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21 Museums to Explore in Cook County

Checkout places to visit in Cook County

Cook County

Cook County, Illinois is the most populous county in the state and home to over 5 million people. Located mostly within the Chicago metropolitan area, it includes downtown Chicago as well as many suburbs. Originally created in 1831, many of its municipalities offer renowned museums, parks, and activities that draw tourists from around the world. The county also has an extensive transportation infrastructure with multiple major highways and public transit options such as buses and rail lines. Add

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Tours and activities in Illinois that might be of interest to you

Museums to Explore in Cook County

Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University

The Block Museum of Art, is truly a space for arts and culture. From the classic to the contemporary, the museum offers programs of historic and creative importance. The Block Museum offers both permanent and changing exhibitions that are cultural hubs bringing music, film, visual art and spoken word together. The museum also houses preeminent collections from various renowned collecting initiatives such as their Ancient Mediterranean Art collection and print collection.

Charnley-Persky House Museum

The Charnley-Persky House is a perfect example of the evolution of American architecture in the 19th century. Built between 1892 and 1894 by world-renowned architects Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright, the house has stood at its current location since 1927. It features intricate design elements from bordered terraces to rich brick patterning. Inside, oak panelings line the walls providing warmth and richness that exemplifies Sullivan's Prairie School style.

Chicago Children's Museum

This Museum is a vibrant and exciting place for kids of all ages and offers hands-on exhibits, workshops, performance art, and interactive activities that help the youngest members of our community discover and explore their natural potential. Continuous year-round programming further engages children in creative arts, science and technology, history, health and nutrition literacy. The museum also hosts regular family days, storytelling events and sleepovers to keep everyone engaged.

Chicago History Museum

The Chicago History Museum is a great place to learn about the history of Chicago. It has a wide variety of exhibits ranging from Revolutionary War artifacts to displays highlighting popular culture that shaped the city’s history. There are interactive activities for the whole family, such as virtual tours and video presentations, as well as real-life experiences like workshops and craft activities. Visitors can enjoy special events like lectures by local historians or themed story times.

Chicago Sports Museum

The Chicago Sports Museum is a great spot for any sports fan! It houses decades-worth of sports memorabilia, ranging from equipment used by the Bulls to articles written about the Cubs. Visitors can spend hours exploring its interactive exhibits, including simulating plays with an interactive wall and taking virtual reality tours of Olympic sites. The museum also features a theater where they show classic matches and highlight top players in all your favorite sports franchises.

DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center

This is a museum dedicated to African American history and culture. Founded in 1961, the museum holds one of the largest African American collections in any museum on record. Not only are they home to countless artifacts and documents, the museum provides education resources that include regular exhibits, lectures, family activities, and lesson plans. It also serves as a center for artistic expression where local and national talent can shine through visual art displays and musical performances.

Field Museum

The Field Museum of Natural History is a fascinating and educational place to explore. Founded in 1893 as part of the World's Columbian Exposition, The Field Museum showcases collections that span more than 4.5 billion years of history. It houses over 40 million unique specimens and objects from the natural environment, including many dinosaur fossils and ancient artifacts. Visitors can take knowledge packed guided tours through the museum or wander on their own.

Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center

The Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center is dedicated to the memory of the victims of the Holocaust and serves as a memorial to those who perished. Through its interactive exhibits, lectures, and workshops, the museum offers educational programs designed to teach visitors about the history of persecution during this dark period in our collective past. It works towards fostering mutual understanding and respect through its goal of raising awareness.

International Museum of Surgical Science

The International Museum of Surgical Science is a unique museum that provides guests with an interactive and educational experience. Visitors can explore 19th-century surgical equipment and artifacts, several historic operating rooms and casts of famous anatomical specimens. The museum puts on many different programs and events that bring medical history to life, like lectures from experts on surgery, medical arts and history.

