Masks required in Abakanowicz Research Center; optional for rest of Museum. MORE

Amethyst for February

Amethyst is the birthstone for February. The word “amethyst” is derived from “amethystos” in Greek, with the prefix a-, meaning “not,” and methyein “to be drunk with wine,” because the ancient Greeks believed that the stone could prevent or cure drunkenness in its wearer. This watch fob (c. 1910) was made by Carence Crafters, a Chicago-based design firm that specialized in Arts and Crafts–style products. It has a pyramid-cut amethyst in a silver Celtic More

Seeking History, Finding Faith

“The design style was so inspiring, and I remember it just kind of hit me while I was looking at how to make a turban, and I remember I actually had tears.” — Omar Northern This Black History Month we recognize Omar Northern, a Chicago native and Sufi, who is featured in our exhibition American More

Treating Hearts, Growing Minds

February is both Black History Month and American Heart Month. The latter was established in 1964 to urge people to recognize the nationwide problem of heart and blood vessel diseases. Treating certain heart conditions with surgery began in the nineteenth century. One of the first documented successful pericardium (the sac covering the heart) surgeries to treat a wound More

Undervalued, Underpaid

In September 1910, young women walked off the job at clothing maker Hart Schaffner & Marx to protest wage cuts and unfair working conditions. Their action sparked a months-long strike in the Near West Side of the city that grew to more than 40,000 garment workers, half of them women, including many recent immigrants from southern and More

“All your love—baby, can it be mine?”

On February 14, 1937, blues musician Samuel “Magic Sam” Maghett was born in Grenada, Mississippi. He was part of a younger generation of Chicago electric blues artists that defined the smooth West Side sound. A guitarist and vocalist, Magic Sam’s gutsy style was often rawer than what South Side bands played. Unlike most of his More

Fannie Barrier Williams

On February 12, 1855, Fannie Barrier was born in Brockport, New York. She was the first African American to graduate from Brockport State Normal School (now SUNY-College at Brockport) in 1870. She held several teaching positions, first in Missouri and later in Washington, DC, where she met her future husband, S. (Samuel) Laing Williams, a law student. More

“Meals by Fred Harvey”

When traveling by train was common practice, stopping at a Fred Harvey-owned establishment was almost a guarantee. In 1876, a young English immigrant named Fred Harvey opened a small restaurant at a train depot in Topeka, Kansas. It was the start of what became an empire of hotels, shops, and eating establishments extending from the Great Lakes to the Pacific coast. By the 1880s, Harvey was operating seventeen restaurants along the Atchison, More

Striving in Baseball and Civil Rights

On January 22, 2021, baseball Hall of Famer Henry “Hank” Aaron died at the age of eighty-six. Aaron began his professional career with the Negro Leagues’ Indianapolis Clowns in 1952 as an eighteen-year-old. His Major League Baseball debut came with the Milwaukee Braves in 1954. He played nearly his entire career with that franchise. In Milwaukee’s 1957 World More

How’s the Weather?

It’s National Weatherperson’s Day! Before the internet, television, or even the radio was in widespread use, weather conditions were measured and shared in a very analog way. In 1908, the US Weather Bureau, now the US National Weather Service, began building kiosks around the country to keep Americans informed about weather conditions. Each one had a square base and was seven feet high, four More

A Campaign Recipe

For National Homemade Soup Day, we’re sharing a recipe that circulated during Michael A. Bilandic’s 1979 mayoral campaign. After the death of mayor Richard J. Daley on December 20, 1976, the Chicago City Council chose Michael Bilandic to act as mayor until an election could take place. A South Sider, Bilandic was proud of his More