Open today 9:30 am - 4:30 pm

Middle and High School Students

Discover the historical context. Create the future.

Engage and empower your students with these field trip options. Register in advance for a student workshop or self-guided iPod tour and take advantage of our free in-gallery activities. Limited availability June through August.



Student Exhibition Analysis Activities

Designed to support student analysis and interpretation of Race: Are We So Different?, two student activity sheets are available for download prior to your visit. Words and Meaning asks students to consider the language we use around race and note their evolving ideas of what these words mean. Reflection and Response is a graphic organizer that assists students in recording and interpreting information they find in the exhibition.

Drop-in Gallery Activities

Deepen student engagement around the themes and content of the exhibition by engaging in these twenty-minute activities facilitated by Museum staff.

Color Terms

Students work in small groups to sort paint chips and discuss the language we use to describe color. This activity illuminates the difficulty in assigning colors to specific groups and that the way society groups people into races based on skin color is arbitrary and subjective, influenced by culture and human experience.

My Portrait

Using “people color crayons” students sketch self-portraits and then view Kip Fulbeck’s The Hapa Project featuring photographic portraits of people of Asian or Pacific Rim mixed-race heritage, accompanied by the sitters’ personal statements. Drawing inspiration from Fulbeck, students add reflections on identity to their sketches and during a closing discussion, consider the wide spectrum of human appearance and the multifaceted nature of our identities.



Making Sense of the Census

During this experience students examine the race and ethnicity questions on the US census from key years between 1870 and 2010 through completing the form for a hypothetical person. Discussions around how the racial categories on the census have changed over time will assist students in considering what the 2020 census should include and weigh the effects these decisions could have. The activity concludes with students completing a Personal Census Statement to consider identity beyond check boxes on a form.


Facing Freedom Student Workshop

Recommended for grades 7 to 12
75-minute experience per class. Cost: $5 per student. Make a reservation.

Based on Facing Freedom in America, this workshop encourages critical thought about freedom and issues of social justice in American history, particularly in the areas of workers’ rights, armed conflict, public protest, and race and citizenship. Students become historians as they analyze and discuss objects and then add their own voices to the exhibition—curating a display case filled with their selected artifacts and handwritten interpretive text.

Advance reservations required. This workshop is available Monday through Friday and can accommodate ten to sixty-five students per day.

Audio Experiences

Grades 6 to 12
Make the most of your visit with our self-guided iPod tours. Choose from three tours: In Our Own Words, Chicago Authored, and Crossroads Authored. Advance reservations required. Cost: $2 per iPod. Capacity: 45 users. Learn more.

Conversation Starters

Grades 6 to 12
Enrich your visit to Chicago: Crossroads of America with these role-play activities. Free and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

NC_161_044“L” Cards

Climb aboard Chicago’s first “L” car and imagine riding home from a visit to the 1893 world’s fair in Jackson Park. Using character cards, students assume turn-of-the-century personas and engage their seatmates in conversations about their favorite parts of the fair.

Jazz Talk

Take a seat in the Jazz and Blues Club and use slang cards to have a Roaring Twenties–style conversation.

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