To time travel to the Gilded Age don’t miss out on the Driehaus Museum, a completely restored 19th-Century mansion in River North. If the opulent decor doesn’t leave your jaw on the floor then their exhibit “Maker & Muse: Women and Early Twentieth Century Art Jewelry” will. The exhibit explores the resistance against mass production brought on by the Industrial Revolution and the way women were an integral part of that handcrafted jewelry movement. The museum highlights more than 250 ravishing items that include extremely intricate rings, pendants, necklaces, brooches, tiaras, and even cigarette holders. Unlike other museums where these pieces might be put up against a white wall, having this jewelry displayed at the Driehaus Museum makes it feel like it always belonged in the home.
National Museum of Mexican Art
As the only Latino museum accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, the National Museum of Mexican Art provides a much-needed look at Mexican art from both sides of the border and from both past and present. Located in Pilsen, the heart of the Mexican community in Chicago, the most anticipated exhibit every year is the one dedicated to the Day of the Dead. With 116 art pieces and 90 artists from both the U.S. and Mexico, this year is no different. “La Muerte Niña: Day of the Dead” focuses on the tradition of painting the Death Child for this Mexican holiday meant to help the spiritual journey of friends and family members we have lost.
International Museum of Surgical Science
At the International Museum of Surgical Science your eyes will easily jump from the medical instruments, paintings, and statues to the breathtaking Gold-Coast building they are housed in. Over 7,000 medical artifacts, 600 art pieces, over 5,000 medical books, and more are housed in a 20th-Century four-story mansion that resembles Le Petit Trianon, a French chateau on the grounds of Versailles. Here iron lungs, skulls with holes drilled in them, hearing aids from different eras, statues of medical greats, murals depicting important moments in medical history, and more will enlighten those with or without any medical knowledge.
Dusable Museum of African American History
It would seem impossible to try to capture the entire African American experience but as the nation’s first independent museum dedicated to the collection, preservation, and study of the history and culture of Africans and Americans of African descent the Dusable Museum of African American History does an excellent job. It is best seen in their newest exhibit “Freedom, Resistance and the Journey Toward Equality” where the visitor travels from a world of slavery, seen in the replica of the hold of the slave ship, to the presidency of Barack Obama, seen in a video of his victory speech in Grant Park.