Cultural Attractions and Events during the Annual Meeting
A wealth of cultural resources awaits annual meeting attendees—many within walking or easy public transit distance. Check websites for these institutions for last minute changes and additions to their hours or programming schedules.
Within Walking Distance
Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S. Michigan Ave. (312-443-3600; open Monday–Wednesday and Friday–Sunday 10:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m., plus Thursday 10:30 a.m.–8:00 p.m.; $18 adults, $12 students, seniors, and children under 14). The new Modern Wing, opened in May 2009 and designed by Renzo Piano, features modern European painting and sculpture, contemporary art, architecture and design, and photography. Two January exhibitions, Bertrand Goldberg: Architecture of Invention and Inside Marina City: A Project by Iker Gil and Andreas E.G. Larsson, explore Goldberg's architectural contributions to the built environment of Chicago. The institute will also showcase two photography collections, Timothy O'Sullivan: The King Survey Photographs and The Three Graces.
Chicago Architecture Foundation, 224 S. Michigan Ave. (312-922-3432; shop and tour center open Saturday–Thursday 9:30 a.m.–6:30 p.m. and Friday 9:00 a.m.– 7:00 p.m.; prices and purchasing options for individual tours listed online). The CAF offers numerous walking and bus tours of the city's architectural heritage in January (no boat tours this month, however). Reservations are a must for these popular tours, and may be made on the CAF website.
Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St. (312-744-6630; open Monday–Thursday 8:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m., Friday 8:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m., Saturday 9:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m., and Sunday 10:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m.). Completed in 1897 as Chicago's first central public library, the CCC stands as a popular architectural landmark. The building's most notable features are its two recently restored stained-glass domes, featuring the world's largest Tiffany dome. Today, the CCC celebrates the performing, visual, and literary arts by providing more than 800 free cultural programs a year.
Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago Ave. (312-280-2660; open Tuesday 10:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m. and Wednesday–Sunday 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.; $12 suggested general admission, $7 for students and seniors, children 12 and under free). The MCA presents and interprets thought-provoking contemporary art. The museum offers exhibitions of contemporary visual culture (produced since 1945) through painting, sculpture, photography, video and film, and performance. January exhibitions include Iain Baxter &: Works 1958–2011, and Ron Terada: Being There.
Newberry Library, 60 W. Walton St. (312-943-9090; open Tuesday–Friday 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. and Saturday 9:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.; free admission). The Newberry is an independent research library concentrating in the humanities with an active educational and cultural presence in Chicago. It houses an extensive noncirculating collection of rare books, maps, music, manuscripts, and other printed material; collections number 1,500,000 printed titles, five million manuscript pages, and 500,000 historic maps. (AHA Tour 6 and AHA Tour 9 offer a chance to view parts of the collection). General tours of the library are offered Thursdays at 3:00 p.m. and Saturdays at 10:30 a.m.
Pritzker Military Library, 104 S. Michigan Ave. (312-374-9333; open Tuesday–Wednesday and Friday–Saturday 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m., plus Thursday 10:00 a.m.–7:00 p.m.; $5 admission). The library opened in 2003 and moved to Michigan Avenue in 2010. It houses a collection of books and related materials on military history. The research library seeks to increase public understanding of military history and develops programs focusing on the concept of the citizen soldier in the preservation of democracy. Through January, the library is featuring two exhibits: Memories of World War II: Photographs from the Archives of the Associated Press and The Home Front: What You Can Do!
Within Easy Public Transit Distance
Chicago History Museum, 1601 N. Clark St. (312-266-2077; museum open Monday–Saturday 9:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m., plus Sunday noon–5:00 p.m.; $14 adults, $12 students and seniors, children 12 and under free. Admission prices include two audio tours. Research center open Tuesday–Friday 1:00–4:30 p.m., plus Saturday 10:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m.). The CHM collects, interprets, and presents the multicultural history of Chicago and Illinois, as well as selected areas of American history. Their newest exhibition, Out in Chicago, balances private stories with public perspectives on issues relating to language, gender expression, identity formation, and the role of LGBT people in politics, culture, and family relationships. Other permanent exhibitions include Facing Freedom. (The Local Arrangements Committee has organized curator-led tours of both exhibits.)
