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CAF Logo.jpg
224 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL, United States 1.46 mi

Chicago Architecture Foundation Exhibitions

Welcome to the Chicago Architecture Foundation! We offer engaging ways for educators, families, and young people to explore Chicago’s amazing architecture.

Through hands-on, real-world explorations discover how to turn your local community into a dynamic setting for teaching and learning.  Buildings, structures, people, and events help young people discover how architecture and the built environment impact their lives everyday.

Our programs and resources include multi-disciplinary teacher workshops, award-winning curricular resources, place-based field trips, hands-on workshops for teens, scout badge programs, and A+DEN-a network for people interested in design education.

The Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF) offers more than 80 different tours including the Chicago Architecture Foundation architecture river cruise aboard the Chicago’s First Lady. Also offered: FREE exhibitions, programs and workshops, youth education, family programs and an architecture and design-themed retail store.

 

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Field Trips at Chicago Architecture Foundation

GROUP FIELD TRIP TOURS

By foot, boat or bus CAF tours are great ways for your group to learn and appreciate the past, present and future of Chicago’s world-renowned architecture. Your students can embrace the power of the skyscrapers and the beauty of Chicago while the most knowledgeable docents entertain them with stories of the men and women who built America’s greatest architecture.Choose from one of our four tour offerings below.

Interested in an experience not listed here?

Offers over 85 tours that can be customized to fit your classroom’s special interest. Call the Group Tours Department for more information today! 312.922.3432 x226


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Student Architecture River Cruise – 60 minutes

Join the Chicago Architecture Foundation and Chicago’s First Lady Cruises for an interpretive architectural river cruise specially designed for students grades 7-12. This tour features many of Chicago’s best known buildings from the unique vantage point of the Chicago River, described by our trained and certified volunteer docents. Students will connect architecture, design, engineering, urban planning, and history to enhance their understanding and appreciation of Chicago’s remarkable cultural legacy.


Historic and Modern Combo Walking Tour – 120 minutes

Chicago is widely regarded as the center of early skyscraper innovation and also a world capital of Modern architecture! On this tour your students will learn the stories behind some of the world’s earliest skyscrapers and also gain a unique perspective on the most notable examples of contemporary buildings and styles.


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Skyscraper Express Bus Tour – 105 minutes

Students will enjoy unique perspectives of the city as they see Grant Park, the Museum Campus, Millennium Park and Chicago’s expansive downtown parks plus emerging residential neighborhoods and commercial development. Your class will understand the impact of Lake Michigan, the Chicago River, the railroads and public transportation systems on the growth of the city, and we will have a chance to get off the bus to view the world-famous skyline that defines Chicago as a vibrant center for architecture.


Skyscraper Walk through Time – 60 minutes

Chicago is known for building some of the world’s first skyscrapers, but how have their designs and technologies changed over time? This one hour walk through the Loop showcases several classic buildings – from 1872 to the present. See how architects adapted building styles to meet the fashions of their era and used cutting-edge engineering to build taller than before!

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Chicago Architecture Foundation Exhibitions

Current Exhibitions Available by CFA

Chicago Architecture Foundation exhibitions encourage people to discover the spaces, places, and structures that shape Chicago and all communities. The unique installations encourage people to understand how architects, engineers, and planners design environments—and how we all participate. The exhibitions inspire people to imagine the future of metropolitan regions everywhere.

Learn more about this exhibition>>

THE UNSEEN CITY:

DESIGNS FOR A FUTURE CHICAGO

COST: Free and open to the public

HOURS: Daily 9 am to 5:30 pm

LOCATION: Atrium Gallery, 224 S. Michigan Ave.

Four Chicago academic institutions present visions for the future of city life in the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s exhibition Unseen City: Designs for a Future Chicago. The participating designers encourage us to ask, “What might this neighborhood and city become?”

Come see a 19th century boulevard transformed for the 21st, a horizontal deconstructed Willis Tower, an industrial district as creative hub, and a skyscraper that scrubs the air.

What future do you imagine for your neighborhood?

  Learn more about this exhibition>> 

COST

Free and open to the public

HOURS: 

7 days a week from 9:30 am – 5:00 pm

LOCATION :

CAF Lecture Hall, 224 S. Michigan Ave.

Chicago is preparing to debut a bold plan for giving public transit riders a speedier and smarter way to ride: Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). By combining cutting-edge technology with specially-chosen routes, BRT promises to make Chicago a more connected city.

This exhibition outlines the features and benefits of BRT while exploring how it is transforming cities around the globe. See how features like dedicated bus lanes and innovative station design are improving bus transportation and people’s lives.

These programs are made possible through the generous support of The Rockefeller Foundation, in partnership with The Chicago Community Trust.

 

Loop Value: The How Much Does It Cost? Shop

Learn more about this exhibition>>

COST: 

Free and open to the public

HOURS: 

7 days a week from 9:30 am – 5:00 pm

LOCATION:

Arcelor Mittal CitySpace Gallery, 224 South Michigan Ave.

