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

Our Great Loss

On the fiftieth anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s death, CHM director of curatorial affairs Joy L. Bivins reflects on his assassination. On this date fifty years ago, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was fatally shot on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. Today, around our city and throughout the More

Remembering Dr. King’s Legacy

CHM curatorial assistant Brittany Hutchinson reflects on her work for our newest exhibition, Remembering Dr. King: 1929–1968. The entrance to Remembering Dr. King. Photograph by CHM staff At the Chicago History Museum, we are honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with an exhibition, Remembering Dr. King: 1929–1968. It includes objects More

Fighting for the Right to Vote

For Women’s History Month, head into storage with CHM collection technician Jessica McPheters for a closer look at two artifacts that document twentieth-century political strife and women’s suffrage in Chicago. In the summer of 2016, the collections team began working on an inventory of the Decorative and Industrial Arts (DIA) collection at the Chicago History More

Bundled Up for Freezer Storage

As part of Monday Night Nitrates, our weekly photograph series, the Chicago History Museum collections staff is blogging about the process of digitizing approximately 35,000 nitrate negatives, a project funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. In this post, CHM paper conservator Carol Turchan writes about how the negatives were prepared for digitization More

Searching for African American Voices in the Research Center

To cap off Black History Month, CHM cataloging and metadata librarian Gretchen Neidhardt writes about her search for the voices of African American servicemen in our archives. While in the process of digitizing the last of our paper card catalog for 6,000 small manuscript collections, I noticed that several items mentioned “Negro Troops.” (Our card More

The Raeburn Flerlage Collection

Collections volunteer Robert Blythe writes about photographer Raeburn Flerlage, who captured the blues and folk scenes in 1960s Chicago. If you’re a fan of American roots music, then the Chicago History Museum’s Raeburn Flerlage collection is a must-see. Ray, as he was known, spent much of the 1960s taking candid photographs in Chicago’s premier blues More

La Raza

Hector Gonzalez is the gallery engagement lead for Race: Are We So Different? from November 2017 until July 2018. In this blog post, he reflects on his experience thus far. My time in the Race: Are We So Different? exhibition brings up mixed emotions. Yes, it is a very powerful experience and has confirmed that More

The John A. McDermott Papers

CHM archives intern Ashley Clark worked with archivist Julie Wroblewski to process the papers of John A. McDermott, a local leader in race relations and urban affairs from the 1960s into the 1990s. This past fall, I had the opportunity to process the John A. McDermott papers at the Chicago History Museum. I had processed More

Digitizing Images from Nitrate Negatives

As part of Monday Night Nitrates, our new weekly photograph series, the Chicago History Museum collections staff is blogging about the process of digitizing approximately 35,000 nitrate negatives. In this post, former CHM photographer Joseph Aaron Campbell writes about the painstaking task of converting analog negatives to digital images. The task of digitizing this nitrate 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