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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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FAMILIES & KIDS

We offer exciting architecture-themed activities for your family or kids group. Join us for CAFamily Studio Sundays and exhibitions, or schedule a time to bring your Scout, youth, or school group to the Chicago Architecture Foundation for a special field trip to explore Chicago’s amazing architecture.

We have wrapped up our Family Programming for 2013. Join us in the new year for monthly Saturday programs. Dates and times coming soon!

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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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Chicago History Museum.jpg
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.

Family Trips: Chicago History Museum

See it. Hear it.  Walk it. Ride it.

Family Fun at the Chicago History Museum

Make the new Chicago History Museum your family’s number-one destination for fun. There’s always something new at the Museum to inspire imagination and satisfy young curiosities.

Our exhibition Sensing Chicago invites children of all ages to explore the sights, sounds, and smells of the city. Visit the gallery to:

  • Ride a high-wheel bicycle down a wood-paved street
  • Hear the Great Chicago Fire
  • Catch a fly ball at Comiskey Park
  • Discover history through your nose with our Smell Map
  • Be a Chicago-style hot dog
  • Create an oversized postcard of your favorite sights to post on the gallery wall or e-mail to a friend

Let your senses guide you to other exciting galleries in the Museum!

The Museum makes it fun for families to explore our exhibitions. In addition to our highly acclaimed children’s gallery, families are invited to participate in our History a la Cartinteractive gallery stations.

At the stations, kids and their families can:

  • Create, construct, and test their own Chicago-style bridges.
  • Use an oversized map, icons, and first-hand accounts to trace the path of the Great Chicago Fire.
  • Imagine the vastness of the pre-Chicago prairie and investigate the plants that used to grow here.
  • Play with a hands-on model of the John Hancock building to learn the history of the city’s skyscrapers.
  • Place historic photographs and souvenirs on a timeline to imagine a day at the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893.
  • Debate community issues and act out the city’s history on our front steps.
  • A variety of stations are available every day. The stations are facilitated by Museum volunteers and staff. Each takes about 20 minutes.

Find visitor information, including hours, ticketing, and location

Free Passes from the Chicago Public Library

Great Kids Museum Passports, which allow families to visit area museums for free, continue to be available at Chicago public libraries. Visit your local library branch or visit the Chicago Public Library website for more details.

Explore Chicago and Connect the City’s Past to Life Today!

My Chicago

Chicago is the third largest city in the United States, right behind New York and Los Angeles. It’s home to more than three million people. In Chicago, you can visit museums, see famous buildings like the Sears Tower, eat great food, and explore neighborhoods where residents live.

If you already know a lot about Chicago or if you’re just discovering this great city, play the fun games at My Chicago to uncover the city’s past and present and to express your own ideas. You can learn what the symbols on the Chicago flag mean and create your own flag, discover more about the Great Chicago Fire, build your own skyline, put together a World’s Fair puzzle, take a trip down the Chicago River, or write your own Chicago Refrigerator poetry.

Play at My Chicago

Upcoming Events

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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.


sensing chicago kids
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.


diorama
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.


abe
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.


entrance

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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