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

Solving a Mystery at the Museum

Last summer, CHM collections intern Cara Caputo worked with collections manager Britta Keller Arendt to continue the ongoing inventory of the Decorative and Industrial Arts collection. This led her to discover just how much investigation working with the collection entails. CHM publications interns Lily Stachowiak and Brendan Narko helped organize and publish this blog post. More

Money Talks

This summer, CHM collections intern Brittany Boettcher worked with senior collections manager Britta Keller Arendt to inventory items in our Decorative and Industrial Arts collection. In this blog post, Boettcher highlights some Civil War artifacts and explains how differences between Confederate bills answered the questions she had about where and when they were printed. CHM More

Preparing to Protect

Within the first twenty years of the Chicago History Museum’s establishment in 1856 (then the Chicago Historical Society), the building burned down twice. Since then, it has relocated, expanded, and experienced other minor emergencies, as can happen with any building over time. As an institution that actively collects and preserves Chicago history, however, it’s in our best interest More

Closing “The Secret Lives of Objects” — Sears Motor Buggy Removal

On November 26, 2017, the Secret Lives of Objects exhibition closed after a three-and-a-half-year run, requiring Museum staff to return the exhibition’s artifacts to storage. One of the largest was a Model P motor buggy sold by Sears, Roebuck & Company around 1910. To move large, heavy, or cumbersome objects off display and transport them More

Stories from a Real-Life Treasure Hunter

CHM collections intern Catrien Egbert recaps her work cataloging the Museum’s massive Decorative and Industrial Arts collection and highlights some memorable finds. If you’re like me, you’ve always wondered what treasures a museum’s collection might hold. Last summer, I had the opportunity to find out as the collections team continued its endeavor to catalog the More

A Chance in the Spotlight

CHM curator Petra Slinkard takes you through the process of a gallery rotation, which helps us preserve artifacts and refresh exhibitions. The Chicago History Museum’s permanent exhibition Chicago: Crossroads of America is a 15,000-square-foot installation dedicated to our city’s rich and complex past. The installation opened in September 2006 and contains hundreds of artifacts and More

Inside the Collection – Kennicott Meal Bin

Inside the Collection is a video series that invites you into the Chicago History Museum’s storage spaces to explore unusual, interesting artifacts from our vast collection. In the inaugural installment of Inside the Collection, Britta Keller Arendt, CHM’s senior collection manager, and intern Catrien Egbert highlight a meal bin, a storage container for various grains (think More

CHM’s Bug Buster

Just as it’s impossible to keep insects out of our homes, it’s impossible to keep them from entering museums as well. While insects in general are not harmful to humans, many of them can severely damage the very collections that museums seek to preserve. In order to prevent this, many museums, including CHM, have instituted More

What’s Glove Got to Do with It?

When you work at a museum, you wear specific gloves when handling certain artifacts, most of the time. Researchers and visitors often ask us why, so here’s a bit more about why we love our gloves. Just a portion of the glove supply in the Collections office. All images by Esther Wang At the Chicago More

Managing Collections Storage

Senior collection manager Britta Keller Arendt explains how the collections staff keeps track of our artifacts. One question that Museum staff are frequently asked is “How many artifacts do you have in there?”, which is quickly followed by “How do you keep track of them all?” Senior collection manager Britta Keller Arendt and collections technician More