New Exhibit: Chicago: Urban Artifacts

ExhibitPosterCCChicagoDarkerTitleMemories of Chicago’s past can be linked to its historical materials. Therefore, everyday items found in the city and surrounding areas provide reminders and expressions of people, culture, and lived environments. Collected and in combination, these physical reminders can be used to better understand the complex narrative of Chicago over time. Many of the items in DePaul’s Special Collections and Archives are connected to Chicago and contribute to this historical conversation.

DePaul University is a governing member of the non-profit organization Chicago Collections, a collaborative effort among local institutions to highlight their collections related to Chicago’s history. Chicago Collections unveiled its first public exhibition, Raw Material: Uncovering Chicago’s Historical Collections, August 2015 at the Chicago Public Library’s Harold Washington Center. The exhibit features archival items from member institutions’ collections. According to Scott Walter, Raw Material showcases historical materials that “tell stories linking Chicago’s past to the intimate, personal experiences of life in our city.” DePaul’s Special Collections and Archives exhibit Chicago: Urban Artifacts is inspired by Raw Material and draws upon many of the themes highlighted in the soon-to-be released online portal, Explore Chicago Collections. This online search tool will provide researchers, educators, and students with greater access to tens of thousands of Chicago-related historical materials held by cultural institutions in and around the city.

Guide to Chicago businesses and entertainment, Chicago Today, 1935, Chicago & Lincoln Park Ephemera Collection

Chicago: Urban Artifacts highlights historical items from Chicago’s rich past. Each artifact comes from one of DePaul’s manuscript and archives collections that are featured in the online portal. Common and ephemeral items such as flyers, programs, newsletters, and photographs offer connections to various voices from Chicago’s last 150 years. Through these historical pieces we catch a glimpse of diverse Chicago communities and varied experiences related to daily life, the arts, social justice and politics, natural and built environments, and major world events. These expressions of struggle and joy echo themes of fairness, equality, and happiness relevant to the past, present, and future.

Chicago: Urban Artifacts is on display now through December 2015 in the Richardson Library, room 314. Visit anytime during Special Collections and Archives hours of 9am-5pm. To learn more about the exhibit or Chicago related collections at DePaul, contact Special Collections and Archives at 773-325-7864, or

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