Encyclopedia o f Chicago
Gallery : How Chicagoans Remember Their History
How Chicagoans Remember Their History
What We All Know: Icons of Memory
Reproduction of Memory
Institutions of Memory
Forgetting, Misremembering, and Contesting Memories
Case Study: Jean Baptiste Point DuSable
Case Study: Fort Dearborn
Institutions of Memory
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Museums and Exhibits

Institutions such as the Chicago Historical Society have had a dual mission to serve both history and memory -- to preserve the evidence of history and support research, and also to educate the public and help shape civic memory. Although Abraham Lincoln was not a Chicago resident, the Historical Society has a significant collection of Lincoln-related papers and artifacts, and has interpreted these materials in many displays since the 1870s. Lincoln Room, Chicago Historical Society, 1931.

See also: Chicago Historical Society

How the Past Visualized the Past

When the Chicago Historical Society moved into its new building in Lincoln Park in 1931, curators intended to have no "permanent" exhibits, with the exception of eight dioramas portraying notable scenes and events in Chicago history. The dioramas have persisted, and are interesting today not only for their visualizations of early Chicago, but as artifacts indicating something about how Chicago history was interpreted in 1931. Diorama of Rush Street at the Chicago Historical Society, 1966.

See also: Chicago Historical Society

Preserving Local Memories

Institutions such as local newspapers and public libraries can record and preserve local histories that would be lost otherwise. The North Suburban Library System has put many local historical images and documents that are in the collections of it member libraries into an online archive, http://www.digitalpast.com. Some of these items themselves document ways in which people remember local history through personal recollections and items such as quilts. Wauconda Herald, 17 August 1977.

See also: Libraries, Suburban; Wauconda, IL

Local Newspapers

As historical artifacts, old newspapers can convey some aspects of the past with freshness and immediacy. But beyond current events, newspapers have also conveyed a sense of history to their contemporaries. In 1937 the Aurora Beacon-News marked the Centennial of Aurora with a large special edition devoted to local history. The cover of the section devoted to agriculture portrayed Aurora as a bright light at the center of the Fox River Valley. Villages in DuPage, Kane, and DeKalb counties are seen as its tributaries, strung out along rail and water transportation lines. Aurora Sunday Beacon-News 5 Sept. 1937 (Centennial Edition).

See also: Agriculture; Aurora, IL; Fox River; Newspapers; Newspapers, Outside Chicago (Table)