Local Looks at a Global City: Tours Organized by the Local Arrangements Committee

AHA Staff, October 2011

The Local Arrangements Committee has organized 13 tours highlighting diverse historical resources of the Chicago area.

For the first time, two of the tours will take place on Wednesday, January 4, 2012, the day before most events at the meeting begin. Take advantage of the AHA's low hotel rates to get to town a day early and see the city (and take in the tours, too!).

Ticket prices include round-trip transportation from the Sheraton and any museum admission fees. Tour groups will meet in the Sheraton's Parlor A to board a bus to their destination. Except where indicated, tours are fully accessible. Please contact the AHA to request an accessible tour bus.

Preregistration for tours is highly recommended. Register online or call 508-743-0510 to add tickets to an existing registration. Tour tickets are nonrefundable and cannot be exchanged. Tour participants must be registered for the AHA meeting.

Tour 1 (Preconference Tour). Public Housing in Chicago: Past and Present

Wed., Jan. 4, 1:00–4:30 p.m. Sheraton, Parlor A

Tour leader: D. Bradford Hunt (Roosevelt Univ.).

Chicago's public housing has long been synonymous with urban segregation and problematic public policy. Today, most (but not all) of Chicago's high-rise public housing has been torn down and replaced with low-rise "mixed-income" communities. D. Bradford Hunt, author of Blueprint for Disaster: The Unraveling of Chicago Public Housing (University of Chicago Press, 2009), will lead a tour of several old and new projects as well as the site of the future National Public Housing Museum in the last of the Jane Addams Homes. The tour will cover public housing in Chicago with all its hopes and struggles, its community and controversy.

$30 members, $35 nonmembers. Limit 30 people.

Tour 2 (Preconference Tour). The Chicago History Museum: Facing Freedom Exhibit

Wed., Jan. 4, 2:30–5:00 p.m. Sheraton, Parlor A

Tour leader: Peter T. Alter (Chicago History Museum)

Facing Freedom is the Chicago History Museum's newest permanent exhibit. Based on the central idea that the United States has been shaped by conflicts over freedom, this installation uses images, artifacts, and interactivity to explore eight stories about what it means to be free. Facing Freedom's target audience is middle and high school students visiting the museum on school group tours. An exhibit curator will lead participants on a tour of the exhibit and discuss the project team's approaches to the target audience.

$30 members, $35 nonmembers. Limit 15 people.

Tour 3. World War II and Its Aftermath: The Polish and Ukrainian Experiences

Thur., Jan. 5, 2:00–5:00 p.m. Sheraton, Parlor A

Tour leaders: Jerry Hankewych (Ukrainian National Museum); Jan Lorys (Polish Museum of America)

The tour will visit the Ukrainian National Museum and the Polish Museum of America, founded in 1937. The Ukrainian museum's current exhibition is DP to DC, A Migration of Ukrainian People from Ukraine through Displaced Persons Camps (DP). Visitors to the Polish museum will see the newly refurbished Paderewski Room, featuring memorabilia of Ignacy Jan Paderewski, pianist, composer, and head of the Polish government in exile. This tour is the only opportunity for AHA members to visit the Ukrainian National Museum, which will be closed for Ukrainian Orthodox Christmas during the AHA meeting.

$35 members, $40 nonmembers. Limit 20 people.

Tour 4. Chicago History Museum: Out in Chicago

Thurs., Jan. 5, 2:30–5:00 p.m. Sheraton, Parlor A

Joint tour with the Committee of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History

Tour leader: Jennifer Brier (Univ. of Illinois at Chicago)

Join curators Jennifer Brier and Jill Austin (Chicago History Museum) for a behind the scenes tour of Out in Chicago, the Chicago History Museum's 4,000 square-foot exhibition detailing Chicago's century and a half long lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender history. Designed specifically for historians and scholars attending the Chicago conference, this curator-led tour will focus on how the exhibit team transformed decades of historical scholarship on same-sex desire and gender non-conformity into a complex and emotionally charged public history display that appeals to a wide range of visitors.

$30 members, $35 nonmembers. Limit 25 people.

