Open today 9:30 am - 4:30 pm

At History à la Cart activity stations, students actively analyze and interpret the past.

Facilitated by trained staff and volunteers, these 20-minute hands-on experiences are designed for grades 3 to 8 and work best with groups of about ten students.

Grades 3 to 5

The Great Chicago Fire
Use an oversized map, icons, photographs, and firsthand accounts to trace the events of October 8–10, 1871, and collaboratively tell the story of the fire.

Prairie Landscape
Measure and mark the height and root depth of native plants. Imagine the vastness of the prairie through images and settlers’ accounts.

Discover how the city’s skyline developed over time. Imagine living in the famous John Hancock Center. Explore Chicago’s skyscrapers through improvisation and building activities.

Discover objects through touch and discussion, then bring an adjective into the gallery and choose an artifact that matches it. Draw and write about your object, share your opinion, and find out what others think.

Grades 3 to 8

Create, construct, and test bridges to discover how they work and why they are so important in Chicago’s history.

Map Chicago’s history on this one-of-a-kind gallery hunt. Use a compass and geography skills to connect artifacts to locations on a large, eye-catching map.


History à la Cart activity stations are available between 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. in the Chicago: Crossroads of America exhibition. For more flexibility during your visit, all stations are accessible on a first come, first-served basis.


Generous support for the History à la Cart activity stations was provided by the Albert Pick, Jr. Fund. The Museum gratefully acknowledges the support of Carole and Gordon Segal and Bank of America, who made the maps station possible.

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