The Museum’s first exhibition on the history of Jewish Chicago is part of an ongoing effort to tell a more inclusive and diverse history of the city to contemporary audiences.
Discover a rich array of personal stories that represent and illuminate the larger community’s experience. Each story illustrates how Jewish immigrants and their descendants adapted to modern American society while retaining an age-old religious and cultural identity. The exhibition also makes direct connections to Chicago history, illustrating that Jews have been an integral part of the city’s history and made many significant contributions to its growth and development.
Shalom Chicago features more than three hundred artifacts and images, compelling A/V programs, and engaging interactive experiences organized into three main sections.
The Early Community
Begin your journey by meeting several members of Chicago’s early German Jewish community who began arriving in the 1840s. Rare artifacts from pre-fire Chicago and first-person accounts help tell their inspiring stories to a new generation.
At Home in Chicago
Explore the German and Eastern European Jewish communities through personal stories related to city neighborhoods, business and labor, art and culture, and religion. Special attractions include a compelling A/V program about the 1910 garment workers’ strike, a kosher food interactive, and a rich array of ritual objects.
New Challenges and Opportunities
Meet Jewish Chicagoans who protested against Hitler and served in World War II. Encounter Polish freedom fighters and a more recent immigrant from Russia. Highlights include footage of a1933 anti-Nazi march and a concluding video that features members of today’s community.