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Student Workshops

elementarykidsEnhance your visit with these in-depth workshops, which are designed around the Common Core to help students think critically, consider multiple perspectives, and work collaboratively. Students discover history through text analysis, hands-on encounters with objects, and focused time in our exhibitions.

Advance reservations are required. All workshops serve a minimum of ten students and a maximum of sixty-five (or two classrooms) per day. Please note that generally one workshop session is held for each registered classroom.

Wonderful World’s Fair

Available on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

During this workshop students will discover the buildings and the innovations of the 1893 world’s fair, such as the first Ferris wheel. Through hands-on object and photograph analysis, a mapping exercise, firsthand accounts, and time in the Chicago: Crossroads of America exhibition, students will imagine spending a day at the fair. 45-minute experience (per class); recommended for grades 3 and 4.

Cost: $3 per student

> Make a reservation

Painted Memories: The Great Chicago Fire

Available on Wednesdays.

There are no photographs of the Great Chicago Fire. Painters recorded the blaze so vividly, however, that over a century later we can understand this historic event through their work. During this program, students work collaboratively to create a written and physical response to a historic painting. They will discuss and analyze the artist’s written account to gain insight into the lives of the people who experienced the Great Chicago Fire and to think critically about art and the messages it conveys. The workshop concludes with an opportunity for students to create a cover for their own fire narrative. 45-minute experience (per class); recommended for grades 3 and 4.

Cost: $3 per student

> Make a reservation

Special bus reimbursement offer for this workshop only! Once you have a confirmed reservation, Megan Clark, School Programs Coordinator, will contact you to provide the details on how you can qualify.


The development of Painted Memories: The Great Chicago Fire Workshop is supported by a generous grant from the Terra Foundation for American Art.

History a la Cart

Engage with history at History à la Cart stations, where students actively analyze and interpret the past. Facilitated by trained staff and volunteers, these 20-minute hands-on experiences are located throughout our galleries.

Great Chicago FirePrairieartifactscart

Grades 3–5

CHMFTBActivityfire The Great Chicago Fire

Use an oversized map, icons, photographs and first-hand accounts to trace the events of October 8–10, 1871, and collaboratively tell the story of the fire.

CHMFTBActivityprairie Prairie Landscape

Measure and mark the height and root depth of native plants. Imagine the vastness of the prairie through images and settlers' accounts.

CHMFTBActivityskyline Skyscrapers

Discover how skyscrapers developed over time. Imagine living in the famous John Hancock Center. Explore Chicago's skyscrapers through improvisation and building activities.

CHMFTBActivityartifacts Artifacts

Discover objects through touch and discussion, then bring an adjective into the gallery and choose an artifact that matches it. Draw and write about your object, then share your opinion and find out what others think.

Grades 3–8

CHMFTBActivitybridge Bridges

Create, construct, and test bridges to discover how they work and why they are so important in Chicago’s history.

CHMFTBActivitymaps Maps

Map Chicago’s history on this one-of-a-kind gallery hunt. Use a compass and geography skills to connect artifacts to locations on a large, eye-catching map.

History à la Cart Schedule

For more flexibility during your visit, all stations are accessible on a first-come, first-served basis.


Generous support for the Chicago History Museum gallery activity stations has been provided by the Albert Pick, Jr. Fund. The Museum gratefully acknowledges the generous support of Carole and Gordon Segal and Bank of America, who made the maps activity station possible.

Bank of America logo

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