Jane Addams Hull-House Museum

This Museum was established in 1889 by Jane Addams and Ellen Starr, It was a dream come true for reformers who sought to battle the rampant poverty and social injustice of their era. Originally run as Hull House Settlement, the establishment provided educational and recreational activities for neighborhood children. Through its various programs, it became a social incubator that allowed those less fortunate to fight against oppression while living a dignified life free from financial hardship.

Kohl Children's Museum

The Kohl Children's Museum is a vibrant and educational experience for all ages.The Museum seeks to inspire young minds with interactive displays, hands-on activities and exhibits that stimulate learning. Families can explore six themed areas including Train Station, Music Makers and Backyard. Each section has its own unique offerings for both kids and adults alike. There are also daily performances such as performances from local artists, puppet shows and magic shows.

McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum

The McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum is an exciting destination for those interested in local history and science. Located on the Chicago River, this museum showcases five levels of the iconic movable bridge, which can be seen operating from a unique Glass Gallery located on the fifth level. The first and second levels contain exhibits about Chicago River history and engineering, with interactive displays guiding visitors through the city’s changing landscape.

Museum Of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA Chicago)

The Museum Of Contemporary Art is a staple of Cook County and one of the most well-known art museums for modern and contemporary art. MCA Chicago offers a vast range of exhibitions, performances, talks, tours and educational experiences for all ages. Some of their most notable works include photography by Cindy Sherman, painting from Richard Tuttle, sculptures by Barbara Kruger, textile work from Sheila Hicks and installations from artists such as Rafa Esparza and Katie Herzog.

Museum of Contemporary Photography

The Museum of Contemporary Photography is the perfect place to explore the inspiring and ever-changing world of photography. With a focus on contemporary and modern work, visitors can learn about the innovative techniques used by photographers from a variety of backgrounds and look at examples from all around the world. From monochromatic street photography to vibrant prints that feature abstract shapes.

Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago

The Museum of Science and Industry, is the largest science center in the western hemisphere. Established in 1933 and located on 57,000 square feet of lakefront property, the museum offers 400,000 square feet filled with engaging interactive exhibitions that connect visitors to science and technology in an unprecedented way. In this incredible experience, visitors can explore space flight simulators and even dive into a U-505 submarine.

National Museum of Mexican Art

The National Museum of Mexican Art, is a magnificent and informative exhibition of traditional and contemporary artwork from Mexico. The museum opened its doors to the public in 1987 and has since become one of the leading centers for preserving and celebrating Mexican culture and art. Visitors can enjoy hundreds of pieces on display across several permanent collections, as well as traveling exhibitions presented throughout the year.

National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture

The National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture, is a fantastic space dedicated to celebrating and preserving the culture and history of the Puerto Rican people. It offers interactive exhibits, engaging workshops, thought-provoking presentations, and other educational materials that bring visitors closer to the island’s vibrant history and its diverse arts. On any given day at the museum, one can find music performances showcasing beautiful folkloric instruments from around Puerto Rico.

Oriental Institute Museum

The Oriental Institute Museum offers a unique glimpse into the history and culture of ancient civilizations from all over the world. Located on the University of Chicago campus, the museum is home to extensive collections of artifacts from Egypt, Iraq, Syria and Turkey spanning centuries of human activity. Visitors can explore galleries dedicated to understanding ancient life through interpretive displays explaining daily routines and rituals such as mummification and burial practices.

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum offers an enjoyable escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. The museum's exhibits focus heavily on ecology, letting visitors learn about the Chicago environment and its inhabitants. From the sunny glades of Meadow Lake to an engaging account of native birds and flora, nature lovers will never be bored within its walls. Encouraging interactive learning techniques, visitors can explore various habitats by way of multimedia presentations.

Swedish American Museum

The Swedish American Museum is a wonderful place to learn about Swedish culture and contains a wealth of memories and artifacts representing the lives of Swedish immigrants in America. It focus on traditional costumes, music, customs, foodways, and language as well as Swedish-American achievements in such fields as medicine, engineering and the arts. Visitors can also explore interactive displays that highlight Swedish immigration to America during the mid-19th to early 20th centuries.

Map of Museums to explore in Cook County