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4.10 | Symbolism

Flags tell stories! The Chicago flag is full of symbolic meaning: the stars represent important events in the city’s history, the blues stripes stand for waterways, and the white stripes for where people live. Flags aren’t just for cities or countries. Some schools, such as universities and their sports teams, also have flags. In the past, families had flags with symbols on them to stand for things that were special to that family.

Postcard depicting Chicago’s municipal flag, c. 1952. CHM, ICHi-074031

What’s special about your family? Do you have a family saying? What activities do you like to do? What are your traditions? In this activity, ask your kids to design and make a family flag. Share your flag on social media using the hashtag #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