Home | Research | About the Collection | Decorative and Industrial Arts

Decorative and Industrial Arts

Decorative and Industrial ArtsThe Decorative and Industrial Arts holdings of the Museum’s collection document craftsmanship and industrial production and reflect Chicago’s growth as a metropolitan economic engine and as an industrial and manufacturing center.

> Browse highlights of the museum collection online

> Support the collection


Requests for information about objects in the Decorative & Industrial Arts collection can be submitted online. Research inquiries by telephone are not accepted. Please complete the Object Research Inquiry Form to submit your request. You will receive a response to your inquiry from a member of the Museum’s staff within two weeks.

In-person research of objects is available by appointment only. To inquire about the availability of research appointments, complete the Object Research Inquiry Form and check the appropriate box. Please note the in-person research guidelines.

Requests for images of objects in the Decorative and Industrial Arts collection can be made directly through the Rights and Reproductions Office if you have any of the following information: object accession number; creator name and title; or image reference number. If this information is not available to you, please submit an object research inquiry.

> Submit an Object Research Inquiry

Types of Artifacts

The Museum’s holdings of more than 40,000 Decorative and Industrial Arts artifacts include furniture, metalwork, ceramics, glass, agricultural and military equipment, folk art, Native American materials, musical instruments, toys, dolls, vehicles, and numerous products and tools.

The holdings also include advertising materials, souvenirs and items from the World’s Columbian Exposition, 1893, and A Century of Progress International World’s Fair, 1933–34, and artifacts documenting city politics. A number of significant American history materials dating from the 1750s to the 1870s enrich the collection, including a number of key artifacts closely associated with Abraham Lincoln.

Highlights of the Decorative and Industrial Arts Holdings

  • Native American Great Lakes apron, 18th century
  • Slave tags used in Charleston, South Carolina, c. 1830
  • Table upon which General Robert E. Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia to General Ulysses S. Grant on April 9, 1865, Mclean House, Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia, c. 1850
  • Pioneer locomotive, c. 1840
  • Sugar bowl and creamer made by the Kalo Shop, c. 1910
  • Urn designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and produced by James A. Miller and Brothers, c. 1900
  • Hand-painted china made by the Hasburg Company, 1890s
  • Teco ware made by Gates Potteries, c. 1915
  • “S” chair made by W.H. Howell Company, c. 1935
  • Mr. Machine designed by Marvin Glass and made by Ideal, c. 1960
  • Veg-O-Matic made by Popeil Brothers, c. 1961
  • Banjo used James Palao, c. 1920
  • Hand-carved door made by Edgar Miller, c. 1940
  • Rock-Ola juke box, c. 1950
  • Kuklapolitan puppets and stage props, c. 1960
  • Sign from Geri’s Palm Tavern, c. 1965
  • Tortoise Shell Log Cabin from William Henry Harrison Campaign, 1840
  • Union Wide Awakes banner, 1860
  • 1978 Chevrolet Monte Carlo modified as a lowrider made by Amistad Car Club of Cicero, Illinois, 2006
  • General Ulysses S. Grant’s Saddle, c. 1864
  • Bed on which Abraham Lincoln died, April 15, 1865, Petersen boarding house, Washington, D.C., c. 1850
  • Zenith Space Command 600 television remote control, 1960
  • Powder horn made by James Pike, 1776
  • Blacksmith’s tools, c. 1810
  • Side chair by Samuel McIntire, c. 1800
  • Lincoln Logs, c. 1955
  • Lava Lites, c. 1970
  • Melted marbles form the Great Chicago Fire, 1871
  • Scissor sharpener cart used by Joseph Antonucci, c. 1900
  • Ballot box, 1912
  • Stained glass window designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for the Ward Willits house, Highland Park, Illinois, made by Giannini & Hilgart, c. 1902
  • Electric mixer made by Dormeyer, c. 1930
  • Coach made by J.B. Brewster & Company, New York, New York, used by Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln in Washington D.C., 1861
Document Actions