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Educator Program

Virtual Teacher Workshop | Righting a Wrong: Investigating the Catherine O’Leary Legend

Saturday, March 26

For 150 years, Catherine O’Leary has been unfairly blamed for starting the Great Chicago Fire. In this educator workshop, join us on Zoom as we investigate how the myth started, why it has persisted, and the lessons we can draw from it. Explore the lived experience of the O’Leary family and what life was like for new immigrants and longtime Chicago residents during the late nineteenth century. We’ll seek answers through examining historic materials ranging from Mrs. O’Leary’s testimony—and that of others—during the postfire investigation to illustrations that depict her. By the conclusion of the session, you’ll have resources and strategies to take back to your classroom so your students can conduct their own investigation to right this historic wrong.

$25; 3 PD hours. Participants will be emailed a Zoom link a few days prior to the workshop.

Illustration of the legend of Mrs. O'Leary and her cow kicking over a lamp to start the Chicago Fire of 1871, Chicago. ICHi-034703
Lithograph by Currier and Ives titled Chicago in Flames. Scene from the Chicago Fire of 1871. CHM, ICHi-023436
View of the Chicago Fire of 1871 at night under full moon, Chicago, Illinois.

The Details



26 th

9:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.



$ 25

Event Location

Chicago History Museum Sharing Chicago's Stories