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About the Program

The Chicago Learning Collaborative is a K–12 museum education initiative that provides students meaningful learning experiences that are centered around Chicago history and incorporate diverse narratives and perspectives. The CLC programs are classroom-based and free to schools that participate. They are designed to be relevant, accessible, and culturally responsive to their audiences, who are provided a choice of stories and workshops that fit their learning goals. Program content highlights the value in local communities and connects history with the present, demonstrating the students’ power to shape their future. CLC programs are grounded on the idea that history is complex, diverse, and dynamic, and the future is yet to be written. Participants are active learners who use the inquiry process, collaborate to interpret history, and innovate with different forms of self-expression to connect with the past. Each program culminates in a family event at the Museum where parents, students, and the public have an opportunity to view a temporary exhibition of the students’ work and celebrate their achievements.

Our Approach

The CLC centers its programs around culturally responsive teaching (CRT), a research-based approach that makes meaningful connections between what students learn in school and their cultures, languages, and life experiences. These connections help students access rigorous curriculum, develop higher-level academic skills, and see the connections between what they learn at school and their daily lives. At the core of all CLC programs is the CRT framework which supports educators by enhancing their work, students by providing them with culturally responsive content and workshops, parents by providing access to the museum and learning workshops, and the community by committing to work with local Chicago artists, businesses, and various professionals who are part of the communities our programs serve.


The CLC is made up of three distinct programs for each grade level

Since 2017, Chicago Literacies has partnered with over 15 schools with a majority student population of English Learners, 25 educators across the southside and lower westside of the city, impacting over 700 students. This free program offers 21 English/Spanish articles with accompanying read along audios that focus on Chicago Stories. All articles come with fully developed lesson plans for educators. The program also offers teacher professional development, museum visits, classroom visits, student and parent workshops. The program culminates in a family event at the museum where parents, students, and the general public have an opportunity to view a temporary exhibition of the students’ work. This program is being coordinated by Ema Pinto, the CLC elementary school programs coordinator.


Piloting the 2021/2022 school year, the Chicago Inquiries program will partner with eight grades 6-8th CPS schools to support educators in integrating the inquiry method in their classrooms. This approach will center local Chicago histories, this free program will offer educators access to an English/Spanish curriculum with accompanying lesson plans. Educators will have access to professional development, all supplies needed to execute the lesson plans, and a bus funds for museum visits. Students will have an opportunity to attend a research symposium at the museum with museum professionals and a wide range of artists to assist them in the completion of an inquiry-based project at the end of the school year. At the end of the program educators, students, and parents will be able to attend a family day event at the museum where the students’ work will be features.



The Chicago Artivism program supports educators in integrating the arts into the teaching of history. This program introduces educators to the concept of Artivism as a way to explore local civic social movements through the ways they have utilized art to impact change. Chicago Artivism will partner with twelve CPS educators. This free program offers educators a fully developed curriculum with accompanying lesson plans, two teacher professional development workshops, artist workshops with local Chicago artist, and access to all teaching materials including art supplies. At the end of the program educators, students, and parents will be able to attend a family day event at the museum where the students’ work will be features. During the summer, youth of this program will be invited to put their new found knowledge in Artivism to use and join the Chicago History Museum in partnering with a local community organization in order to support set organization through arts based civic engagement.


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Chicago History Museum Sharing Chicago's Stories