Open today 9:30 am - 4:30 pm

Give blood. Give life.

Did you know the first blood bank in the United States was in Chicago? In March 1937, Dr. Bernard Fantus opened a blood preservation laboratory at Cook County Hospital, and in 1939, Baxter Laboratories in the north suburbs invented the “Transfuso-Vac,” a device that allowed blood to be stored for up to 21 days.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, blood donation has become more crucial than ever, and the Chicago History Museum is honored to partner with the American Red Cross for a blood drive on Monday, June 15, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Museum.

Bernard M. Fantus (1874–1940), 1935. Smithsonian Institution Archives, Accession 90-105, Science Service Records, Image No. SIA2008-0526

Blood is a perishable product that can come only from volunteer blood donors. With someone in the US needing blood every two seconds, blood products must be constantly replenished. Donors with all blood types are needed, especially those with types O negative, A negative, and B negative. One pint of blood can help save up to three lives and will touch the lives of so many more!

Appointments are required in order to observe social distancing. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience this may cause.

Schedule an appointment.

A Red Cross blood bank railroad car, April 4, 1952. HB-15055-C, CHM, Hedrich-Blessing Collection

The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement has been making a humanitarian impact for more than 135 years, including more than 75 years of collecting blood and supplying it to those in need. The American Red Cross is asking donors who are feeling healthy and well to make an appointment to give blood to maintain the blood supply for patients who rely on lifesaving transfusions. We can all be part of this crucial work to strengthen the blood supply and give back to our community. Learn more.

A Red Cross blood bank railroad car, April 4, 1952. HB-15055-C, CHM, Hedrich-Blessing Collection
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