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, a major museum and research center for Chicago and American history, is located at 1601 N. Clark Street. The Museum has dedicated more than a century to celebrating and sharing Chicago stories through dynamic exhibitions, tours, publications, special events and programming. The Museum collects and preserves millions of artifacts, documents and images to help audiences connect to the city and its history. The Chicago History Museum gratefully acknowledges the support of the Chicago Park District on behalf of the people of Chicago. The Chicago History Museum is a 2016 winner of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the highest award given to these institutions for their community engagement and having an impact on the lives of individuals, families, and communities.

Chicago History Museum Sharing Chicago's Stories