Chicago History Museum
Chicago History Museum
4.5
12:00 PM - 5:00 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
  • The_Coach55
    Ruislip, United Kingdom1,143 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, Tennessee5,809 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, Illinois940 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, Vermont1,162 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, Illinois8,416 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
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4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles1,208 reviews
Excellent
665
Very good
398
Average
107
Poor
26
Terrible
12

Rolshchikov-Dmitry
Moscow, Russia515 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2019 • Solo
Interesting museum covering many aspects of history and culture of Chicago. It has historical artifacts and miniatures explaining city’s history from the foundation and up to present day. The are pieces of arts and media presenting recent and nowadays social and cultural situation. There are many examples of things designed, invented or produced in Chicago. I’m not entirely sure it’s everyone’s cup of tea worth the trip from the downtown. But if you are in the area (for example, visiting zoo), this museum is a great place to visit.
Written 18 January 2020
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.

Rainyanne
Crofton, MD15 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2022 • Friends
May have been bad luck, but there was a tour bus and 2 different school groups there making the museum loud and chaotic. It was hard to read and enjoy the exhibits with the crowds. Seemed to have good exhibits but almost all artifacts from the Great fire were out on loan so that section was a bust. The film is made for kids, too cheesy to be enjoyable for adults, IMO.
Written 14 April 2022
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.

The_Coach55
Ruislip, UK1,143 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2023 • Couples
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.
Written 8 August 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.

HDS1
Fairfield, OH814 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
July 2020
When we visited in mid-July one section was closed. The parts that we saw were fascinating, though. I love dioramas, and there were seven showing the history of Chicago. There was also an exhibit about the battle for human rights of different groups. Upstairs there was a small Lincoln exhibit, and an exhibit on Chicago design. There was also a wonderful exhibit of newspaper photos in the cafe area.
Written 10 August 2020
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.

Robert L
Amherst, MA1,608 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2021 • Couples
There were numerous very relevant topics in this museum about remarkable events in Chicago 's history. Starting with a model of a fort and expanding into modern history, this was worth the visit although the location is somewhat out of the way. Many photographs were interesting whether it was about MLK, Al Capone, or jazz.
Well done.
Written 8 May 2021
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.

Carl R
Portland, OR638 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2021 • Family
Quite frankly we ducked in here because it started raining. But, as usual, Chicago did this little gem of a museum right.
Located in Lincoln Park it is 2 stories of well curated exhibits from the gangsters to the stockyards. A nicely done civil rights section and a good Indian exhibit. Very suitable for the 12 year old and up crowd, too. Some good artifacts and a helpful staffed topped of the experience. Don’t miss the gift shop for some good souvenirs
Written 20 May 2021
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.

AlabasterJonez
Minneapolis, MN94 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2021
Enjoyed my time at the museum so much .- I became a member! The exhibits were very informative and well curated. I learned a lot of interesting facts about early Chicago. I highly recommend this for history buffs
Written 1 June 2021
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.

NapierAro
napier592 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2022 • Solo
This well set our museum tells the fascinating story of this great city. It follows the development in a chronological order and there's more than enough to hold any viewer's attention. Also interesting exhibits on "rights" along with Martin Luther King.
Really nice staff, spotless toilets and a pretty reasonable cafe.
Written 1 November 2022
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.

Claire B
Philadelphia, PA28 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
June 2021
Went to this museum instead of one of the larger, more well known museums as I love history and it did not disappoint. The exhibits are interesting and very well organized. You can easily spend 2-3 hours here and not get bored. Reserved tickets online beforehand and checked in my backpack during my stay for free. Very easy and convenient! I'll definitely be back on my next visit to Chicago.
Written 1 July 2021
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.

Matt F
242 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2022 • Couples
Love Chicago and loved this museum. Great exhibits, simply explained without leaving out detail. There is so much history it is almost impossible to take it all in during one day.
But I seriously suggest you try!
Written 11 May 2022
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 MUST Know Before You Go (2024)

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