A visit to the Chicago History Museum

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I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to the Chicago History Museum. As a scrapbooker/memory keeper/documentarian/ancestry enthusiast, I appreciate a good story, but even moreso an authentic one. This museum does a good job of offering several different facets of stories, versatile in genre and era.

It is not a huge museum, so it’s easy to see in a couple hours, but you can definitely take it slow and spend the day here. Not to mention there is a great cafe inside.

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The main attraction for my visit was to see the Vivian Maier Exhibit, an American street photographer, who was relatively “undiscovered” until after her death. I highly recommend the documentary Finding Vivian Maier. So much of her life and photo taking was relatable and still left so many questions. Regardless, her eye for light & contrast, leading lines and human emotion in still shots was remarkable.

vivian maier, photographer, photography, street photography, black and white, b&w, museum, chicago history, document
I think she invented the bathroom selfie

vivian maier, photographer, photography, street photography, black and white, b&w, museum, chicago history, document

vivian maier, photographer, photography, street photography, black and white, b&w, museum, chicago history, document

vivian maier, photographer, photography, street photography, black and white, b&w, museum, chicago history, document
Sun glare bokeh
vivian maier, photographer, photography, street photography, black and white, b&w, museum, chicago history, document
Leading lines
vivian maier, photographer, photography, street photography, black and white, b&w, museum, chicago history, document
Contrast
vivian maier, photographer, photography, street photography, black and white, b&w, museum, chicago history, document
Human emotion in still shot

The exhibit was well done, and it’s only 18 rolls of film. A drop in the bucket of her thousands of photos taken. I walked through about 3 times. I was inspired to just get out and shoot. And document. One thing I learned from the documentary about Vivian, was she kept tons of receipts, tickets, and other paper memorabilia. As a paper lover, you can imagine my interest in these artifacts. Would love to see an exhibit featuring these items.

I had to honor her with my own bathroom selfie.
I had to honor her with my own bathroom selfie.

Another draw to the museum for me was the Lincoln exhibit. My interest in his life was recently reignited while recently watching a documentary on the History Channel. Even though we gloss over these people and events in History class, I feel like I am at a place in my life where I can really learn more and appreciate it all that much more too.

Lincoln exhibit

In a political environment such as this, seeing this exhibit and imagining Lincoln’s life’s work & reading his words renewed my perspective a bit. I feel fortunate to have that experience and be empowered by our democracy & electoral system. It is not perfect, by far, but I was reminded that thousands (& thousands) of men & women have died fighting for freedom, & justice, & equality, & the right to vote. I owe my good fortune in life to those people, and I can think of no better way to respect their memory then to participate in the process, to stay informed, to be as engaged as possible, to speak up where I am able & to act.

In Buddhism there is a concept of right living, and that concept kept coming to mind when I read Lincoln’s words. He is not without fault or conflict, (who is?!) but he was a forward thinker in that time.

Some more museum photos:

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An actual L train car
An actual L train car
Beer delivery
Beer delivery
Couldn't resist this gem! go Cubs!
Couldn’t resist this gem! go Cubs!
I enjoyed a chai latte & chocolate chip cookie at the cafe, while reflecting on my visit.
I enjoyed a chai latte & chocolate chip cookie at the cafe, while reflecting on my visit.

letterpress cards, paper collector, the papergoddess, gift shop cards, chicago history museum, starshaped press, albertine press

Of course I had to visit the gift shop and found these wonders. Top left: Letterpress postcard by Albertine Press. Bottom left: Letterpress postcard by Starshaped Press in Chicago. Right: Abraham Lincoln card, complete with various sticker quotes. (I plan to make him a little kickstand and use him for various inspirational posts ;))

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