Tour 5. Hull-House Museum: Jane Addams and Chicago's Near West Side

Fri., Jan. 6, 9:30–noon Sheraton, Parlor A

Tour leaders: Jeff Nicholas (Univ. of Illinois at Chicago); Lisa Yun Lee (Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, Univ. of Illinois at Chicago)

This tour includes a private viewing of the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum led by the museum's director, Lisa Yun Lee, followed by a driving tour of nearby working-class ethnic communities. Hull-House was a vital settlement house in nineteenth-century Chicago, and today the museum is located in two surviving buildings. The museum not only presents the life work of Jane Addams but also continues her legacy through dynamic public programming addressing issues of social justice. The built environment surrounding Hull House changed radically in the second half of the twentieth century, but working-class ethnic neighborhoods continue to thrive in the city, and their history will be explored in this tour.

$30 members, $35 nonmembers. Limit 30 people. Please note: A full tour of one of the museum's two historic buildings requires the use of a staircase.

Tour 6. The Newberry Library: Medieval, Renaissance, and Early Modern Collections

Fri., Jan. 6, 9:30 a.m.–noon Sheraton, Parlor A

Tour leaders: Karen Christianson (The Newberry Center for Renaissance Studies); Paul F. Gehl (John M. Wing Foundation on the History of Printing, The Newberry Library)

A tour behind the scenes and into the closed stacks of the renowned independent research library, including a hands-on rare books "show-and-tell" session focusing on medieval, Renaissance, and early modern manuscripts and other materials. The Newberry's collections in this area are especially strong in book arts and printing; religion; maps, travel, and exploration; European colonialism; humanism, education and rhetoric; and music and dance.

$30 members, $35 nonmembers. Limit 20 people.

Tour 7. Black Metropolis: A Tour of African American History on Chicago's South Side

Fri., Jan. 6, 2:00–5:00 p.m. Sheraton, Parlor A

Tour leader: Christopher Robert Reed (Roosevelt Univ.)

Chicago's historic black neighborhood, dubbed "Bronzeville," easily rivaled New York City's Harlem as both an entertainment mecca and business center during the 1920s. The intersection of 35th and State Streets served as epicenter for a variety of activities and attracted thousands daily and nightly who "strolled" the broad walkway and either danced the night away or sat spellbound as Louie Armstrong blew notes so penetrating that a second Chicago Fire appeared imminent. Pugilist Jack Johnson's Cafe du Champion beckoned, as did other interracial dens of pleasure and dreams. Several architectural remnants of those days past still resonate for the historically-minded visitor.

$30 members, $35 nonmembers. Limit 30 people.

Tour 8. The National Museum of Mexican Art: Mexican Culture
and Chicago's Pilsen Community

Fri., Jan. 6, 2:00–5:00 p.m. Sheraton, Parlor A

Tour leaders: Valeria Jiménez (Northwestern Univ.); Monsy Hernández (National Museum of Mexican Art)

For twenty five years, the National Museum of Mexican Art has been the premiere exhibition space in the United States for Mexican and Mexican American art. It also serves as a cultural heart of Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood. Join us for a guided tour of the museum's art, including textiles, paintings, sculptures, prints, photographs, and ephemera. Following our visit to the museum, we will tour Pilsen before returning to the AHA meeting site.

$30 members, $35 nonmembers. Limit 20 people.

Tour 9. The Newberry Library: Indigenous and Settler Worlds in the Americas

Fri., Jan. 6, 2:30–5:00 p.m. Sheraton, Parlor A

Tour leaders: James Akerman (Hermon Dunlap Smith Center for the History of Cartography, The Newberry Library); Scott Stevens (D'Arcy McNickle Center for American Indian and Indigenous Studies, The Newberry Library)

An introduction to the renowned collections of the Newberry Library pertaining to a wide variety of fields within the history of the Americas. The tour will include a trip into the closed stacks and a hands-on display of rare books and other materials. Collection strengths include early encounters, conquests, exploration and mapping, missionary efforts, settlement, and indigenous resistance throughout North and South America. The materials in the collection range from books and manuscripts, maps and codices, to photographs and rare tribal newspapers. Visitors will learn about these holdings and the Newberry's research and academic centers, and also take a look at a special spotlight exhibition commemorating the War of 1812.

