Chicago History Museum
Chicago History Museum
4.5
9:30 AM - 4:30 PM
Tuesday
9:30 AM - 4:30 PM
Wednesday
9:30 AM - 4:30 PM
Thursday
9:30 AM - 4:30 PM
Friday
9:30 AM - 4:30 PM
Saturday
9:30 AM - 4:30 PM
Sunday
12:00 PM - 5:00 PM
About
From Chicago's sports to politics, the Union Stockyards to the Great Chicago Fire - there's so much to explore at the Chicago History Museum. Dive right in with the Museum's exhibitions and programs or get out and explore the city through guided tours and events. Founded in 1856, the Chicago History Museum shares Chicago's stories, serving as a hub of scholarship and learning, inspiration and civic engagement. If you live in Chicago or visit here and are curious about the city's past, present and future, the museum should be your first stop.
Duration: 2-3 hours
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The area
Address
Neighbourhood: North Side
How to get there
  • Sedgwick • 8 min walk
Reach out directly
See what travellers are saying
  • Pompeylad
    Portsmouth, United Kingdom268 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Excellent Museum
    Called in here to get out of the rain. Ended up staying 3.5 hours & enjoyed every minute. So much information & beautiful presented. Staff very friendly & helpful. A really great afternoon. Go have a look.
    Visited July 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 11 July 2023
  • The_Coach55
    Ruislip, United Kingdom1,140 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Very Informative Museum
    Chicago History Museum is situated in the Near North Side region of the city close to Lincoln Park. From the Loop, we took the 22 bus from Dearborn & Randolph to Clark & North. There is a vast array of exhibits in the museum detailing Chicago’s importance as the crossroads of the USA. The city’s past industries are well documented. The railways, stockyards, the early days of cellphones (Motorola) and the advent of mail order shopping to name but a few. One of my favourite books, The Jungle by Upton Sinclair, about a Lithuanian family’s struggle working in the city’s stockyards is nicely portrayed. Key historical events in the city receive much coverage. The fire of 1871, the sinking of SS Eastland in the Chicago River in 1915 with the loss of over 800 lives, the race riots of 1919 and the protests during the Democratic convention in 1968 are well covered. I also enjoyed the exhibits relating to Martin Luther King and Abraham Lincoln. We spent a couple of hours here and could easily have stayed longer. Admission fee is $19 and the museum is closed on Mondays.
    Visited August 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 8 August 2023
  • hrobinson1114
    Nashville, Tennessee5,826 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    The place to learn about Chicago
    Located in old village, a few miles out of the loop/tourist district, this is not the typical museum stop in Chicago. I wouldn’t call it a must see, but if you want to know more about Chicago, it’s history, neighborhoods, population, and how it became the city it is today, this would be a great start to your Chicago trip. The main reason I came here is to see the Lincoln death bed. There is also a section on Lincoln’s Chicago. There is a prominent, poignant section on the Chicago fire. It tells the history, the rebuilding, and the long term effects on the city, but most impressively the exhibit displays artifacts from the fire: knickknacks, decor, melted buckets of nails, a burned hymnal, even cookies that burned so hot and fast that they turned to charcoal cookies. There was also a section on polish Chicago, which was so large and detailed that you’d really have to have an interest in the subject. There were sections on advancement of transport (trains, rail) as well as business (Sears, Montgomery Ward, Oscar Mayer etc). They covered several historical disasters in Chicago. They had a small superficial exhibit on race and civil rights, though it was whitewashed and weak. The Chicago blues section was pitiful and put together as an afterthought. Some displays were oversimplified and almost geared toward kids. There is an actual interactive kids section. If you want to know more about Chicago, this is the place to start. Admission is 19 bucks.
    Visited August 2023
    Travelled solo
    Written 19 August 2023
  • Vanessa S
    31 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great Museum
    We spent far longer than we anticipated at the museum. There are so many interesting exhibits, and lots to look at. We took a tour with one of the docents which was very interesting. This museum is well worth a visit.
