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Scope of the Collection

Over 22 Million Chicago and U.S. History Artifacts

The Museum's collection of over 22 million artifacts is a rich source for the study of Chicago history, both as urban center and as part of the larger United States.

The Museum's collecting scope currently emphasizes five areas.

Living in the Metropolitan Area

This includes demographics, domestic life, family, community, neighborhoods, local history, religious life, sports, recreation, leisure, crime, and education.

Working in the Metropolitan Area

This includes the changing economic base of the city, business, manufacturing, labor, transportation, and scientific and technological development.

Governing the Metropolitan Area

This includes electoral politics, citizen action movements, urban planning, and education.

The Built Environment:

This includes architecture in its broadest social and economic context, going beyond great buildings, and architecture.

Individuals and Ideas

This includes art, literature, music, and philosophy produced by individuals in the metropolitan area, particularly as reflections on the interpretations of this area.

Explore the research resources available in each of our eight main collection areas:

> Architecture

> Archives and Manuscripts

> Books and other Published Materials

> Costumes

> Decorative and Industrial Arts

> Oral History, Film, and Video

> Paintings and Sculpture

> Prints and Photographs

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