Masks required in Abakanowicz Research Center; optional for rest of Museum MORE

The Abakanowicz Research Center requires visitors to wear masks. We thank you in advance for helping us maintain a safe environment for staff and visitors. Learn more about the Museum’s safety policies and procedures. 

Color photograph of staff and visitors at the Chicago History Museum's Abakanowicz Research Center.

Welcome to the Abakanowicz Research Center

Fall Hours

September 9–December 23: Tuesday–Friday, 12:00–3:30 p.m., Saturday, 10:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m.

Closed: November 22–25, December 24, 2023–January 1, 2024

The Abakanowicz Research Center (ARC) holds the Research Collections of the Chicago History Museum, which comprise printed material, archives and manuscripts, prints and photographs, architectural drawings, and assorted ephemera.

Admission to the ARC is free. Reservations are not required. Children under 6 will not be admitted.

We encourage you to email to ensure that an on-site visit is best for your needs. If you have identified items that need advance request, please email us at

Starting Tuesday, May 30, reservations will no longer be required, and there will no longer be a capacity limit. Please note that masks will still be required.


Much of our material is fragile; please respect the following policies:

  • Pencils only
  • Cell phones silent
  • No food, drink, or gum


We have 6 PCs in the ARC with access to our online resources:

  • The ARCHIE catalog
  • The historical Chicago Tribune and Chicago Defender database
  • Sanborn Maps and more

Have a laptop or tablet? Wi-Fi is available; please ask for the password at the reference desk.

Before you visit

When you check in at the Ticket Desk, you will be asked to:

  • Present a valid driver’s license, state-issued identification card, or passport
  • Check coats, backpacks, and oversized bags in the Museum’s free coat check

The ARC has free lockers available for purses.

Quick Links

Guide to the Abakanowicz Research Center

An in-depth guide to the Chicago History Museum’s Abakanowicz Research Center, including hours, access, policies, subject guides, and other useful resources.

ARCHIE Online Catalog

Search ARCHIE for information on the Museum’s holdings that are served through the ARC. Materials described in ARCHIE include manuscripts; books and periodicals; and photographic materials. Please note that while this resource is extensive, it is not exhaustive.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can visit the Abakanowicz Research Center?

We are pleased to welcome authors; university and college teachers; independent scholars; photo researchers; members of the press; elementary and secondary school students; undergraduate and graduate students, including PhD candidates; architects; building developers; and family and house historians, among many others. Children under 6 will not be admitted.

How do I page materials?

The majority of our collections are housed outside of the Abakanowicz Research Center. Call slips are available on each table and should be filled out as completely as possible so that staff can retrieve the material. Material will not be paged after 2:30 p.m.

Some material, including color photographs, must be requested at least 48 hours in advance; a note in the catalog record will alert you to this type of restriction. Most of our material is fragile, so please respect the following policies: Pencils only. No food, drink, or gum.

Can I make photocopies or take pictures?

Photocopying Fees
$.25/page for History Fair students
Please note: Photocopies will not be made of city directories, newspapers, scrapbooks, maps, color photographs, and original photographs created prior to 1900. Depending on demand, photocopies may not be available for same-day pick up.

Camera Use Policy
Researchers may photograph most Abakanowicz Research Center material. If you wish to use your camera, please notify an ARC staff member upon arrival. By registering, you agree to our Camera Use Policy.

What if I'm unable to visit the Abakanowicz Research Center?

If you are unable to visit us in person, there are a number of options available:


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