Now open!

You voted. We listened.

Join us as we unveil the first-ever crowd-sourced exhibition in our new café-style space. This multimedia-based gallery experience explores a collection of diverse and inspiring works by writers, past and present. These authors define the character of Chicago and help us understand the complexity of our great city.


Access to this exhibition is included with Museum admission
$16 adults
$14 seniors/students
Free for children 12 and under


Monday to Saturday
9:30 AM to 4:30 PM

Noon to 5:00 PM


Chicago History Museum
1601 N. Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60614

Museum directions


$9 with Museum validation
Visa, MasterCard, and Discover accepted complimentary for Premium members!

Parking directions


Explore the city from a new perspective

Look out the window

See Chicago at its most expansive, its most complex.


Step through a door

Into the city’s neighborhoods, communities, and homes.


Peek through a keyhole

Discover hidden places you were never meant to see.


Take a look in the mirror

How are you a part of Chicago’s reflection?

Authors of fact and fiction, prose and poetry have shaped how we see the city. Their words help us hear what we didn’t, understand what we couldn’t, and feel what we have never touched. The Chicago Authored app experience, included with Museum admission, organizes the literature into four themes— window, door, keyhole and mirror. As a bonus, the app also includes a new authored-related tour of our permanent exhibition, Chicago: Crossroads of America.

Take the Museum’s tours home, purchase the Chicago History Museum app for your Apple or Android device. It’s only $1.99.


Chicago Authored Members’ Film Series

Tuesdays, January 19 and February 23
5:30 p.m. reception
6:00 p.m. presentation
6:30 p.m. screening
$10 per film for members, $15 for both screenings; $15 per film, $20 for both for members’ guests

Learn about one of Chicago’s most iconic writers, Nelson Algren.

Algren: The Movie
Tuesday, January 19
Algren—a feature-length documentary with previously unseen film footage and photography—tells the story of the cultural and historical impact of influential Chicago writer Nelson Algren. Director Michael Caplan introduces his film and, after the screening, joins CHM historian Peter T. Alter for a discussion on Algren’s legacy. Running time: 87 minutes

The Man with the Golden Arm
Tuesday, February 23
The Man with the Golden Arm follows the struggles of heroin addict Franky Machine (Frank Sinatra) as he navigates the seedy streets of Chicago’s Northwest Side after being released from prison. After the movie, historian Peter T. Alter discusses the themes of the film and novel and talks about the state of post-World War II Chicago. Running time: 119 minutes

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Experience even more stories, with unlimited Museum access

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Events & Programs

CHM Unbound

More than a book club

Gain in-depth knowledge and view seldom-seen artifacts at CHM Unbound. Each series includes three sessions led by a Museum expert.
$60, $50 members

O, Democracy! by Kathleen Rooney

Saturdays, January 23, 30, 10:00 a.m.—12:00 p.m. and February 6, 10:00 a.m.—1:00 p.m.

Let fiction relieve the tension of another election year full of presidential hopefuls and legislative lunacy through this hilarious and heartbreaking story about American politics.

Join executive vice president and chief historian Russell Lewis for a look at Chicago politics through the lens of political satire.

  • January 23: Russell Lewis sets historical context in a group discussion with Museum objects
  • January 30: Special guest Kathleen Rooney speaks about her book
  • February 6: Trolley tour explores places featured in the novel and sites of Chicago’s political past

Ticket price includes trolley tour. Registered participants will receive an e-mail with the recommended reading schedule two weeks prior to the first meeting.

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Hairstyles of the Damned by Joe Meno

Tuesdays, February 2 and 9, Thursday, February 18, 6:30—8:30 p.m.

Manic Panic hair dye, boots without laces, GNR, foulmouthed exploits, and the perfect mixtape. Return to the 90s with this semiautobiographical rebellious, explicit story of teenage angst and growing up punk on Chicago’s South Side.

Costume curator Petra Slinkard leads this exploration of self-identity and the countercultural ideal. Series includes an intimate look at CHM’s collection of antiestablishment fashion.

  • February 2: Group discussion including themes of growing up punk, self-identity, and American adolescence
  • February 9: Special guest Monica Sklar, author of Punk Style with a PhD in Design-Apparel Studies from the University of Minnesota, discusses how punk filtered into everyday culture and continues to manifest itself in dress and style today
  • February 18: Explore CHM’s fashion collection, including pieces by Stephen Sprouse and Chicago’s own enfant terrible, Billy Falcon
Sketchbook Brewing Co.

Must be 21+. Series features beer from Sketchbook Brewing Company and light snacks. Registered participants will receive an e-mail with the recommended reading schedule two weeks prior to the first meeting.

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The Good War: An Oral History of World War II by Studs Terkel

Saturdays, February 13, 20, and 27, 10:00 a.m.—1:00 p.m.

Explore Studs Terkel’s masterful work about the human experience of war. This book earned Terkel a Pulitzer Prize and elevated the genre of oral history into a popular literary form.

Join historian and Chicago Authored co-curator Peter T. Alter for a look into the stories from those interviewed, both famous and ordinary.

  • February 13: Group discussion. Peter T. Alter sets historical context with a behind-the-scenes tour of CHM’s archives
  • February 20: Oral history workshop
  • February 27: Trolley tour explores places referenced by Terkel’s interview subjects, such as journalist Mike Royko and other sites impacted by World War II

Ticket price includes trolley tour. Registered participants will receive an e-mail with the recommended reading schedule two weeks prior to the first meeting.

Register Now

Other events

Silent Reading Parties

Saturdays, January 30*, February 6, February 13, February 20*,
9:30 a.m.—12:00 noon
FREE to all, no reservations required. Meet in the Chicago Authored space.

Struggling to fit reading into your schedule? Have a novel on your shelf you’ve been meaning to finish? Bring a book, buy a coffee, settle in, and enjoy some uninterrupted reading time. This event provides an opportunity to stop multitasking and get reading. On select dates, enjoy live chamber music 10:00–11:00 a.m. by ensembles of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s training orchestra, followed by an informal Q&A with musicians.

In today’s digital life of links, tweets, and snaps, relax and read with fellow book lovers.

Civic Orchestra of Chicago

* On January 30 and February 20 enjoy live chamber music from 10:00—11:00 a.m. by ensembles of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago

Stories with Nine Strangers

Thursday, February 25 and March 31
Tuesday, March 22
6:00—6:30 p.m. check in and coffee
6:30—7:30 p.m. small group discussion
7:30—8:30 p.m. reception
$20, $15 members

Turn strangers into friends at these evening events for book lovers. Where will you read? In the corner of an exhibition, the city’s first L car, the Museum’s freight elevator? We’ll randomly send you to a unique space where a Great Books Foundation facilitator will introduce you to a great Chicago short story and help your group explore it. No advance preparation required. Afterward, enjoy a casual reception complete with beer, wine, and hors d’oeuvres.

Price includes two drinks and light appetizers. Please register early; space is limited.

Register for February 25th
Register for March 22nd
Register for March 31st


Lead Corporate Sponsor

BMO Harris Bank

Additional support provided by the Chicago Community Trust, by an IncentOvate grant from the City of Chicago DCASE, and by a grant from the Field Foundation of Illinois.

Special Thanks

The Chicago History Museum gratefully acknowledges the support of the Chicago Park District on behalf of the people of Chicago.