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Museum Announces Landmark $50 Million Capital Campaign



This Is Chicago to Extend the Museum’s Role as A Community Hub for Generations

The Chicago History Museum has raised $34 million towards a $50 million goal in its landmark fundraising Campaign, This Is Chicago, that will extend the Museum’s role as a community hub for generations to come.

“Founded in 1856, less than 20 years after our city itself, the Chicago History Museum is the city’s first cultural institution and the only major institution that makes all of Chicago its subject, said Gary T. Johnson, president of the Chicago History Museum. “This Campaign will ensure that the Museum continues to engage, teach and inspire many thousands of visitors annually.”

The Museum announces the public phase of the Campaign and is turning to the community to raise the remaining $16 million. This Is Chicago will expand the Museum’s civic-based programs that engage students in the classroom, enhance exhibitions, upgrade and modernize our collection storage and beautify the park around the Museum to become a more welcoming and visible destination.

This Is Chicago looks to advance three priorities that all Chicagoans can call their own:

  • Our Home: We can make the Museum an accessible, exciting destination for everyone.
  • Our Communities: We can empower our communities by expanding the Chicago Learning Collaborative, using our city’s stories to engage, teach and inspire young people.
  • Our Future: We can preserve and share the past that defines our city today – and that will shape its future tomorrow.

“With full participation from the Museum’s trustee, their collective commitments and other leadership gifts, inspired by a Challenge Grant from The Elizabeth Morse Charitable Trust and the Elizabeth Morse Genius Charitable Trust have helped us reach $34 million,” said Russell Lewis, executive vice president and chief historian of the Museum. “We are also grateful to the Costume Council of the Chicago History Museum and the Guild of the Chicago History Museum who have rallied to contribute collectively one million dollars to support the Campaign.”

The funds raised as part of This Is Chicago have contributed to the renovations of Museum spaces such as The Guild Gallery, the Robert R. McCormick Theatre and the Exhibition Innovation Fund that will provide multisensory technologies and perspectives to update Museum exhibitions.

The Lincoln Honor Roll Society, the Museum’s planned giving society, provides a way for individuals to make an intention today for a gift in the future that will support the activities, programs, collection and exhibitions at the Museum, which will build endowment and reserves for generations to come.

For the latest news on the Campaign or to support This Is Chicago, visit



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