Past Exhibits

Recent Temporary Exhibits presented at Elmhurst History Museum

Disco Demolition: The Night Disco Died 

June 9 - December 31, 2017 
Disco Demolition Night exploded on July 12, 1979 in the middle of a White Sox doubleheader and it is remembered as one of the city’s most controversial sports history moments. This interactive exhibit was inspired by the book by Steve Dahl with journalist Dave Hoekstra and photographer Paul Natkin, and featured video footage, rare photos and artifacts, and many items from Dahl's personal collection.

House & Home 
April 7 - May 25, 2017 
The design, structure, building materials and many ways Americans make a house a home were explored in the Midwest debut of this traveling exhibition from the National Building Museum and Mid-America Arts Alliance.

In Her Own Right: Marion Mahony Griffin
October 7, 2016 - March 12, 2017
The story of the unheralded woman behind Frank Lloyd Wright and the Prairie School of Architecture, a woman ahead of her time.

But Wait, There's More!
June 17 - September 18, 2016
Chicago's ultimate TV pitchman, inventor and entrepreneur came to life through the personal collection of Chicago's cultural historian Tim Samuelson.

Patios, Pools & the Invention of the American Backyard
March 19 - May 29, 2016
The rise of the mid-century suburban backyard is explored in this traveling exhibit from the Smithsonian in its Chicago-area debut.

Beer Chicago: The Refreshing History

September 18, 2015 - February 14, 2016
Chicago's been a beer town since its inception, and this exhibit traced the frothy's brews roots in the city's business, social, and political history. Written by Chicago beer historian Liz Garibay, the exhibit took a look at the impact of beer on the Windy City from the establishment of the town to today's craft beer scene.

Pigskin Peanuts
June 12-August 9, 2015
This traveling exhibition organized by the Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa, CA, showcased 50 of Schulz's popular football-themed Sunday and daily strips depicting the cartoonist's heart-warming stories and wry humor through the exploits of the beloved Peanuts characters.

Let Children Be Children: Lewis Wickes Hine's Crusade Against Child Labor

January 15 - April 4, 2015
This traveling photographic exhibition from the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film in Rochester, NY revealed the circumstances that poor working children endured until legislation against child labor prevailed as late as 1938.

Sox vs. Cubs: the Chicago Civil Wars
May 16 - September 28, 2014
Major League Baseball in the City of Chicago is divided geographically by only ten miles, but the distance between their fan bases is far greater. This cultural history exposé examined the concepts of loyalty and fandom through videos of each team’s colorful supporters; interviews with former players, sports journalists and broadcasters; and fan souvenirs and ephemera.

Carl Sandburg in Elmhurst
November 8, 2013 - April 19, 2014
Prairie poet and newspaperman, folk song collector and movie critic, family man and political activist, Lincoln biographer and children’s book author: Carl Sandburg was a Renaissance man of many talents and passions during the 1920s when he resided with his family in suburban Elmhurst.

Our Lives, Our Stories: America's Greatest Generation
August 30 - October 20, 2013
Visitors explored the life arc of America’s Greatest Generation—the stories of their lives from birth to old age, told in their own words—in the Midwest debut of this national traveling exhibition.

Shutter to Think: The Rock & Roll Lens of Paul Natkin
May 31 - August 25, 2013
Paul Natkin is widely considered to be one of Chicago’s most accomplished music photographers. Starting in the early 1970s, Natkin traveled the world documenting signature moments of drama, excitement, and excess that propelled rock’s tumultuous history.

On the Road to Glory: Fred Lorenzen
February 1 - May 19, 2013
The story of NASCAR legend and Elmhurst native Fred Lorenzen came to life through photos, artifacts, and exciting race footage depicting a little-known local hero who etched his name in the annals of racing history.

Centuries of Progress: American World's Fairs, 1853-1982

October 26, 2012 - January 6, 2013
The history of the American World's Fairs came to Elmhurst in a national traveling exhibition documenting the spectacle and wonder of the stateside World's Fairs.

Elmhurst Goes to the Fair
October 26, 2012 - April 21, 2013
This tandem exhibit featured rare artifacts from the Elmhurst Historical Museum's collection from both of Chicago's World's Fairs -- the Columbian Exposition of 1893 and the 1933-34 Century of Progress.

Sweet Home Chicago: The History of America's Candy Capital
May 11 - September 30, 2012
From Fannie May and Brach's Candies to Tootsie Rolls, Frango Mints, Lemonheads and many more -- Chicago has a tasty history of producing candy loved the world over. Visitors learned about Chicago's candy-making history and why the city has been a sweet spot for creating confections.

Alert Today, Alive Tomorrow: Living With the Atomic Bomb, 1945-1965
January 24 - March 18, 2012
The dropping of the atomic bomb on Japan in 1945 marked the end of World War II but resulted in a new threat: the uncertainty of the Atomic Age.