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

Enjoy the Museum anytime and anywhere!

Virtual Student Workshops (fee-based)

  • Painted Memories: The Great Chicago Fire
  • Facing Freedom

Gallery Tour Videos (free)

  • Lessons from the Great Chicago Fire
  • City on Fire: The Wooden City
  • Coming Soon! City on Fire: The Burning City
  • Impacts of Stockyards and Meatpacking

Virtual Student Workshops

Bring the Museum to your students with our virtual student workshop experiences!

Museum staff facilitate these interactive programs using your video conferencing platform or our Zoom account. Workshop fees cover pre- and post-program resources, a short informational meeting in advance with workshop facilitators, and workshop facilitation. Please review the Virtual Student Workshop Information Sheet in advance. Workshops can be delivered to a range of teaching situations including full remote, in person, and a mix of both.

Download our Virtual Student Workshop Information Sheet.

 

Painted Memories: The Great Chicago Fire

Recommended for students in grades 3‒5
Length:
40-45 minutes; maximum 35 students per session
Cost: $50 per session

There are no known photographs of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, but artists’ vivid depictions of it help us understand this important event and its lasting impact. Via videoconferencing, this workshop engages students in a close reading experience with Julia Lemos’s painting Memories of the Chicago Fire and her written account of the disaster. Students share their responses to the painting and the artist’s words through writing, drawing, discussion, and movement. The workshop wraps up with a discussion around the effects of disasters and the lessons we can learn from the Great Chicago Fire to help us manage similar situations today. The session concludes with time for student questions.

Reserve your virtual workshop

 

Facing Freedom

Recommended for students in grades 6-12
Length: 50-55 minutes; maximum 35 students per session
Cost: $50 per session

Based on the Facing Freedom in America exhibition and companion website, this workshop offered via videoconferencing encourages critical thought about freedom and issues of social justice, particularly in the areas of workers’ rights, public protest, and race and citizenship. Students analyze and discuss primary source materials and share contemporary freedom issues that are important to them.

Choose one of these five topics for your workshop experience:

Reserve your virtual workshop

 


Gallery Tour Videos

These videos can serve as a virtual visit to the Chicago History Museum, or as a pre- or post-visit tool. Our videos explore stories based on the Chicago: Crossroads of America and City on Fire: Chicago 1871 exhibitions, which explore Chicago’s changing economy, diverse neighborhoods, groundbreaking innovations, and challenging crises, such as the Great Chicago Fire.

We plan to grow this video library and need your feedback to make it the best it can be. To access the videos, please take a moment to complete a short survey. Upon completion you will be provided with a link to the video. Your ideas will help us fine-tune future videos and determine the next videos to complete!

 

Lessons from the Great Chicago Fire

Recommended for grades 3-5
Running Time: 11 mins 20 secs

Students are asked critical thinking questions throughout this video as they discover not only the events of the three days of the fire, but also consider how people were impacted and the sometimes unjust decisions made during the recovery efforts. Explore the lasting legacy of the fire and the lessons we can learn from the past when we face similar challenges today.

Take survey and download video

 

These additional resources support use of the video in classroom instruction.

 

City on Fire: Chicago 1871

A rapidly growing city built of wood. A summer-long heat wave. An exhausted and misdirected team of firefighters. Racial, social, and economic tensions bubbling just below the surface. All Chicago needed was a spark. The City on Fire: Chicago 1871 exhibition is divided into four parts: pre-fire Chicago in the “Wooden City,” the three days of the fire in the “Burning City,” the immediate aftermath in the “Smoldering City,” and the recovery and rebuilding efforts in the “Rebuilt City.” This video series is designed as a companion to the four sections of the exhibition examining key sections and activities that can be used in the classroom. Videos and accompanying materials will be released one at a time.

wooden house with cow standing in frontCity on Fire: The Wooden City

Recommended for grades 3-5
Running Time: 7 mins 45 secs (English); 8 mins 39 secs (Spanish)

The “Wooden City” introduces factors that enabled the fire to spread rapidly through the city and the social tensions that influenced recovery efforts following the fire. Activities can be used independently of each other, enabling educators to customize their classroom experiences.

Take survey and download video

 

These additional resources support use of the video in classroom instruction.

Educator Learning Guide: This comprehensive guide provides an overview of the exhibition and the Wooden City section, tips on using the video, learning standard alignments, pre- and post-viewing activities, video activity directions and student handouts. There are three suggested activities that accompany the video: Will it Burn (no student handout necessary), Life in Chicago, and Meet the O’Learys. This download contains student worksheets. 

Activities can also be downloaded individually:

Life in Chicago

  • Life in Chicago Graphic Organizer: Use photographs to compare and contrast pre-fire homes in Chicago. This is the student worksheet only.
  • Wooden City Image Packet: This download has larger versions of the images used in the Life in Chicago activity and a map highlighting the locations of the homes and businesses featured in the video.

Meet the O’Learys

 

City on Fire: Burning City – Coming Soon!

 

Impacts of Stockyards and Meatpacking

Recommended for grades 6-12
Running Time: 9 mins 27 secs

In Chicago: Crossroads of America, take a close look at how Chicago’s stockyards and meatpacking industries affected everything in the city from immigration and migration, to changing neighborhoods to workplace safety, public policy and labor organizing. Students will be asked to consider these impacts, how work shapes a city, and what the future of work may look like in Chicago.

Take survey and download video

 

These additional resources support use of the video in classroom instruction.

Chicago History Museum Sharing Chicago's Stories
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