The Chicago History Museum’s classroom resources include curriculum for grades 1 through 12 and include both online and downloadable activities; lesson plans span a variety of topics and meet a range of state learning standards.
- Abraham Lincoln
- Catholic Chicago
- Civil War
- Encyclopedia of Chicago
- Great Chicago Stories
- History in Your Hands
- History Lab
- My Chicago
- Teen Chicago
This group of four lessons examines key subjects and events in Lincoln's lifetime. Each lesson includes high-quality reproductions of images and documents from the Museum's collection as well as background information, analysis questions, instructional strategies, and extension activities.
Catholic Chicago Resources for Teachers
This resource originally developed for Catholic Chicago, a temporary exhibition on display through 2008 can also be used in the Chicago: Crossroads of America exhibition. Materials include a timeline with pre-visit activities, gallery conversation cards, and are designed for flexibility. They are a great way to explore the gallery.
As part of the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, we have gathered all the Chicago History Museum’s online Civil War classroom resources together in one easy-to-use location. The resources are arranged by topic, so you can easily locate the perfect lesson plan to complement your classroom instruction. Choose from these seven categories: Slavery, Abraham Lincoln, Emancipation Proclamation, Black Soldiers, Abolitionist Movement and Northern Racism, The Soldiers’ Experience, and Photography.
The Encyclopedia of Chicago
No research project is complete without this online resource, which includes A-to-Z entries, photographs with zooming capability, rich maps, interpretive digital essays, and a wealth of historical sources.
Great Chicago Stories
Grades 3–4, 9–12
Enrich your instruction with Great Chicago Stories, an award-winning suite of twelve historical fiction narratives and supporting classroom resources. Download the narratives and unit plans, which were written and classroom-tested by local teachers. Use the interactive history map to click on then-and-now images of locations from each narrative. Investigate historical evidence using question prompts and zooming tools. Listen to full audio recordings of all twelve stories.
- Great Migration: A Bronzeville Story
- Sports History: A Tough Call
- Early Chicago: Trading Mystery
- Innovation and Entertainment: Best of the Fair
- Transportation: Joseph's Railroad Dreams
- Economics and Culture: Hot Dog!
- Abolitionist Movement in Chicago: Halfway to Freedom
- Public Housing and White Flight: Where the Neighborhood Ends
- Labor and the Haymarket Affair: His Father's Namesake
- Progressivism, Hull-House, and Immigration: Angelo's Saturdays
- Great Migration and the Jazz Age: It's a Long Way from Home
- Political Activism and the 1968 Democratic National Convention: Peace
Put history into your students' hands and ignite curiosity and critical thinking skills by developing your own classroom artifact kit. These lesson plans were written by local teachers who partnered with the Chicago History Museum on the project History Connections and Artifact Collections. Lesson plans and their corresponding artifact kits are grouped into seven topics. These materials may be downloaded, copied, and adapted for use in your classroom.
- The Hidden Life of Artifacts
- Early Chicago: The Fur Trade
- Industry and Innovation
- Transportation History
- The Great Migration
- Growing Up in '60s, '70s, and '80s
- Chicago Architecture
Inspired by the Museum's collection, local classroom teachers wrote and tested History Lab lesson plans. They are grouped into 12 topics. Lessons from each unit may be used independently or as a set. Each lesson includes a lesson plan, student materials, and reproductions of artifacts and/or photographs from the Museum's collection. These materials may be downloaded, copied, and adapted for use in your classroom.
- America's Documents of Freedom
- Slavery and Freedom in America
- Sew What! Samplers as Part of American History
- African American Life in the Nineteenth Century
- Fighting for Freedom: African Americans in the Civil War
- The Civil War: Up Close and Personal
- Through the Camera's Lens: The Civil War in Photographs
- Chicago's World's Fairs
- The First Ferris Wheel
- Playing in Chicago: Tootsie Toys, Tinker Toys, and Lincoln Logs
- Face-to-Face with the Great Depression
- History through Opposing Eyes: America and Protest
Explore the city's rich and diverse history through ten award-winning activities based on the Chicago flag. Download the lessons and have your students use the interactive online games.
The Teen Chicago collection contains one hundred oral histories about growing up in Chicago during the twentieth century. This collection was created as part of the Teen Chicago Project, a multi-year initiative expanding teenage involvement at the Chicago History Museum.
A fifteen member Teen Council was hired and trained to conduct one hundred interviews between October, 2003 and January, 2004. Among those interviewed are internationally known oral historian Studs Terkel, author Jodee Blanco, and hip-hop artist Kanye West.
The Complete Teen Chicago Oral History collection is available at the Chicago History Museum Research Center.
Great Chicago Stories and My Chicago are made possible by major grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities: great ideas brought to life. History Lab is made possible through a generous grant from the Polk Bros. Foundation. The electronic Encyclopedia of Chicago is the result of a ten-year collaboration between the Chicago History Museum, the Newberry Library, and Academic Technologies at Northwestern University. Additional support for Great Chicago Stories provided by The Brinson Foundation.