April 8, 2019-January 21, 2020

Meet the Original Influencers

Showcasing fashions from Paris, New York, Chicago, and Hollywood, Silver Screen to Mainstream tracks how Hollywood's glamorous reach extended to all classes in the 1930s through the 1940s. The exhibition tells a tale of making it big, making do, and maintaining appearances during a tumultuous era in American history.


Featuring thirty garments by designers such as Chanel, Vionnet, Valentina, Paul du Pont, Howard Greer, and Adrian, we'll be introduced to a time when sophisticated design lent a perception of stability as the nation grappled with its reinvention.

Upcoming Programming

Shall We Dance:

Opening Night Gala

Hosted by the Costume Council

April 5 | 6:00PM

The Hollywood and ballroom dance inspired evening will feature a champagne reception with silent auction, exhibition viewing, elegant dinner, and dancing to the sounds of Michael Lerich and his Orchestra.

Members' Opening Weekend

April 6-7 | Museum Hours

Members receive exclusive access to the exhibition during opening weekend. Be sure to purchase a Museum membership in order to be among the first to see the exhibition!

Members Celebration

May 2 | 6–8:00PM

Celebrate the opening of our newest fashion exhibition in style. This event features curator-led talks, exhibition staff available to answer your questions, a live band, and food and drinks from the era. So blow your wig and get dizzy with us!

Let us help you plan.

Special discounted group rates are available. 

Call 312-799-2162 or email [email protected] for more information. 

Bringing a group?

Access the Collection

This collection is now accessible to the public through the Museum’s Research Center, which holds the Museum’s archives, manuscripts, prints and photographs and more. 


A curated collection of Chicago's modern design photography is available online at Chicago History Museum Images.

Bring Hollywood Glamour into your Home

Featuring an essay authored by the exhibition curator, Virginia Heaven, this publication serves as a companion to the Silver Screen to Mainstream exhibit. The catalog documents artifacts from the Chicago History Museum's famed costume collection featured in the exhibition so you can take home all of the garments, accessories, and their stories.

Want to become a member?

Sign up now!

Exhibition Sponsors

Silver Screen to Mainstream is sponsored by the Costume Council of the Chicago History Museum with presenting sponsor Liz Stiffel. Established in part by the Elizabeth Morse Charitable Trust and the Elizabeth Morse Genius Charitable Trust, the Exhibition Innovation Fund has provided additional funding for this exhibition.

LIZ STIFFEL

Sponsored by

Presenting Sponsor

Title Sponsor

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