With the Obama Inauguration, a historic second term win and Presidents Day upon us; it can be nice to bring out your patriotism through learning more about American history. Presidential and American history can be interesting to learn about for people of all ages. Whether it’s to simply brush up on some historical facts or to find an interesting way to spend a weekend, Chicago has some events and venues that will help teach about American history. Take advantage of all that Chicago has to offer and make the most out of this year’s Presidents Day.
Chicago History Museum
1601 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60614
The Chicago History Museum has interesting exhibits involving pop culture, art and history of Chicago in general. However, take advantage of the current exhibitions that revolve around Abraham Lincoln. “Lincoln’s Chicago” is an exhibit of portraits surrounding Lincoln’s frequent visits to the Chicago area with lithograph views of Chicago created in the 1860s. The Abraham Lincoln exhibit highlights Lincoln’s election, his role during the Civil War and events surrounding his assassination.
DuSable Museum of African American History
740 E. 56th Place
Chicago, IL 60637
It is impossible to learn about American history without following the history of African Americans because the two are completely intertwined. The DuSable Museum of African American History has amazing exhibits that speak about the general history of our nation as well as political history and change. There are a number of current exhibits like “The Harold Washington Story” that teaches of the 42nd Mayor of Chicago, who was the first African American Mayor in Chicago. There is also an exhibit regarding the history of African Americans in the armed services, entitled “Red, White, Blue & Black: A History of Blacks in the Armed Services.” Check out this Chicago museum to learn about an integral part of America’s history.
Museum of Science and Industry
5700 S. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60637
When learning about American history, it’s important to look at the different advances in technology in terms of exploration and travel. One of the featured exhibits includes the U-505 Submarine, which is the only German submarine in the United States, an integral part of World War II. Current exhibits include America’s first diesel-electric streamlined passenger train, the technology of coal mining, a modern day farm tech exhibit, ships through the ages and a transportation gallery to show the different advancements through the years. However, the biggest attraction is the Henry Crown Space Center exhibit that allows visitors to relive the Space Race and learn about the future of space exploration.
Dupage County Historical Museum
102 E. Wesley St.
Wheaton, IL 60187
While the President’s Day Lecture and Book Signing event already passed on February 9, there are a number of historically significant exhibits to check out. The permanent exhibit entitled “Enduring Values in a Changing Landscape” offers information through 150 years of history starting from the settlement of DuPage County. There is also a mini documentary that recounts a soldier’s experience in the Civil War. Significant American history is on display, including the guidon flag that was “carried by the soldiers of the 8th Regiment of the Illinois Volunteer Cavalry during the Civil War.” Check out the rich history of DuPage County and its cultural significance in the nation’s history.
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
212 N. 6th St.
Springfield, IL 62701
While it’s around a three-hour drive from Chicago, it’s well worth the travel time to head out to Springfield, Illinois. Visit the Lincoln Tom State Historic Site, Old State Capital State Historic Site, Lincoln-Herndon Law Office State Historic Site, Lincoln Ledger, Lincoln Home National Historic Site or a number of other significant sites in the Springfield area. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum offers a study of the life and times of Abraham Lincoln and Illinois history. Display items include real items owned by Lincoln and historical documents and original letters written or signed by Lincoln.