Escape to the Chicago History Museum

Photo: malendyer

On a recent adventure, we headed to the Midwest where we got to check out the Chicago History Museum. Although we had been to the Windy City multiple times before, this was our first time visiting this museum. And, we were so impressed, we decided to dedicate an entire Escape to it.

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The Chicago History Museum dates back to April 1856 when it was founded and was named the Chicago Historical Society. The original collection was destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, and it was slowly rebuilt.

In 2006, the Chicago Historical Society became the Chicago History Museum and today counts 22 million artifacts and documents within its collection. These items are spread out among seven categories within the museum: archives and manuscripts; architecture; costumes; decorative and industrial arts; prints and photographs; painting and sculpture; and library materials.

The number of artifacts and documents held within the red-brick Georgian style building may seem daunting, but it has been curated and laid out very well. This is what makes this a must-stop when in Chicago.

Even if you are not from the Midwest or even the U.S., you will find something to appreciate within this museum. From the sports exhibits, including a tribute to the Chicago Bulls; to architecture, with the Sears Tower (Willis Tower) and the John Hancock Center; to retail and fashion, including Marshall Field’s, there is something of interest for every individual.

We were specifically drawn to a few exhibits, which included “Making Mainbocher: The First American Couturier“, “Vivian Maier’s Chicago” and “Chicago: Crossroads of America“.

Main Rousseau Bocher – who would later change his name to Mainbocher – was born in Chicago and would go on to become the editor-in-chief of French Vogue and opened a couture salon in Paris and later in New York City’s Upper East Side. He dressed socialites to designing uniforms for the United States Navy.


Although born in New York, Vivian Maier moved to Chicago in 1956, and this exhibit – “Vivian Maier’s Chicago” – focuses on her time capturing Chicago in the 1960s and ’70s.

Photo: malendyer
Photo: malendyer

Last but not least is an accumulation of all that is Chicago, in the “Chicago: Crossroads of America” exhibit that houses galleries that range from a jazz club to L car no. 1. There is so much to explore just within this exhibit that you may want to stay here for quite awhile…

Connect with the Chicago History Museum:
Instagram @chicagomuseum
Facebook @chicagohistory
Twitter @ChicagoMuseum

And, be sure to learn more about the Mainbocher exhibit at