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Masks required for Abakanowicz Research Center; optional for rest of Museum more

The First Ferris Wheel

When the Ferris wheel was introduced it inspired awe and wonder. The world’s first Ferris wheel was invented for Chicago’s Columbian Exposition of 1893. Students will explore the creative inspiration behind the wheel, the collaborative process of fabricating the wheel, and the features of riding on the wheel. They will analyze primary source materials, including More

Playing in Chicago

From bicycles to electric trains to paper dolls, Chicagoland was once home to an enormous toy industry. Chicago companies brought new kinds of toys to the market, including transportation toys, like Tootsie Toys, and construction toys, such as Tinker Toys and Lincoln Logs. This unit will introduce students to the inventors of these toys, explore More

History Through Opposing Eyes: America and Protest

Great changes and events in history have often started with protest. From town hall meetings and rallies to demonstrations and war, protest has instigated change in our society. The lessons in this unit will help students compare and contrast the different methods of protest and understand protest as a part of American history. Students will More

Chicago Architecture

Discover the basics of architecture and Chicago’s important role in architectural history though artifacts and design-and-build projects. The Art of Construction Taking on the roles of architect and builder, students will explore architectural artifacts and then use their creativity and cooperative skills to design and construct their own buildings. Download The Art of Construction. Discovering More

Growing Up in the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s

Investigate artifacts from these remarkable decades to learn about the fads and fancies that shaped Chicago in the late twentieth century. Smiley Face Circle Stories Students will explore artifacts from the 1970s to learn about the fads and fancies that shaped this remarkable decade. They will then write collaborative “circle stories” about the objects. Since More

The Great Migration

Gain empathy and understanding of the people who participated in one of the biggest population shifts in US history. Travelers in Time By examining artifacts from the era of the second wave of the Great Migration, students will learn about one of the biggest population shifts in the history of the United States. Download Travelers More

Transportation History

Explore Chicago’s prominent role in the history of the railroads through transportation artifacts—both past and present. The Golden Spike Students will read “Joseph’s Railroad Dreams,” a historical fiction story, to learn about the history of the railroads. They will then explore and interpret railroad artifacts and write their own inscription for the ceremonial Golden Spike. Download More

Industry and Innovation

Complete an in-depth exploration of a common household item to uncover the history hidden in everyday objects. Show Me a Flowerpot By comparing and contrasting handmade and machine-made products, students will learn about the evolution of production processes in American history. Download Show Me a Flowerpot. Time in a Teakettle Students will compare and contrast More

Early Chicago: The Fur Trade

Discover Chicago’s beginning as a fur-trade outpost in the early nineteenth century. Treasure Chest Students will read a historical fiction story called “Trading Mystery” to learn what life was like in early Chicago during the fur-trade era. Students will then analyze and share their impressions of a “treasure chest” full of early Chicago artifacts. Download More

The Hidden Life of Artifacts

Introduce students to historical inquiry through hands-on exploration of artifacts. Each lesson can be adapted for use with objects from any historical era. Artifact Analysis In this lesson, students will explore and analyze the items in an artifact kit, an important first step in developing historical empathy. The interpretation of these artifacts encourages students to More

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