and kids, too. – Jeff F., Insider Pages

The Roguish Rapier, Chapter Four: “The Bend of History”

Leslie uncovered her eyes, taking in a wonder she would never forget, or fully believe. The balance of the duel, and indeed of the city’s history, had shifted as Alexander, the reviled garbage boy, now stood before the beet-faced Baron. The rag-clad boy balanced the Baron’s own sword lightly in his hand, looking past it at his would-be opponent with a neutral, steady gaze. The silence from the surrounding crowd seemed thick enough for him to slice through with the gleaming blade.

Alexander’s lesser, borrowed sword rested at his feet, where the weasely ward Barthélemy had carelessly tossed it. The Baron, embarrassingly weaponless, but eager to avoid a spare second of seeming ineptitude, chuckled nervously and turned to address the crowd.

“A show! A show for you all, on this my wedding day! Well done, garbage boy, you have played your part nearly as well as I! Did I not look fooled?”

He turned to the audience, but their collective eye stared past him to Alexander, who, with an effortless flip of his garbage-shod foot, propelled his own sword directly off the ground and weightlessly into his free hand.

The garbage boy was now dually armed before the helpless Baron, who had humiliated him before the entire fiefdom. Perhaps it was the midday sun, or perhaps the constraints of his elaborate wedding garb, but none would deny that the Baron was now sweating, like a dewy piglet cornered against the hot stones of a kitchen hearth.

Alexander now began to step deftly through the dust, silent as a fawn (but lacking that creature’s inclination to flee), toward the teetering Baron, who stood imprisoned in a ring of his own sycophantic guests. This audience huddled silently, only the Burgher standing a bit apart, stroking his moustache and hoping that others were marveling at his importance to these proceedings. Poor Barthélemy started and faltered endlessly, like a wind-up toy, unable to help, unable to not, and still Alexander stalked forward, his face as sallow and empty of feeling as a sow’s head drained of all blood.

“A-a joke!” the Baron said, his voice now watery with fear. “He jokes with me as bachelors do, before the ritual of matrimony! A v-very good joke indeed!”

Where before Leslie could not bear to look, she now found herself equally paralyzed, unable to look away. She felt no love for her arranged fiancé, but was her childhood friend so gone as to slay an unarmed man? Had an adolescence of servitude in the garbage pit rotted away his conscience as well? Alexander stepped softly into the Baron’s radius, and raised the anxious aristocrat’s own blade.

Then he lowered it, extending the hilt before the Baron’s open hand. “A joke, indeed,” said Alexander, in the soft, cool voice of an honest liar.

Leslie’s breath halted at the sound of her friend’s decade of silence finally broken. There was no doubt now that her childhood friend returned not as a garbage boy, but as a man. He looked up to catch her eye, her mouth still covered by her hands. The sweat seemed to freeze on the Baron’s face as rage rushed to replace his base cowardice.

“Take him to the tower!” he blurted to no subservient in particular, and as if rising from the dirt itself, a throng of feral underlings tore Alexander from the center of the crowd and from Leslie’s searching gaze, dragging him unresisting across the blighted ground, toward the shadows of the castle’s cyclopean walls.

Read more chapters in Groupon’s serialized novel, The Roguish Rapier, here.

The Fine Print

Promotional value expires Feb 1, 2010. Amount paid never expires. May purchase multiple as gifts. Cannot combine Groupons to extend membership. Redeemable for 2 membership cards. Valid for up to 4 admissions per visit. Must begin membership by expiration date. Merchant is solely responsible to purchasers for the care and quality of the advertised goods and services.

About 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. The museum boasts several galleries and interactive exhibits where visitors of all ages discover the fascinating history of a city that grew from a barren 19th-century trading outpost to a bustling, youthful city that hosted the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893. Read on for more info about current exhibits:

  • Sensing Chicago: Guests of all ages use their five senses to explore Chicago culture, past and present. At various interactive stations, visitors hear the cracklings of the Great Chicago Fire, smell the Union Stock Yard, and pose inside a giant Chicago-style hot dog.
  • Other permanent exhibits: At the museum's permanent exhibits, visitors experience Chicago and its incredible history. They climb aboard the city's original L car, explore a re-created jazz club, and admire the sophisticated fashions in a Marshall Field's window display.
  • A City and its Sound This amplified exhibit will celebrate the artists, clubs, and how music helped people feel at home in a new, inhospitable city. Explore Blues music’s transformation from songs of the Mississippi Delta to an electrified sound synonymous with the Second City.
  • Remembering Dr. King invites visitors to walk through a gallery of over 25 photographs depicting key moments in Dr. King’s work and the Civil Rights movement, with a special focus on his time in Chicago. This exhibit tells the stories of race from biological, cultural, and historical points of view to offer an unprecedented look at race and racism in the United States.

Chicago History Museum

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