Chicago History Museum Announces $50 Million Capital Campaign

The Chicago History Museum has raised $34 million towards a $50 million goal in its landmark fundraising Campaign, This Is Chicago. The campaign is meant to extend the Museum’s role as a community hub for generations to come.

​“Founded in 1856, less than 20 years after our city itself, the Chicago History Museum is the city’s first cultural institution and the only major institution that makes all of Chicago its subject, said Gary T. Johnson, president of the Chicago History Museum. “This Campaign will ensure that the Museum continues to engage, teach and inspire many thousands of visitors annually.”

The museum announced the public phase of the campaign and is turning to the community to raise the remaining $16 million. This Is Chicago will expand the museum’s civic-based programs that engage students in the classroom, enhance exhibitions, upgrade and modernize the museum’s collection storage and beautify the park around its campus to become a more welcoming and visible destination.

The campaign looks to advance three priorities that all Chicagoans can call their own: Our Home, which focuses on making the museum accessible for everyone; Our Communities, which expands the Chicago Learning Collaborative using the city’s stories to engage, teach and inspire young people; and Our Future, which preserves and shares the past that defines our cit today and will shape its future tomorrow.

“With full participation from the Museum’s trustee, their collective commitments and other leadership gifts, inspired by a Challenge Grant from The Elizabeth Morse Charitable Trust and the Elizabeth Morse Genius Charitable Trust have helped us reach $34 million,” said Russell Lewis, executive vice president and chief historian of the Museum. “We are also grateful to the Costume Council of the Chicago History Museum and the Guild of the Chicago History Museum who have rallied to contribute collectively one million dollars to support the Campaign.”

The funds raised as part of This Is Chicago have already contributed to the renovations of museum spaces such as The Guild Gallery, the Robert R. McCormick Theatre and the museum’s Exhibition Innovation Fund that will provide multisensory technologies and perspectives to update museum exhibitions.

​The Lincoln Honor Roll Society, the museum’s planned giving society, provides a way for individuals to make an intention for a gift in the future that will support the activities, programs, collection and exhibitions at the museum, which will build endowment and reserves for generations to come.For the latest news on the campaign or to support This Is Chicago, visit

Chicago History Museum exterior (photo courtesy of the Chicago History Museum).