CHM collects objects, images, and documents that illuminate the history of the Chicago metropolitan area
In evaluating donation offers, the Museum seeks to acquire objects, images, and documents that have strong potential for meaningful future use in exhibitions, programs, and for research; that fill gaps in our existing holdings; and that present opportunities to reveal or expand upon a compelling and significant story or theme of Chicago history (or American history through the Civil War) as outlined in the Collecting Scope.
Contextual information (e.g., history of the material’s creation/creator, subject matter, and use) is especially important to Museum staff in their evaluation of the interpretive and research potential of objects, images, and documents. The Museum also evaluates donation offers in regard to their condition, the amount of time and other resources needed to process and store them, whether there is another repository that would be a better home for them, the material’s copyright status, and a variety of other criteria.
In general, the Museum prefers to acquire original objects, images, and documents over reproductions.