Adult Group Visits

Experience history, together

Stories are always better when shared! Bring your group to the Chicago History Museum and walk in the footsteps of the city’s past on a private tour. Groups of ten or more adults receive a discount when reserving at least four weeks in advance.

Whether you are a professional tour operator, group planner, or you simply have a lot of friends and family, we have an experience for you. Customized itineraries, Museum tours, city tours, and a variety of lunch options are just some of the ways we can specialize your group’s visit. We also have virtual options.

Special Winter Offer!  

Bring your group to the Chicago History Museum during January or February 2024 and enjoy $2 off per person for group admission and guided gallery tours! Email grouptours@chicagohistory.org to book today. 

Groups sales booked in January or February for other months do not qualify. Minimum of 10 people required; maximum varies for guided tours. 

Current Offerings

Our expert group sales team has carefully crafted private tours that tell Chicago’s story both inside the Museum and out in the city. You can also take a self-guided tour or enjoy a virtual experience with one of our experts.

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Behind-the-Scenes Tours

General Guidelines

  • Subject to availability.
  • For pricing, email: grouptours@chicagohistory.org.
  • Please review specific guidelines for each tour; note that group size varies and must be adhered to for visitor, staff, and collection safety (no exceptions).
  • No more than one tour per day.
  • No children; students must be university level and up; when university student groups attend, teachers/professors must be present and engaged in managing the group.
  • Because storage spaces are enclosed and can be congested, we request that those going on behind-the-scenes tours wear masks (just as we do for Abakanowicz Research Center visitors); if you don’t have a mask, one will be provided.

Behind-the-Scenes Tour

On our behind-the-scenes tour, visitors will get a taste of CHM’s wide variety of collections and activities beyond the exhibitions. What you see will vary depending on our current projects and the particular expertise of your guide. Tours are led by conservators, collections managers, archivists, or other staff who may share favorite items not currently on display, inside looks at collections storage and conservation labs, or even work on new exhibitions in development. With over 20,000 linear feet of archival material and more than 23 million artifacts, there’s always much to see!

Specific Guidelines

  • Tour duration: 60 minutes
  • Group size: minimum of 10; maximum of 15
  • Two weeks advance notice required
  • Tours only offered the 4th Friday of the month at 11:00 a.m.

Costume Collection Storage Tour

The Costume and Textiles Collection at the Chicago History Museum is one of the largest clothing collections in the country. Get an inside look at rarely seen objects with CHM costume collection manager Jessica Pushor and learn how they are stored, cared for, and prepared for exhibitions. Depending on circumstances, some special requests to tailor to tour group interests can be accommodated. Group size is limited due to space constraints within the storage facilities.

Specific Guidelines

  • Tour duration: 60 minutes
  • Group size: maximum of 10
  • Four weeks advance notice required

Museum Tours

Explore Chicago history your way. Whether your group prefers a guided or self-guided gallery or walking tour—or even a scavenger hunt—you’ll find a unique way to experience the Chicago History Museum and the city’s fascinating stories.

Richard M. and Shirley H. Jaffee History Trail

Book your walking tour of the new must-see destination at Lincoln Park’s southwest corner—the Richard M. and Shirley H. Jaffee History Trail! Examine a historic fire relic from the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, visit the Couch Tomb (a reminder that the area was once a cemetery), and take in a collection of community-inspired kinetic sculptures by local artist Bernard Williams. Then, visit additional tour stops that amplify Chicago’s personality, highlighting the city’s resilience, connectivity, natural beauty, and complexities.

Tours happen rain or shine. Attendees should dress appropriately for the weather.

Tour options:

  • Jaffee History Trail only
  • Jaffee History Trail + guided tour of permanent exhibition Chicago: Crossroads of America
  • Jaffee History Trail + guided tour of a feature exhibition, such as City on Fire: Chicago 1871 or any other temporary exhibition
  • Jaffee History Trail + self-guided exploration of CHM (the discounted group rate)

Group size: Minimum 10, maximum 25 people

Duration: 30 minutes. For group rate, please inquire through the online form below.

Guided Tours of Permanent Exhibitions

Learn the backstory and see Chicago’s past and present from a historian’s perspective with guided or self-guided tours.

HIGHLIGHTS OF CHICAGO

Discover the city’s vast history in Chicago: Crossroads of America. Whether you want to explore the grandeur of the world fairs of 1893 and 1933, or Chicago innovations that changed the world like skyscrapers and modern retail, or the diverse neighborhoods and lively cultural scene, this exhibition is a must see!

