Notice

Museum Closure • Weds, January 18: All Day More

What are the Museum Collections?

Museum Collections are a broad category of historical materials (primarily objects) that require specialized storage and handling and are therefore generally unavailable for broad public research use. Museum Collections are used extensively in the Chicago History Museum’s exhibitions, publications, and public programs; they are also made available for loans to other museums and to support academic research by Museum staff and outside scholars.

Museum Collections include:

How can I learn more about the Museum Collections?

A growing number of catalog records and images of our Museum Collections is available to search or browse in our Collection Online portal.

Requests for information about the Museum’s artifact holdings may be submitted online using the Object Research Inquiry Form. Museum staff will typically respond to your inquiry within two weeks. However, due to the high volume of inquiries – and depending upon the nature of your request – additional time may be required to respond.

We also encourage you explore to our other Online Research Resources, including the Encyclopedia of Chicago and the image licensing portal. 

How can I request an in-person research appointment to view a portion of the Museum Collections?

In-person access to the Architecture (models and fragments), Costume and Textiles, Decorative and Industrial Arts, and Paintings and Sculpture holdings is available by appointment only.

Due to the extensive resources required to handle and retrieve these historical materials, research appointments are available only to researchers who are able to demonstrate that in-person access is required to support substantive research and that the results of that research will be disseminated widely. Please note that not all objects will be available for researcher access due to condition, location, staff availability, and/or other factors. Scheduling an appointment to view available material may require several additional weeks.

To request an in-person research appointment, please submit the Object Research Inquiry Form.

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