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Chicago: Crossroads of America

Our permanent exhibition Chicago: Crossroads of America has something for everybody. Explore the city's history through a series of galleries that highlight artifacts, interactive features, and multimedia presentations. Climb aboard 'L' car no. 1, visit a jazz club, or picture yourself in the retro fashions of the Marshall Field's store window. Families love the hands-on activity carts and teens enjoy the audio tour produced by their peers.

City on the Make

L car interiorLearn the history of Chicago’s economy from the fur trading days of Fort Dearborn to the dominance of the Union Stock Yards and the evolution of modern trade.


The Fort Dearborn model, the Pioneer Locomotive, and 'L' Car No. 1

> View highlights from City on the Make

City in Crisis

Memories of the Fire in 1871Investigate Chicago’s response to six dramatic crises, from the Great Fire of 1871 to the 1968 Democratic National Convention.


Household objects fused by the heat of the fire, a 1920s copper still, and a brass ship's wheel from the Eastland disaster

> View highlights from City in Crisis

Sweet Home Chicago

Sweet Home Chicago videoMeet residents of the city’s diverse neighborhoods with the media presentation, Sweet Home Chicago. Get an insider's look at community life.

> Watch the video Sweet Home Chicago

Second to None

Marshall Field's windowDiscover Chicago’s innovations—in retail, manufacturing, architecture, science, and social activism.


Model skyscrapers, Lincoln Logs, Frank Lloyd Wright stained glass panels, and Kalo silver

> View highlights from Second to None

My Kind of Town

Riverview carousel horseExplore the city’s world’s fairs, music and theater scene, and the highs and lows of the home town teams.


The sights and sounds of our own jazz and blues club, a Riverview carousel horse, and treasured sports memorabilia

> View highlights from My Kind of Town

Plan Your Visit

Guided Tours

Public tours of Crossroads, free with Museum admission, are offered most days of the week. Tours include gallery overviews and highlights, and last less than an hour. Contact 312.642.4600 to confirm the time and topic for the day of your visit.

Audio Tours

The forty-five minute Crossroads audio tour, produced with Second City, is available in English and Spanish. Chicago public high school students provide a youth perspective of Crossroads in the audio tour In Our Own Words.

> Learn more about our audio tours

Shop Crossroads

The rich story of the city's history is contained in the exhibition catalog, Chicago: Crossroads of America, available in the Museum Store.

> Browse the Museum Store

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