In a nation obsessed with acquiring the most stuff at the lowest price, how well do we understand the value of the buildings and products we buy? How do our purchases impact the future of our neighborhoods? Visit Loop Value: The How Much Does It Cost? Shop at the Chicago Architecture Foundation and find a new design for your city and your life. It’s a shopping trip unlike any you’ve experienced before.

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Learn more about the Chicago model>>

COST: 

Free and open to the public

HOURS: 

7 days a week from 9am-6:30pm

LOCATION: 

Atrium Gallery, 224 South Michigan Avenue

Chicago Model City is the only accurate and up-to-date three-dimensional portrait of Chicago’s downtown. This 320-square-foot work-in-progress enables you to see Chicago as you’ve never seen it before. The model became an instant icon when it opened in 2009, beloved by tourists and locals alike. It has become the centerpiece for exhibitions in the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s atrium gallery. In addition, the model is the departure point for CAF tours, a gathering place, an orientation point for visitors, and a great photo opportunity! Famous visitors to the model include Mayor Richard J. Daley, architect Jeanne Gang, and television personality Geoffrey Baer. CAF is currently developing exhibitions that will make Chicago Model City a richer and even more exciting experience.

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1601 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614, United States 2.06 mi

Chicago History Museum

The Chicago History Museum stands at the crossroads of America’s past and its future. If you live in Chicago or visit here and are curious about the city’s past, present, and future, the Museum should be your first stop.

Your History Lives Here

The Chicago History Museum cares for, showcases, and interprets millions of authentic pieces of Chicago and U.S. history. Our ability to illuminate the past is a reminder of what really happened once upon a time, sheds light on the present, and compellingly informs the future.

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We invite you to engage with our stories and make history yourself.

Group Field Trips: Chicago History Museum

The Chicago History Museum proudly presents fun-filled, content-rich experiences for students from pre-K to grade 12. Our free field trips align with state and national learning standards.

Book a field trip to visit our original exhibitions. Utilize an audio tour written and performed by local teenagers. Prepare for or follow up on your visit with Great Chicago Stories and our other online resources.

We look forward to welcoming you to the Chicago History Museum.

Your Field Trip Experience

What will my students do? What will my students see?

There’s a lot to do, see, and learn at the Chicago History Museum!

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.

See it. Hear it.  Walk it. Ride it.

Whatever method suites your group best, We have great tours that will bring you closer to Chicago and its fascinating stories.

Tours are available for groups of adults ages 18 and up.

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Engaging Exhibitions for Youth Groups 

crossroads
Learn more about this exhibition

Location: Exelon Wing

Exhibition: Chicago: Crossroads of America

Explore Chicago’s changing economy, challenging crises, diverse neighborhoods, groundbreaking innovations, and lively cultural scene in six galleries.


Learn more about this exhibition

Location: KPMG and Paul and Katherine Snyder Community Gallery

Exhibition: Vivian Maiers Chicago

Through summer 2013

Come witness the life work of a nanny turned photographer that wowed the world with breathtaking images of everyday life in Urban America. Discover Chicago faces and neighborhoods of the 1950s and 1960s from an entirely new vantage point.


Slideshow

View a selection of Vivian Maier’s photographs on Flickr

Learn more about this exhibition

Location: Skyline Gallery

Exhibition: Magic

Through January 6, 2013

Discover Chicago’s place in American magic. Settle down in the object theater and meet Greta, a little girl who visits a wonderful store hoping to learn a magician’s secrets. Next door, explore a collection of magical artifacts and activities for young magicians that will inspired amazement and delight.


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Sensing Chicago

Located in: Konen Family Children’s Gallery

Exhibition: Sensing Chicago

  • 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.

Did you know that history is beautiful, noisy, rough, stinky, and delicious? In this gallery, students can use their five senses to:

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.


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Imaging Chicago: The Diorama

Location: Taiwani Foundation Diorama Hall

Exhibition: Imagining Chicago: The Diorama

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.


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Learn more about this exhibition

Location: Sanger P. Robinson Gallery 

Exhibition: Lincoln’s Chicago 

Catch a glimpse of the city Lincoln knew through portraits of his contemporaries and lithographic view of 1860s Chicago.


Abraham Lincoln

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.


Learn more about this exhibition

Location: Kovler Family Lobby

Exhibition: Unexpected Chicago

Through January 6, 2013

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.


Learn more about this exhibition

Located in: Benjamin Green-Field Gallery

Exhibition: Shalom Chicago

Opens October 21st. 2012

Explore the Jewish community’s rich history and contributions to the city’s growth and development, through personal stories, rare artifacts, and engaging multimedia presentations.


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Exhibition: Treasures

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.

Location: Skyline Gallery, Bessie Green-Field Warshawsky Gallery, and Mazza Foundation Gallery

Exhibition: Inspiring Beauty: 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair

Opens March 16, 2013

Relive the experience of the Ebony Fashion Fair in this one-of-a-kind exhibition. Explore its fifty-year history, and discover how Eunice Johnson overcame adversity to bring high couture fashion to African American communities, while raising millions of dollars for charities along the way. More than sixty garments, including works by Oscar de la Renta, Christian Dior, Stephen Burrows, Yves Saint Laurent, and Patrick Kelly, help tell the story of this world-renowned fashion show and its redefinition of American beauty.

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