Evanston History Center, 225 Greenwood, Evanston (847-475-3410; open for docent-led tours Thursday–Sunday at 1:00, 2:00, and 3:00 p.m.; $10 admission, includes entry to exhibits. Research room open Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday 1:00–4:00 p.m.; $5 admission, students free). The EHC is housed in the 1895 Charles Gates Dawes House, residence of the former vice president and now a National Historic Landmark. Tours of the 28-room mansion are available, and a research room offers access to EHC's archival holdings. Milestones and Memories, the center's permanent exhibit, highlights the history of Evanston using artifacts from the collection.
Field Museum of Natural History, 1400 S. Lake Shore Dr. (312-922-9410; open daily 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.; basic admission $15 adults, $12 students and seniors, $10 children 3–11). Originally founded to house the biological and anthropological collections for the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893, the museum today presents more than 40 permanent exhibitions. Special exhibitions in January include Whales: Giants of the Deep, an exploration of the world of whales through a unique blend of science and storytelling, and Chocolate: Around the World, a journey through the history of the tasty treat.
The Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, 800 S. Halsted (312-413-5353; open Tuesday–Friday 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. and Sunday noon–4:00 p.m.). The Hull-House Museum serves as a dynamic memorial to social reformer Jane Addams, the first American woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Located on the University of Illinois at Chicago campus, the museum preserves the original Hull-House site for the interpretation and continuation of the historic settlement house vision. The newly renovated museum, including the never-before-exhibited second floor, offers collections of artifacts, photographs, and stories of Hull-House residents and immigrants.
National Museum of Mexican Art, 1852 W. 19th St. (312-738-1503; open Tuesday–Sunday 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.; admission free, donations accepted). Located in Chicago's Little Village neighborhood, the museum's permanent collection is one of the largest collections of Mexican art in the nation. An understanding of Mexican culture as sin fronteras guides their exhibition philosophy and permits the museum to display artistic expressions from both sides of the border. Through January, the museum will present Juan Ángel Chávez's Neptuno, a collection of large-scale interactive installations and constructed environments. (The Local Arrangements committee has arranged a tour of the museum and the Pilsen neighborhood.)
Oriental Institute, 1155 E. 58th St. (773-702-9514; open Tuesday, Thursday–Saturday 10:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m., plus Wednesday 10:00 a.m.–8:30 p.m. and Sunday noon–6:00 p.m.; suggested donation $7 adults, $4 children 12 and under). The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago is a research organization and museum dedicated to the study of the ancient Near East. The museum displays objects devoted to ancient Egypt, Nubia, Persia, Mesopotamia, Syria, Anatolia, and the ancient site of Megiddo. The institute offers self-guided audio tours and guided tours for community groups. Reservations are required and can be scheduled at 773-702-9507.
More on What's Going on in Chicago
The city of Chicago's official tourism site and visitors' site include event, tour, and attraction finders, recommendations on places to eat and shop, and basic travel tools, such as trip planners, guides and maps, and transportation information. Information on Chicago's 77 distinct community areas and diverse neighborhoods, including interactive maps, insider tips, and neighborhood guides, can be found at www.explorechicago.org/city/en/neighborhoods.html.
Visitor information centers are conveniently located in two of the city's most popular areas—the Chicago Water Works Visitor Information Center on the Magnificent Mile (163 E. Pearson St. near Michigan Ave.) and the Loop's Chicago Cultural Center Visitor Information Center (77 E. Randolph St. near Michigan Ave.).
For discounted admission packages, consider Chicago CityPASS, a one-time admission to five of Chicago's most famous attractions: Shedd Aquarium, The Field Museum, Skydeck Chicago, Adler Planetarium or the Art Institute of Chicago, and the John Hancock Observatory or the Museum of Science and Industry ($76 adults, $59 children 3–11). CityPass ticket booklets are valid for nine days beginning with the first day of use and are available for purchase online or at any of the Chicago attractions. Another option is the Go Chicago Card, which also provides discounted rates and access to 28 top Chicago attractions. One day passes begin at $67 for adults, $45 for children. Visit www.smartdestinations.com or call to speak to one of their travel experts at 866-628-9031.
Allison Bertke Downey is a second-year PhD student in history at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She also works as a Kids Count Research Intern at Voices for Illinois Children./ Last Updated: December 28, 2011 3:23 PM