Duration: 50–60 minutes

Group size: Minimum 10, maximum varies with each exhibition. Please inquire.

Cost: $21 for adults; $19 for seniors (65+) and college students

Guided Tours of Special Exhibitions

CITY ON FIRE: CHICAGO 1871

A rapidly growing city built of wood. A summer-long heat wave. An exhausted and misdirected team of firefighters. Racial, social, and economic tensions bubbling just below the surface. All Chicago needed was a spark. Learn more about our exhibition, which opened on October 8, 2021, the 150th anniversary of when the Great Chicago Fire began.

 

BACK HOME: POLISH CHICAGO

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.

Duration: 50–60 minutes

Group size: Minimum 10, maximum varies with each exhibition. Please inquire.

Cost: $23 for adults; $21 for seniors (65+) and college students

Self-Guided Tours

Learn all about Chicago history as you stroll through the galleries at your own pace.

  • Chicago: Crossroads of America
  • City on Fire: Chicago 1871
  • Back Home: Polish Chicago

Group size: Minimum 10, maximum 100 people

Duration: 2–4 hours. The group rate of $17 for adults and $15 for seniors/college students applies. 

History Scavenger Hunt

How much do you know about Chicago? Test your knowledge with a scavenger hunt in the Museum. This tour is ideal for team-building or for a fun way to experience history.

Cost: $2 per person in addition to the self-guided tour fee.

City Walking Tours

Chicago is a city of neighborhoods—lace up your shoes and explore them on foot! Tours run 1.5 to 2 hours. For pricing, email:  grouptours@chicagohistory.org.

Tours subject to availability. Please schedule 4 weeks in advance. The following tours are offered spring through fall.

Historic Old Town

From postfire recovery to the hub of Chicago bohemianism in the 1960s and ’70s, Old Town reveals diverse stories about the city’s past. Highlights include a shelter cottage, St. Michael’s Church, the Midwest Buddhist Temple, and numerous historic residences. Minimum 10 participants.
Meet at the Chicago History Museum.

Glitterati on the Gold Coast

Whisk away to a time when Chicago’s rich and famous caroused on the coast. Gaze at ornate architecture by Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Sullivan, step onto a rare wood-block alleyway, and take in Chicago’s early mansions, including the Archbishop’s Residence. Minimum 10 participants.
Meet at the Chicago History Museum.

Pilsen Murals

Walk through Pilsen with local guide Luis Tubens and get the larger meaning behind the artwork in Chicago’s capital of Mexican cultures. The tour weaves the history of Pilsen with vibrant large-scale murals and lived personal experiences. Minimum 20 participants.
Meet outside the National Museum of Mexican Art, 1852 West 19th Street.

Bronzeville

Did you know that Bronzeville is home to many of Chicago’s treasured landmarks? This tour gets you up close to the culture, history, landmarks, and great stories in a great neighborhood. We’ll see the Walk of Fame, celebrate the music, learn about how the Black Belt became the Black Metropolis, and celebrate the cultural institutions that existed and endure. Minimum 20 participants.
Meet at the SE corner of 35th Street and Martin Luther King Drive.

Graceland Cemetery

Discover the remarkable stories of the Chicago elite buried in this famous cemetery, including Marshall Field, Louis Sullivan, George Pullman, and Potter and Bertha Palmer. Minimum 20 participants.
Meet at 4001 North Clark Street.

Virtual Experiences

Delve into Chicago history from wherever you are! Our new exclusive lectures with Chicago History Museum curatorial staff can be enjoyed from the comfort of your home, your virtual office, or incorporated into your next virtual event.

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Ready to Get Started?

Ready to Get Started?

Request Your Private Group Tour or Experience Here

Groups of ten or more—social organizations, hobbyists, even huge families—can enjoy savings by booking at least four weeks in advance.

Your group will have access to a dedicated entrance, including access for motor coaches and buses. A CHM representative will meet your group, answer any questions you may have, and get your visit off to a great start.

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Please enter as: 1st Choice: MM/DD/YYYY 2nd Choice: MM/DD/YYYY 3rd Choice: MM/DD/YYYY
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Please review specific guidelines for each tour; note that group size varies and must be adhered to for visitor, staff, and collection safety (no exceptions).
Guided (minimum is 10; the maximum group size varies for special exhibitions, see above); *Guided tours must be confirmed before the 15th of the preceding month.
Masks are optional. Minimum 10 or 20 participants (see below). Tours subject to availability. Please schedule 4 weeks in advance.
Would you like to plan lunch for your group?

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