    Visited August 2023
    Written 22 August 2023
  • MeryMeCo
    Galesburg, Illinois938 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Finally got to see the Lincoln bed!
    Living in Illinois and finally traveling to Washington DC and visiting Ford Theater and the Petersen House, I found out the actual bed where Lincoln died was in Chicago, Illinois. That trip was 8 years ago and we finally went to the Chicago History Museum today to see the bed. They have a great exhibit on the Chicago fire. Learned so much from everything there. We also liked the information about Fort Dearborn. We love history and we so happy we finally made it to the museum. It's definitely a great museum
    Visited October 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 12 October 2023
  • SUBZEROSKIDD10
    Thetford, Vermont1,101 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Chicago's Entire History In One Museum
    While it doesn’t always get the attention that is given to The Art Institute, the Field Museum, the Shedd Aquarium, or the Adler Planetarium, the Chicago History Museum offers a wonderful collection of history and artifacts from hundreds of years of Chicago’s timeline. There’s something for everyone here. I particularly liked the exhibit on the Great Chicago Fire, including the maps that show how fast it ravaged the city. The dioramas were also so amazingly detailed. The museum is located right on the edge of Lincoln Park, so it is easily accessible from the Zoo. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to envision the future of Chicago by learning from its past.
    Visited December 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 28 January 2024
  • Taylor B
    Chicago, Illinois8,279 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Connecting people to Chicago's history
    My wife and I are very fortunate. We live in Chicago's Gold Coast neighborhood. From our dining room window, we can see the Chicago History Museum at 1601 North Clark Street, at the corner of Clark and North Avenue, on the fringe of Lincoln Park. We also are fortunate because we are members of the museum. We make regular visits to have breakfast or lunch and view the new exhibits and other historical collections that document the history of Chicago. The museum, which includes a cafe and book store, is open from 9:30 to 4:30 Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 on Sunday. Founded in 1856, much of the museum's first collection was destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, including Abraham Lincoln's final draft of the Emancipation Proclamation. But the museum rose from the ashes. Today, among the permanent items on display are Lincoln's deathbed, clothing that Lincoln and his wife Mary Todd Lincoln wore on the evening of his assassination, pieces of furniture from the room in the Petersen House where Lincoln died and the table on which General Robert E. Lee signed his 1965 surrender to General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House in Virginia. Also on permanent display are the first passenger car to operate on the Chicago L system and the Pioneer, the first locomotive to operate in Chicago. Chicago: Crossroads of America is a 16,000-square-foot space that explores the city's development an its relationship to and influence on American history. All told, the museum houses 23 million objects in its collection. Current exhibits include Back Home: Polish Chicago, an overview of the city's Polish community, one of the largest in the country; City on Fire: Chicago 1871, recalling the Great Chicago Fire; Facing Freedom in America; Designing for Change: Chicago Protest Art of the 1960s and 1970s; and Aqui en Chicago, a new project that celebrates the historically persistent cultural presence of Latino communities in Chicago. There's never a dull moment when you visit the Chicago History Museum.
    Visited May 2024
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 4 June 2024
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles1,207 reviews
Excellent
664
Very good
398
Average
107
Poor
26
Terrible
12

DriveAllNight
New City, NY261 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2024 • Couples
We thoroughly enjoyed joyed the exhibits - and we learned so much about Chicago’s history. Really nice and helpful staff too.
