You’ve most likely explored (or been told to visit) the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Kohl Children’s Museum, but what about the more hidden gems on Chicago’s North Shore? Whether you’re a resident or visitor, make time to visit these unique museums. You won’t regret it.
910 Chicago Ave., Evanston
Did you know that the largest collection of toby and character jugs in the world can be found right here in Evanston? These ceramic pitchers are molded to look like a popular character or historical figure and have been around since the 1760s. You can explore more than 8,000 jugs at this museum, ranging from depictions of Winston Churchill to “Star Wars” characters. The museum is open to groups and individuals and can provide free lectures. Best of all, admission is free.
40 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston
If you ever find yourself at Northwestern, don’t leave without first visiting this art museum. Not only can you view pieces from around the world, but you can also listen to lectures, take part in workshops, and watch a variety of films.
1421 Milwaukee Ave., Glenview
This outdoor history and nature museum has been a National Historic Landmark since 1976 and is also on the National Registry of Historic Places. Stop by the Interpretive Center to learn about plants and animals native to this area, take part in workshops, and walk The Grove’s nature trails.
1730 Chicago Ave., Evanston
Tour the former home of suffragist and president of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union Frances Willard. Multiple rooms have recently been renovated “to tell a broader story of the history of Frances Willard, the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, and their astounding work advocating for women’s rights and social justice.” The Frances Willard Historical Association also recently voted to reincorporate as The Center for Women’s History and Leadership.
3001 Central St., Evanston
Evanston is also the home of one of the only museums in the country that highlights the history and culture of American Indians and First Nation peoples. Current exhibits include “The Photographs of Edward S. Curtis”, “Pottery — A Timeless Tradition” and “Did You Know They’re Native IV?”. Kids will also love the arts and stories program that takes place every Saturday, as well as the Teaching Lodge. Plus, the museum offers a library with more than 3,000 books and a video collection for visitors. Group tours are also available.
1776 Walters Ave., Northbrook
Learn more about Northbrook at this museum located in the Northfield Inn. The museum features permanent exhibits, including the Schinleber Photograph Collection, as well as temporary exhibits in a 1890s home filled with authentic period furniture and artifacts. Appointments are available Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sundays from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
8031 Floral Ave., Skokie
The Skokie Heritage Museum celebrated 25 years in 2017. The museum’s Historic Engine House and 1847 Log Cabin both feature exhibits, classes, and opportunities for school programs. Visit the Skokie Park District website to download Skokie Historic Walking Tour or Skokie Historic Bicycle Tour maps and watch “The Remembering Eye: An Oral History of Skokie, Morton Grove, Lincolnwood, Niles and Golf.”