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Great Chicago Stories

                            Enrich your instruction with Great Chicago Stories, an award-winning suite of twelve historical fiction narratives and supporting classroom resources. Download the narratives, which were written and classroom-tested by local teachers, and corresponding artifact sets. Use the map interactive to see where More

America’s Documents of Freedom

The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and the Emancipation Proclamation are often referred to collectively as the Documents of Freedom. As a group, these documents demonstrate the evolution of American democracy and freedoms. The lessons in this unit examine how changes in government impact individuals differently; how freedom is interpreted through More

The Civil War: Up Close and Personal

Confederate Private William D. Huff began a diary after he was captured during the Battle of Chickamauga, fought September 18 and 19, 1863. In his diary, Huff narrates his experiences at Camp Douglas, Chicago’s confederate prison camp. He includes descriptions of escape attempts, harsh punishments, and disease. The diary ends with Huff’s parole and return 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

Face-to-Face with the Great Depression

During the Great Depression approximately 25 percent of working Americans lost their jobs, but how did this really affect the people who lived through those years, and how do our times relate to their experiences? In this unit, students will study the causes and effects of the Depression through the reflections of those who lived 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

History in Your Hands Introduction

History in Your Hands is an innovative, object-based instructional resource. The Chicago History Museum partnered with nineteen Chicago Public School teachers to develop classroom artifact kits and accompanying learning activities through the History Connections and Artifact Collections project. The resulting lessons span a broad range of topics and themes in Chicago and United States history and More

Lincoln’s Undying Words

Explore Abraham Lincoln’s changing views toward slavery and racial equality through five of his key speeches: A House Divided (1858); his first and second inaugural addresses (1861, 1865); the Gettysburg Address (1863); and the speech on Reconstruction (1865). Use the two PDFs to help your students interpret and investigate the legacy of Lincoln’s presidency as More

History Lab Introduction

Inspired by the Museum’s collection, local classroom teachers wrote and tested History Lab lesson plans. They are grouped into twelve topics. Lessons from each unit may be used independently or as a set. Each lesson includes a lesson plan, student materials, and reproductions of artifacts and/or photographs from the Museum’s collection. These materials may be downloaded, More

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