Masks required in Abakanowicz Research Center MORE

Using the Chicago History Museum’s Research Collections

In our latest blog post, CHM director of research and access Ellen Keith gives an update on what’s new at the Abakanowicz Research Center. Here at CHM, we distinguish between museum collections and research collections. In shorthand, museum collections are three-dimensional artifacts. They may be on exhibit or carefully stored. Research collections are two-dimensional and More

The Chicago 7 Trial

September 24, 1969, marked the beginning of one of the most infamous trials in U.S. history for eight (later seven) activists linked to the protests that took place in response to the 1968 Democratic National Convention, held in Chicago at the International Amphitheatre on August 26‒29. Eight defendants, Rennie Davis, David Dellinger, John Froines, Tom More

Naming Women to Recover Histories

This summer, Lily Mayfield assisted CHM technical services librarian Elizabeth McKinley in the Abakanowicz Research Center. Mayfield writes about her experience discovering the full names of women featured in the Museum’s carte de visite collection. How can one study the past without knowing the names of those who came before? That is the question posed More

Heather Bilandic’s Potato/Leek Soup

Michael A. Bilandic became mayor after the death of Richard J. Daley in 1976. During his 1979 election campaign, Bilandic emphasized his ethnic and family loyalties with this brochure that included various recipes from his wife, Heather Bilandic, including such as her Potato/Leek Soup. Bilandic was soundly defeated by Jane Byrne during the Democratic primary. More

Gift Ideas from the American Medina

Small business owners have faced a challenging year with a reduced walk-in customer base. However, the holiday season brings them hope, and CHM digital content producer Luiz Magaña has compiled a list of small businesses that are featured in our exhibition American Medina: Stories of Muslim Chicago. We hope you enjoy our shopping recommendations! Watan More

To Stretch and Pull and Expand a Universe

Head into costume storage with CHM costume collection manager Jessica Pushor as she discusses the iconic costume pieces that came out of the partnership between dancer and choreographer Ruth Page and artist Isamu Noguchi. Ruth Page (1899–1991) was a legendary ballerina and innovative choreographer. She was the first American guest ballet soloist with the Metropolitan Opera, and More

Finding Value and Context in Objects

CHM collections intern Araceli Medina recaps her work this past summer assisting with the ongoing inventory of the Decorative and Industrial Arts collection. Through the inventory process, Medina saw first-hand how objects can tell stories that help us understand the past as it was lived. The process of inventorying a museum collection is important and More

Holding a Legacy in One’s Hands

This past summer, CHM collections intern Elise O’Neil assisted with the ongoing inventory of the Decorative and Industrial Arts collection. In this blog post, O’Neil writes about the legacies that objects reflect, depending on who owned them. As a lifelong history nerd, working at the Chicago History Museum as a collections intern this summer and doing More

A Fighter for Workers’ Rights

In this blog post, CHM curatorial intern Brigid Kennedy recounts the life of labor organizer Lucy Parsons. The details of Lucy Parsons’s early life in Texas are murky, and she herself provided different accounts of her youth and heritage. Her race was the subject of public debate, but she claimed only Mexican and Muscogee Creek More

Affirmative Action and Black Achievement

Collections volunteer Robert Blythe writes about Chicagoan Paul King Jr., a building contractor and social justice advocate, fifty years after the Coalition of United Community Action led a demonstration on July 22, 1969, demanding that building trade unions provide on-the-job trainee positions for minority groups. Many Chicagoans were taken aback in July 1969 when two hundred More