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The Chicago Metro History Education Center Resource Guide to Chicago Historical Collections & Institutions is intended to help guide student researchers to the many resources available in the Chicago area.

The Resource Guide is divided into two sections to aid the researcher:

Directory of Historical Collections in the Chicago area
(you will find a number of website-only sources that will have information on Chicago or Illinois history too)

Directory of African-American, Native American, & Immigrant Cultural/Historical Organizations in the Chicago area

We recommend that students always start their research at their school library or the Chicago Public Library. Special collections and other institutions should be used once they do their basic research and have a focussed historical question. The more informed a student is by the time she/he seeks these resources, the more helpful librarians and representatives of these organizations can be.

When available, first go to the WEBSITES listed in the Resource Guide before calling or going to the organizations. Their websites, especially for the Special Collections, will give you a lot of vital information: the strengths of their collection (topics, people, events), finding aids, hours open and accessibility (if students are allowed to use the facility and under what circumstances). Most importantly, many institutions are making PRIMARY SOURCES available on the internet so that students can download photographs, maps, and other first-hand documents. [Remember, if students use an internet site as either a secondary source or to download primary sources, they must make a citation in their bibliography.]

The phone numbers, addresses, and websites are as up-to-date as possible, but we advise students to first call before going to any of these institutions and organizations. (Additionally, many research centers will be able by appointment only or have specific hours for student researchers.)

The Chicago Metro History Education Center Resource Guide to Historical Collections & Institutions is made possible by a generous grant from the Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelly Foundation.

Sources Used to Create the Guide

Congress of Illinois Historical Societies and Museums, Historical and Cultural Agencies and Museums in Illinois 1989-1990, Springfield, 1989.

Danilov, Victor J., Chicago's Museums, (Revised Edition). Chicago: Chicago Review Press, 1991.

Reithmaier, Tina M., A Guide to the Cultural Resources in Illinois, Springfield, Office of the Secretary State, 1988.

Szucs, Loretto Dennis, Chicago and Cook County: A Guide to Research, Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1996.

World Wide Web