Chicago History Museum in Chicago, IL

1601 N. Clark StreetChicago, IL 60614
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Overview

Located near North Avenue Beach, The Second City and more, Chicago History Museum offers a fun and interactive attraction for families, groups and couples alike to learn about The Windy City’s rich history. Visitors can visit exciting exhibits like “Sensing Chicago”, which allows guests to ride a high-wheel bicycle, catch a fly ball at Comiskey Park, learn about Great Chicago Fire and more.

Good To Know

from Ashley, one of our Chicago Travel Experts
  • Features a 22 million-piece collection of historical artifacts, documents, photographs, and more.
  • Admission includes an audio tour.
  • Children ages 12 and younger are free.
  • Museum parking is $9 with validation.

Description

from Chicago History Museum
Located at the intersection of Clark Street & North Avenue in Lincoln Park, the Chicago History Museum has an impressive 22 million-piece collection of historical artifacts, documents, and photographs, as well as a world-renowned costume collection.

Admission includes access to all exhibitions in the Museum, including audio tours, and The Secret Lives of Objects, a special exhibition that features over 40 objects and artifacts that have emerged from the museum’s protected vaults, and offer hints of their mysterious pasts: they may be as decadent as diamonds, as revealing as crime evidence, or as perplexing as outdated modes of transportation.

The Kid’s Gallery exhibition, Sensing Chicago, enables young visitors to explore Chicago’s history through their five senses. The Museum’s newest exhibition, Lincoln’s Undying Words explores the powerful story of Abraham Lincoln’s transformation through five key speeches made between 1858 and 1865. Rare treasures, including Lincoln’s family carriage and the bed in which he died, are on display supplemented by an audio program of selected excerpts from the speeches.

Reserve Chicago Customer Reviews

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TripAdvisor Reviews
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peteratkinson1
Darlington, United Kingdom
"Interesting"
TripAdvisor user rating 4 out of 5
Reviewed September 17, 2018 NEW
Very interesting to see how Chicago has evolved and grown. Exhibits are easy to follow and if you like jazz then there is some level of participation you can join in with.
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Andrea P
Durand, Michigan
"Awesome museum experience!"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed September 14, 2018 NEW
The museum was just what the doctor ordered. My husband and I were away with no kids for the first time in almost five years, and the kids get "booooreeed" in a museum. It was really well laid out and super enjoyable. Staff was very nice as well.
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McWett
Las Vegas, Nevada
"Really well done"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed September 13, 2018 NEW
If you truly want to learn about the history of Chicago this is the place you have to visit. The Museum covers everything from the very early days of the founding of the city to the present. You will learn about everything from the founding fathers the Native Americans in the area, the movers and shakers, the architect to design so many of the Iconic structures and the musical history that makes Chicago so unique. There is much to see and give yourself enough time to be able to see it all we spent two hours and weren’t sure it was enough but we enjoyed every minute. While there are discount tickets available on Groupon they also have specials for active military police and firefighters as well as veterans at the door.
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Taylor B
Chicago, Illinois
"Everything but Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed September 12, 2018 NEW
My wife and I are members of the Chicago History Museum, formerly the Chicago Historical Society, which is a five-minute walk from our house. Located at 1601 North Clark Street in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood, it explores Chicago and American history. And it is never satisfied. Every time we visit, there is a new exhibit to behold. Founded in 1856, much of its early collection was destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, including Abraham Lincoln's final draft of the Emancipation Proclamation. After another fire destroyed a new collection in 1874, a fireproof building was constructed at 632 North Dearborn Street. It housed the museum's artifacts for 36 years and was added to the National Register of Historic Places. In 1932, the museum and library were moved to the current Federal-style structure in Lincoln Park. It has been expanded twice, in 1972 and 1988, and a museum store and public cafe were added. There is so much to see. The extensive Lincoln and Civil War collection includes Lincoln's deathbed, several pieces of furniture from the room where he died in the Petersen House in Washington DC, clothing that he and his wife Mary Todd Lincoln wore on the night of the assassination and the table on which General Robert E. Lee signed his 1865 surrender to General Ulysses S. Grant at the McLean House in Appomattox, Virginia. Also among the museum's 22 million holdings are a South Side Elevated Railroad Car; the Pioneer, the first locomotive to operate in Chicago; a diorama featuring Chicago's rise from a desolate frontier outpost to the bustling city that hosted the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893; Chicago: Crossroads of America, a 16,000-square-foot space that explores the city's development and its relationship to and influence on American history, with nearly 600 objects documenting the people and events of the past 200 years; Facing Freedom, an exhibit that focuses on eight American conflicts over freedom from the 1850s to the 1970s; exhibits covering everything from Chicago art to the history of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Chicagoans to the city's fashion history; and a costume collection that includes more than 50,000 pieces and dates from the 18th century to the present. If you love history, this is a place to visit. If you love Chicago, this is a place to visit.
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phu14
Richmond, Virginia
"Slanted"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed September 10, 2018 NEW
While I really enjoyed the visit, I thought the presentation was slanted more towards race relations and strife than it needed to be. It did not show as much of the good, non conflict side of Chicago as I think would be deserved. But not being from or having lived through Chicago's history, perhaps I was missing its true past. Coincidentally, I was visiting during a weekend when hotel service staff were on strike, which seemed to dovetail well what this museum emphasized, civil discord and conflict between the classes and races. I went away more unsettled than enlightened.
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Chicago History Museum is located at 1601 N. Clark StreetChicago, IL 60614
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Frequently Asked Questions about Chicago History Museum

How much is parking?
Public parking is conveniently located one block north of the Museum at Clark and LaSalle Streets; enter on Stockton Drive. The cost is $9 with Museum validation; Visa, Mastercard, and Discover credit cards are accepted.

Is the museum wheelchair accessible?
Yes, the Chicago History Museum welcomes all visitors and is committed to making its programs and services accessible to everyone.

Do you offer wheelchair rentals?
They do offer wheelchairs for your use free of charge; please inquire at the Ticket Desk. Supply is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Does my admission include an audio tour?
Yes, you can stop by the Visitor Center for iPods preloaded with our five tours, two of which are available in Spanish, as well as rotating selections for temporary exhibitions. To take the Museum’s tours home, purchase the Chicago History Museum app for your Apple or Android device. It’s only $1.99.

Is my child under 12 years old need an admission ticket?
Children 12 and younger are free.

Does the museum offer a place to eat?
They have the North and Clark Café which features a diverse menu of soups, salads, sandwiches, items from the grill and more.Enjoy all-day breakfast, an assortment of snacks and delicious Intelligentsia coffee and tea. The Café also has a kids’ menu.

Is there a gift shop?
Yes, in the Museum Store, you’ll find books, DVDs, children’s toys, and more—all relating to Chicago and its history.