Masks required in Abakanowicz Research Center; optional for rest of Museum more

Commemorative Day

Family Event | Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Monday, January 17

Commemorate the enduring legacy of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at our annual family-friendly event. Join us as we reflect on his life and work—particularly in Chicago such as the Chicago Freedom Movement—through special family-friendly activities and performances for all ages.

As with all our Commemorative Days, the day’s activities are designed to honor and celebrate significant moments and figures in history. We strive to lift up Dr. King’s accomplishments to all community members in Chicago and its surrounding areas. We look forward to seeing you!

This event is FREE with Museum admission, which is complimentary for Illinois residents on this day. Reservations are appreciated but not required.

As per the City of Chicago’s safety guidelines, starting Monday, January 3, 2022, all CHM guests 5 years of age or older will be required to show proof that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 upon entry. CHM requires all visitors over age 2 and staff to wear a mask while inside the Museum or on a tour. Learn more about the Museum’s safety policies and procedures.


10:30–11:30 a.m. – Introductory Remarks  

Featuring Donald Lassere, CHM Edgar D. and Deborah R. Jannotta President and CEO; Erica Griffin, CHM Elizabeth F. Cheney Director of Education; and readings by community-based poets from the Chicago Poetry Center.

All ages welcome
2nd floor, Morse Genius Chicago Room  


11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. – Youth Workshop | Poetry and Protest Songs  

Led by the Chicago Poetry Center  

Recommended for 3rd grade and up; All ages welcome
2nd floor, Morse Genius Chicago Room  


12:30–1:00 p.m. – Hands-On History | Hidden Timelines  

Join our learning engagement associates to learn about people and places that may not always be included in the common narrative and add your own history to our timeline! Meet by the timeline behind the L car in the Chicago: Crossroads of America exhibition. 

All ages welcome
2nd floor, Exelon Wing 


1:00–1:45 p.m. – Musical Performance  

Enjoy a DJ set from award-winning post-disciplinary artist Sadie Woods

All ages welcome
1st floor, Guild Gallery 


2:00–3:30 p.m. – Panel Discussion | MLK, Affordable Housing, and Chicago’s Enduring Housing Rights Movement 

Join us for a conversation on Dr. King’s work on housing rights in Chicago as well as present-day housing rights activism. Moderated by Peter T. Alter, CHM Gary T. Johnson Chief Historian, with panelists Tiff Beatty of the National Public Housing Museum, Blanche Killingsworth of the North Lawndale Historical and Cultural Society, and Athena Williams of the Oak Park Regional Housing Center. Closing remarks by Erica Griffin.  

All ages welcome
1st floor, Robert R. McCormick Theater 

Please note: All event details are subject to change. Seating for performances is available on a first-come, first-served basis. The Museum doors open at 9:30 a.m. and close at 4:30 p.m. Due to special programming, The Great Chicago Adventure film will not run today. Thank you for understanding!

We are monitoring the COVID situation, and if a program format changes, you will be notified no later than one week in advance with updated details. 

Anti-Willis demonstrators, led by Martin Luther King, Jr., march from Grant Park to City Hall, Chicago,
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stands next to Albert Raby at a speakers podium during a march from Buckingham Fountain to City Hall to demonstrate for quality integrated education, Chicago, July 26, 1965. ST-10104095-0028, Chicago Sun-Times collection, CHM
Civil rights leaders Albert Raby, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rev. Ralph Abernathy, Edwin C. Berry, and others leading thousands of marchers from Buckingham Fountain to City Hall to demonstrate for quality integrated education, Chicago, July 26, 1965. ST-10104095-0027, Chicago Sun-Times collection, CHM
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speaks at the National Insurance Association convention at the Sheraton-Chicago Hotel, Chicago, Aug. 21, 1963. ST-17600521, Chicago Sun-Times Collection, CHM

The Details



17 th

10:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m.

Event Location

Chicago History Museum 

1601 N. Clark St. Chicago, IL 60614

Chicago History Museum Sharing Chicago's Stories