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Middle School

Student Workshop

middleschoolkidsEnhance your visit with this in-depth workshop, 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 the exhibition.

Advance reservations are required. The workshop serves 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.

Facing Freedom

Available on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Based on the Facing Freedom exhibition, this workshop encourages critical thought about freedom and issues of social justice in American history, particularly in the areas of workers’ rights, armed conflict, public protest, and race and citizenship. Students become historians as they analyze and discuss objects and then add their own voices to the exhibition—curating a display case filled with their selected artifacts and handwritten interpretive text. 75-minute experience (per class); recommended for grades 7 to 12.

Cost: $5 per student

> Make a reservation

Self-Guided Resources

Enrich your experience with these self-guided designed for use in the exhibition Chicago: Crossroads of America. Role-play activities and an audio tour will immerse your students in Chicago's history.

'L' Car and StudentsJazz Clubaudiotourteens

L Cards

Climb aboard Chicago’s first ‘L’ car and imagine riding home from a visit to the 1893 world’s fair in Jackson Park. Using character cards, students assume turn-of-the-century personas and engage their seatmates in conversations about their favorite parts of the fair.

Jazz Talk

Take a seat in the Jazz and Blues Club and use slang cards to step back in time and have a Roaring Twenties-style conversation.

Audio Tour: In Our Own Words

Developed, written, and performed by Lake View High School students, this tour of Chicago: Crossroads of America features original interviews, vintage music, dialog, and dramatic readings on topics such as the Great Fire, Gangland Chicago, jazz and blues, and the 1968 Democratic National Convention. 40-minute experiences for grades 6–12.

Cost: $2 per iPod, advance reservations required

> Make a reservation

You can download the tour to any MP3 player in advance of your visit.

> Download the In Our Own Words teen audio tour (40 MB)

Use the In Our Own Words teacher discussion guide—before and after your field trip—to expand on the topics, artifacts, issues, and historical arguments presented in the audio tour.

> Download the In Our Own Words teacher discussion guide

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.

BridgesMaps floor mat with compassbridges

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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