Chicago: Crossroads of America
Our permanent exhibition Chicago: Crossroads of America has something for everybody. Explore the city's history through a series of galleries that highlight artifacts, interactive features, and multimedia presentations. Climb aboard 'L' car no. 1, visit a jazz club, or picture yourself in the retro fashions of the Marshall Field's store window. Families love the hands-on activity carts and teens enjoy the audio tour produced by their peers.
City on the Make
Learn the history of Chicago’s economy from the fur trading days of Fort Dearborn to the dominance of the Union Stock Yards and the evolution of modern trade.
The Fort Dearborn model, the Pioneer Locomotive, and 'L' Car No. 1
City in Crisis
Investigate Chicago’s response to six dramatic crises, from the Great Fire of 1871 to the 1968 Democratic National Convention.
Household objects fused by the heat of the fire, a 1920s copper still, and a brass ship's wheel from the Eastland disaster
Sweet Home Chicago
Meet residents of the city’s diverse neighborhoods with the media presentation, Sweet Home Chicago. Get an insider's look at community life.
Second to None
Discover Chicago’s innovations—in retail, manufacturing, architecture, science, and social activism.
Model skyscrapers, Lincoln Logs, Frank Lloyd Wright stained glass panels, and Kalo silver
My Kind of Town
Explore the city’s world’s fairs, music and theater scene, and the highs and lows of the home town teams.
The sights and sounds of our own jazz and blues club, a Riverview carousel horse, and treasured sports memorabilia
Plan Your Visit
Public tours of Crossroads, free with Museum admission, are offered most days of the week. Tours include gallery overviews and highlights, and last less than an hour. Contact 312.642.4600 to confirm the time and topic for the day of your visit.
The forty-five minute Crossroads audio tour, produced with Second City, is available in English and Spanish. Chicago public high school students provide a youth perspective of Crossroads in the audio tour In Our Own Words.
The rich story of the city's history is contained in the exhibition catalog, Chicago: Crossroads of America, available in the Museum Store.