$30 members, $35 nonmembers. Limit 20 people.

Tour 10. Chicago Explored:
Legacy of Daniel Burnham and Edward Bennett's 1909 Plan of Chicago

Sat., Jan. 7, 9:00 a.m.–noon. Sheraton, Parlor A

Tour leader: Dennis McClendon (Chicago CartoGraphics)

Daniel Burnham and Edward Bennett's 1909 vision for the city is still revered a century later. But the plan's actual results are often misunderstood or forgotten. This bus tour of the central city will look at the plan's physical legacies: Navy Pier, North Michigan Avenue, Northerly Island, a straightened river, Ogden Avenue, Congress Parkway, Union Station, and Wacker Drive. We will look at projects that greatly benefited the city, at proposals that later generations reconsidered, and at heroic accomplishments that in the end meant little. All participants will receive the booklet "The Plan of Chicago: A Regional Legacy."

$30 members, $35 nonmembers. Limit 30 people.

Tour 11. Cambodian American Heritage Museum: Remembering the Killing Fields

Sat., Jan. 7, 10:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m. Sheraton, Parlor A

Tour leaders: Staff of the Cambodian Association of Illinois and the Cambodian American Heritage Museum.

Established in 2004 under the auspices of the Cambodian Association in Illinois, the Cambodian American Heritage Museum and Killing Fields Memorial raises awareness of the Cambodian genocide and celebrates the renewal of Cambodian community and culture here in the United States. The group will view and discuss the new exhibition, Remembering the Killing Fields, which traces the Khmer Rouge's rise to power and reign of terror. In just 3 years, 8 months, and 20 days, more than two million Cambodians died from ruthless slaughter, starvation and disease. This exhibition honors not only those who died, but also those who survived to keep their memory alive.

$30 members, $35 nonmembers. Limit 20 people.

Tour 12. World War II and Its Aftermath: The Lithuanian Experience

Sat., Jan. 7, 2:00–5:30 p.m. Sheraton, Parlor A

Tour leader: Audrius Plioplys (Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture)

For the 70th anniversary of the start of mass deportations from Lithuania to the Soviet Gulag (1941–53), the Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture has collaborated with The Museum of Genocide Victims in Vilnius, Lithuania and the Lithuanian Research and Studies Center in Chicago for an exhibition and series of programs entitled Hope and Spirit. Dr. Audrius Plioplys, initiator and chair of the program, will lead a special tour of the exhibition. The permanent exhibition War After War: Armed Anti-Soviet Resistance in Lithuania in 1944–53 covers the crimes of the Soviet occupation and the fate of Lithuanian freedom fighters and victims of Soviet genocide. If there is time, the tour will include the 30-minute documentary film Ice in June (2001, English subtitles), which recounts the physical and spiritual destruction of the Lithuanian nation during the first Soviet occupation and the June 1941 deportations.

$30 members, $35 nonmembers. Limit 20 people.

Tour 13. Frances Willard House Museum and Archives: Behind and Beyond the Scenes of the Temperance Movement

Sat., Jan. 7, 2:00–5:30 p.m. Sheraton, Parlor A

Tour leaders: Amy Tyson (DePaul Univ.); Carolyn DeSwarte Gifford (Northwestern Univ.); Mary McWilliams (Women's Christian Temperance Union); Erin Hughes (Evanston History Center); and Janet Olson (Northwestern Univ.)

Historians are increasingly interested in the Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) as a force in women's history beyond the temperance movement. The Frances Willard House—a museum since 1900, and a National Historic Landmark since 1965—with original furnishings including Willard's working library, offers general visitors a unique sensory experience of history. For the AHA, this special tour will highlight how docents interpret a site with multiple periods of significance and multiple themes: Willard's life, her leadership of the largest women's organization of its time, and the national and international reach of the WCTU. The tour of the Willard Archives, a "hidden collection" open only by appointment, will survey its rich but virtually untapped resources relating to the organization and its constituents.

$30 members, $35 nonmembers. Limit 20 people. Please note: the Willard House Museum and Archives are not handicapped accessible. Guests will need to navigate stairs and be able to stand for approximately 1 hour.