Written 8 June 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Taylor B
Chicago, IL8,279 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2024 • Couples
My wife and I are very fortunate. We live in Chicago's Gold Coast neighborhood. From our dining room window, we can see the Chicago History Museum at 1601 North Clark Street, at the corner of Clark and North Avenue, on the fringe of Lincoln Park. We also are fortunate because we are members of the museum. We make regular visits to have breakfast or lunch and view the new exhibits and other historical collections that document the history of Chicago. The museum, which includes a cafe and book store, is open from 9:30 to 4:30 Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 on Sunday. Founded in 1856, much of the museum's first collection was destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, including Abraham Lincoln's final draft of the Emancipation Proclamation. But the museum rose from the ashes. Today, among the permanent items on display are Lincoln's deathbed, clothing that Lincoln and his wife Mary Todd Lincoln wore on the evening of his assassination, pieces of furniture from the room in the Petersen House where Lincoln died and the table on which General Robert E. Lee signed his 1965 surrender to General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House in Virginia. Also on permanent display are the first passenger car to operate on the Chicago L system and the Pioneer, the first locomotive to operate in Chicago. Chicago: Crossroads of America is a 16,000-square-foot space that explores the city's development an its relationship to and influence on American history. All told, the museum houses 23 million objects in its collection. Current exhibits include Back Home: Polish Chicago, an overview of the city's Polish community, one of the largest in the country; City on Fire: Chicago 1871, recalling the Great Chicago Fire; Facing Freedom in America; Designing for Change: Chicago Protest Art of the 1960s and 1970s; and Aqui en Chicago, a new project that celebrates the historically persistent cultural presence of Latino communities in Chicago. There's never a dull moment when you visit the Chicago History Museum.
Written 4 June 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Tom S
Ypsilanti, MI190 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2024 • Couples
The building is nice, and the exhibits are professionally designed and installed. There’s plenty to see. But the format and content of the labels left a lot to be desired. Seemingly important informations was difficult to find or not provided. Found a couple of typos, too. Their takes on the Haymarket incident and the police riot of 1968 read like press releases from the Chicago PD! I expected a more scholarly approach.
Written 2 June 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Catherine C
9 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Solo
Lots of thoughtful exhibits for anyone interested in the history of Chicago. I particularly enjoyed the (temporary?) exhibit on the Great Chicago Fire. I went by myself but there's a good section for families, as well.
Written 15 April 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

VivJos
Auckland Central, New Zealand30 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Couples
Loved this museum! Welcoming friendly staff right from the front desk, cloak room (Michael was super welcoming) through to the tour guide and the crossroads of Chicago tour. Great interactive and diverse exhibits and lots to see and learn. Great value and a Chicsho must do!
Written 16 February 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Wanda H
Mascoutah, IL391 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Friends
Such a wide variety of different types of displays! The rooms are laid out extremely well. The folks at the front desk were SO helpful and courteous. Just can't say enough about this place. GO VISIT!!!
Written 6 February 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

SUBZEROSKIDD10
Thetford, VT1,101 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2023 • Family
While it doesn’t always get the attention that is given to The Art Institute, the Field Museum, the Shedd Aquarium, or the Adler Planetarium, the Chicago History Museum offers a wonderful collection of history and artifacts from hundreds of years of Chicago’s timeline. There’s something for everyone here. I particularly liked the exhibit on the Great Chicago Fire, including the maps that show how fast it ravaged the city. The dioramas were also so amazingly detailed. The museum is located right on the edge of Lincoln Park, so it is easily accessible from the Zoo. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to envision the future of Chicago by learning from its past.
Written 28 January 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Tyshondra B
15 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2023 • Business
I had hosted my first art show art event here last year in July 2023 and I paid them $300 dollars in any event , The manager of the program never got back int touch on me displaying my artwork .I feel they took my money and never heard back from them on getting connected to anyone in addition, That can me promote my artwork.
Written 13 January 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Christine F
Prospect Heights, IL3 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2023 • Family
Really interesting museum re the history of Chicago. Pleasant cafe.
Felt that the lighting could be improved overall, but especially in the first floor diorama area and in the Polish exhibit. Great place for a field trip for grammar school kids re fire prevention.
Worth a couple hour visit.
Written 3 January 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Judy G
Huntington Woods, MI270 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2023 • Couples
This is a thorough history of the city of Chicago and how global events and characters also shaped the region. The outside grounds are informative as well.
Written 18 October 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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CHICAGO HISTORY MUSEUM: All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

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