Celebrating Chicago: Chicago Metro History Fair Blue Ribbon Student Exhibition

Today’s 175 Days to Love Chicago entry celebrates the Chicago Metro History Fair Blue Ribbon Student Exhibition, which will be held at the Newberry Library. Showcasing in-depth research projects from across the metropolitan area, the Exhibition launched on June 23rd and runs through July 18th.  More than three dozen projects were selected for this exhibit, all of which interpret Chicago history from the perspective of local students  Te Fair itself is hosted by the Chicago Metro History Education Center, for which this is their annual signature event. The Center also offers yearlong support for teachers and students, of which I had to send the links for their toolkit and curriculum materials to a friend who teaches elementary school (relax, this month he is participating in a fellowship program to teach students about Abraham Lincoln’s political life in Illinois — I know he’d be interested in learning more about this too).

However, having lived here for nearly four years, and given that I owned a library card within five days of taking residence,  it is a bit strange that I’ve never visited this research library.  I know the difference amongst libraries after my days spending too much time with graduate students that were completing library science degrees while I worked a student worker job at the Don L. Love Memorial Library during my undergrad days at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, including the unique role of these private research libraries.  Today will be the day to visit though, as my mom is visiting and we need someplace to meet that is easy for her to find (she’s staying with my brother, who lives at Patterson and Clark), and they have various exhibitions to check out. And then we can go a bit back further in time to visit the Genghis Khan Exhibit at the Field Museum. Now that sounds like a good Chicago day!

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3 thoughts on “Celebrating Chicago: Chicago Metro History Fair Blue Ribbon Student Exhibition

  1. An update from what I did today with my visits to the Newberry Library and Field Museum!

    I met my mom at the Newberry Library, which did end up being a perfect place to meet up, as the Clark #22 bus is only about half a block from my brother’s place. And what a great building! A bit overdone on the arches, but the tilework in the entrance was pretty cool too. I need to go back for a tour that includes the reading rooms soon. I have to say I was completely blown away by the History Fair entries — and I can see why some of them won national awards! I really enjoyed the documentaries, especially because so many of them focused on music and other arts. The other piece that was great was the live interviews so many people conducted — the historians found some voices and stories that will likely not exist by the time any of these kids pursued doctorates.

    And then we hit up the Field Museum. As usual, I was a bit overwhelmed by the noise of Stanley Field Hall. Really, kids, is screeching necessary? This was only my second visit since moving here, and while I enjoyed it, I’m glad to belong to the Museum of Science & Industry instead, where the staff are friendlier, the echoing not nearly as intense, and I can see IMAX movies. That said, the Ghengis Khan special exhibit was fantastic. The artifacts were amazing — especially of the mummified woman (dubbed the Princess Giant, though she was technically neither — just a little tall and wealthy) and video on the lost tomb of Ghengis. I knew we had vilified Ghengis Khan in many ways here in the West, but was completely impressed that his armies did not keep their plunder, though they instead hoarded the artisans that made the treasures. I think I had known, and forgotten, that his grandson, Kublai Khan founded the Yuan Dynasty in China. It was also fascinating to learn that geneticists tie this one ruler had created within Asian men today. With five wives and over one hundred concubines that bore him children, the low estimate is that 8% of Asian men today are related to him, which is .5% of the world’s population. Now that’s what I call multiplying!

    • If you are interested in history you should definitely make it back to the Newberry library for the John M. Wing Foundation History of the Book collection. The collection consists of variety of design and printing subjects, but what might interest you the most is the history of library materials found in the collection. They also have American History and Culture as a part of their core collection.

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