During field trips, teachers and chaperones lead their groups on self-guided experiences through the Museum’s exhibitions.
We encourage groups to explore our galleries at their own pace and stop at student-friendly activities along the way.
The Exelon Wing
Chicago: Crossroads of America
Explore Chicago’s changing economy, challenging crises, diverse neighborhoods, groundbreaking innovations, and lively cultural scene in six galleries.
Benjamin Green-Field Gallery
Railroaders: Jack Delano's Homefront Photography
Continuing through summer 2015
Explore the stories of Chicago railroaders during World War II as captured by photographer Jack Delano. The exhibition features more than sixty large images—including several early color photographs—of men and women who hustled on the rails, in the stations, and around the yards. Step into a caboose, play at a model rail yard, and discover Delano’s legacy through the work of his son, Pablo.
KPMG and Paul and Katherine Snyder Community Gallery
Vivian Maier's Chicago
Continuing through summer 2014
For decades, Vivian Maier worked as a nanny for North Shore families. Loved by the children she cared for, she nonetheless kept a secret—she was a talented photographer. Only after her death did her work become well known. In this exhibition, discover her diverse photographs, which captured Chicago’s streets in unique ways.
Skyline Gallery, Bessie Green-Field Warshawsky Gallery, and Mazza Foundation Gallery
The 1968 Exhibit
October 4, 2014–January 4, 2015
Trace the events that changed the nation during this pivotal year, from the war in Vietnam to the flight of Apollo 8. Revisit the era’s battles for civil rights and the election of Richard Nixon. Enjoy the fashion, food, and sounds of the ’60s. Organized by month, The 1968 Exhibit highlights Chicago as host of the Democratic National Convention in August. Stories of tension and violence, confusion and anxiety form the core of this section of the exhibition. Visit www.the1968exhibit.org for educator resources and to join the conversation about the lasting impact of this tumultuous year.
Costume and Textile Gallery
Chicago Styled: Fashioning The Magnificent Mile
Opens November 15, 2014
Experience the glamour of North Michigan Avenue, one of the country’s most celebrated destinations for upscale retail. Set against the shifting cityscape of the past decades, Chicago Styled features twenty-six ensembles—including pieces by Gianni Versace, Christian Lacroix, Yohji Yamamoto, and Chanel. Together, these garments tell the story of the growth of this landmark district, showcasing remarkable fashion and the stylish people who wore it.
Konen Family Children's Gallery
Did you know that history is beautiful, noisy, rough, stinky, and delicious? In this gallery, students can use their five senses to:
- Ride a high-wheel bicycle.
- Hear the Great Chicago Fire.
- Catch a fly ball at Old Comiskey Park.
- Smell the city's past.
- Be a Chicago-style hot dog.
Recommended for grades 3 and 4. Due to the popularity of this gallery, special reservations for a 30 minute time slot are required. Please indicate your interest on the field trip reservation form.
Tawani Foundation Diorama Hall
Imagining Chicago: The Dioramas
Visit our beloved dioramas to experience the first 100 years of Chicago’s history. Hands-on activities challenge students to look closely at the scenes, find specific details, and put history into a larger context.
The Naphtali ben Yakov Pritzker American History Wing
Inspired by the idea that the history of the Unites States has been shaped by conflicts over what it means to be free, the new permanent exhibition Facing Freedom, designed especially for middle and high school students, uses images, artifacts, and interactivity to explore familiar and not-so-familiar stories from the nation’s past. From a Civil War battle and the formation of labor unions to Japanese internment and a stand-off over American-Indian rights, the exhibition highlights some of the ways Americans have struggled to define the meaning of freedom. Recommended for middle and high school students.
Sanger P. Robinson Gallery
Catch a glimpse of the city Lincoln knew through portraits of his contemporaries and lithographic view of 1860s Chicago.
This exhibition highlights Lincoln’s election in 1860, his leadership during the Civil War, and his tragic assassination in a series of dramatic windows and audio narration.
Kovler Family Lobby
What's the most surprising thing about a collection made up of millions of artifacts? A single artifact! This world-class collection holds the second largest costume collection in the world including clothing and accessories as well as thousands of linear feet of archives and manuscripts that make up the equivalent of forty-nine football fields or twelve Willis Towers. Unexpected Chicago is a way to reveal unexpected treasures of Chicago history a single artifact at a time.
Unexpected Chicago is supported by a gift from The Jacob and Rosaline Cohn Foundation.
This series of installations promotes exploration throughout the Museum!
- Imagine riding low and slow in our custom-made, tricked-out 1978 Chevrolet Monte Carlo.
- Learn about Abraham Lincoln and see his deathbed.
- Play Street Smarts, a game that challenges students to match events with the intersections where they took place.