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

4.1 | Great Chicago Fire

The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 was a formative event in Chicago’s history and is represented by the second star on the city’s flag. Today, we’ll be looking at artifacts that melted in the fire and inquiring about what they may have been.

The Great Chicago Fire learning activity

Diorama of the Chicago Fire at the Chicago History Museum. CHM, ICHi-066795

Who wants to be a history detective? Ask your kids to examine the images of melted artifacts and think about how they used to look. Then they can express their creativity when they make their own artifact. When your kids have finished, take a picture of their artifact and share it on social media! #CHMatHomeFamilies


The Chicago History Museum is situated on ancestral homelands of the Potawatomi people, who cared for the land until forced out by non-Native settlers. Established in 1856, the Museum is now at 1601 N. Clark Street in Lincoln Park, its third location. As a major museum and research center for Chicago and U.S. history, the Chicago History Museum strives to be a destination for learning, inspiration and civic engagement. Through dynamic exhibitions, tours, publications, special events and programming, the Museum connects people to Chicago’s history and to each other. To share Chicago stories, the Museum collects and preserves millions of artifacts, documents, images and other items that are relevant to the city’s history. The Museum gratefully acknowledges the support of the Chicago Park District on behalf of the people of Chicago. 

Chicago History Museum Sharing Chicago Stories