Plan your safe visit more


Discover history through text analysis, hands-on encounters with objects, and focused time in our exhibitions.

Designed around the Common Core, these in-depth workshops help students work collaboratively, think critically, and consider multiple perspectives. Workshops are available Monday through Friday and can accommodate ten to sixty-five students (or two classrooms) per day. Please note: One workshop is typically held for each registered classroom. Free pre- and post-visit activities are provided to support your workshop experience.


Chicago Community Builders

Recommended for grades 1 and 2
Available September through March
30-minute experience per class. Cost: $2 per student

Explore different aspects of community in the Chicago: Crossroads of America exhibition. Working together, students design a neighborhood: making choices, determining placement of buildings, adding residents, and discussing community roles. Following the facilitated activity, we provide you with materials to activate our giant floor map of the city. help your students discover notable places from Chicago’s past and use conversation prompts to talk about the city today. Make a reservation.

Wonderful World’s Fair

Recommended for grades 3 and 4
45-minute experience per class. Cost: $3 per student

Imagine spending the day at the World’s Columbian Exposition! This workshop introduces students to the buildings and innovations of the fair, including the first-ever Ferris wheel. Journey back to 1893 through hands-on object and photograph analysis, a mapping exercise, firsthand accounts, and time in the Chicago: Crossroads of America exhibition. Make a reservation.

Painted Memories: The Great Chicago Fire

Recommended for grades 3 and 4
45-minute experience per class. Cost: $3 per student

There are no known photographs of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, but artists’ vivid depictions of it help us understand this important event. This workshop engages students in a close reading experience with Julia Lemos’s painting Memories of the Chicago Fire and her written account of the disaster. Students share their responses to the painting and the artist’s words through writing, drawing, discussion, and movement. The workshop concludes with an opportunity for students to create a cover for their own fire narrative. Make a reservation.

Painted Memories: The Great Chicago Fire Workshop is supported by a generous grant from the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Facing Freedom

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

Based on the Facing Freedom in America exhibition, this workshop encourages critical thought about freedom and issues of social justice, 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. Make a reservation.

Chicago History Museum Sharing Chicago's Stories