Chicago's Top 10 : Niche Museums

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  1. National Museum of Mexican Art

    The largest Latino museum in the US explores the culture sin fronteras (without boundaries), showcasing works from both Mexico and Mexican-American communities. Pre-Columbian ceramics, Day of the Dead candelabras, and prints by such luminaries as Diego Rivera are highlights of the permanent collection.

    • 1852 W. 19th St

    • 10am–5pm Tue–Sun

    • Free

    • DA

  2. Museum of Broadcast Communications

    Dedicated to the culture and history of news and entertainment media, this museum archives over 70,000 radio and television programs and commercials. In addition to watching and hearing vintage tapes, visitors can anchor their own newscast and read from a teleprompter.

    • 400 N. State St.

    • Open late spring 2007

    • DA

    Exhibit, Museum of Broadcast Communications
  3. Swedish–American Museum Center

    Located in Andersonville, the historic neighborhood of Scandina­vian immigrants, this tiny museum’s permanent collection of personal items brought over by early settlers is supplemented by temporary exhibitions on Swedish culture. An interactive children’s museum on the third floor brings the immigrant journey to life.

    • 5211 N. Clark St.

    • 10am–4pm Tue–Fri, 11am–4pm Sat & Sun

    • Adm.: $4; children, seniors, students $3

    • DA

  4. Museum of Holography

    The art really jumps out at you in this quirky loft devoted to all kinds of laser-produced 3-D images. Exhibits relating to the technology employed explain how holographs are produced.

    • 1134 W. Washington St.

    • 12:30–5pm Wed–Sun

    • Adm.: $4; children 6–12 $3; under 6 free

    • DA

  5. The Peace Museum

    Art, history, and politics as seen through a pacifist’s prism: the Peace Museum houses a 10,000-item collection, including sculpture, banners, and lithographs. Rotating exhibits cover themes such as 20th-century peace movements, the AIDS quilt, and art from Japanese A-bomb survivors.

    • 100 N. Central Park Ave.

    • 1–6pm, Thu–Sat, noon–4pm Sun

    • Donation

    • No DA

  6. Spertus Museum

    Here, Judaica in forms ranging from cartoons to ancient Torah scrolls comprise a lively, multi-faceted retelling of Jewish history and culture. The museum’s Zell Holocaust Memorial was the first such permanent installation in the US, while the Artifact Center gets kids involved in unearthing the past in a hands-on “archeological dig”.

    • 618 S. Michigan Ave.

    • 10am–5pm Sun–Thu (7pm Thu), 10am–3pm Fri

    • Adm., Free Fri

    • Kosher Café and Children’s Center

    • DA

  7. DuSable Museum of African-American History

    Named for Jean Baptiste Point du Sable, Chicago’s first settler (who was of African descent), this museum chronicles the African-American experience. There is a powerful exhibit on slavery, complete with shackles, while temporary displays cover topics such as early black millionaires, African hair art, and the Kwanzaa holiday celebration.

  8. International Museum of Surgical Science

    Medicine meets the macabre at this museum, with four floors displaying historic instruments that span 4,000 years of surgery. Murals and sculptures pay tribute to the profession. Stronger stomachs may appreciate the ancient Peruvian skulls showing evidence of early surgical attempts.

    • 1524 N. Lake Shore Dr

    • 10am–4pm, Tue–Sun May–Sep, Tue–Sat Oct–Apr

    • Adm.: $8; students and seniors $4

    • DA

    Hope and Help, International Museum of Surgical Science
  9. National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum

    Veterans of the Vietnam War, both US and Vietnamese, have contri­buted to the vast and moving collection of artworks cataloged by this thought-provoking museum. Some 130 artists created 1,000 works in pen, paint, clay, and word testifying to war’s horrors.

  10. Jane Addams Hull House

    Nobel Peace Prize-winning social reformer Jane Addams worked her good on Chicago’s immigrant population from these two Victorian houses. In addition to her original art and furniture, Hull House stages temporary exhibits relating to the social settlement that brought day care, counseling, and education to the working class .

    Jane Addams Hull House
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