Through the lens of Chicago’s Polish communities, experience the journeys immigrants have taken to get to the city, the ways they have established themselves in its neighborhoods, and the duality of feeling a deep connection to two places at once.

Back Home: Polish Chicago features more than 90 artifacts and documents as well as more than 100 reproduced photographs to help tell the story of the Chicago area’s vibrant Polish communities from the mid-1800s to today. Explore personal narratives, music, community involvement, as well as art installations from five local Polish artists.

Learn more about Chicago’s Polish communities in the following blog posts:

Palm Sunday or Niedziela Palmowa

Happy Pączki Day!

John Kikulski and the Labor Movement

Poland’s Independent Presence at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition

Exhibiting a Post-World War II Wedding Dress

Wesołego Alleluja: Holy Week and Easter in Chicago’s Polish Catholic Community

This exhibition is a collaborative project and oral history initiative with the Polish History Museum (Warsaw, Poland), Polish Museum of America, and Loyola University Chicago Polish Studies program.

PC206 Lech Wałęsa rally poster, 1989. Courtesy of the Joseph and Slawa Migala Family.
Man kissing his mother on Mother’s Day at Holy Trinity Polish Church Man kissing his mother on Mother's Day at Holy Trinity Polish Church, 1112 North Noble Street, Chicago, Illinois, May 1988.
Performers at Christian Millennium Celebration at Soldier Field Performers and priests at Soldier Field for Polish Christian Millennium Celebration, 1410 Museum Campus Drive, Chicago, Illinois. ST-15002327-0006, Chicago Sun-Times collection, Chicago History Museum
People in Avondale neighborhood Shoppers on North Milwaukee Avenue in Avondale and Concordia Lutheran Church at 2600 West Belmont Avenue, Chicago, Illinois.
Metal Warsaw eagle. Courtesy of Dorota (Wolkowicz) Stephanides Metal Warsaw eagle. Courtesy of Dorota (Wolkowicz) Stephanides

Curators & Collaborators

Peter Alter
Peter Alter
Gary T. Johnson Chief Historian / Director, Studs Terkel Center for Oral History

RCoffman, Headshot (2022)
Rebekah Coffman
Curator of Religion and Community History

Dominic A. Pacyga
Professor Emeritus of History at Columbia College Chicago

Joanna Wojdon
Professor of History at the University of Wrocław

Translate »