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Lincoln Park, Old Town

Learn How Polish Immigrants Found A Sense Of Community In Upcoming Chicago History Museum Exhibition

"Back Home: Polish Chicago" opens May 20 and features installations made by local Polish artists, old photographs, artifacts, written text and more.

An artist works on an installation for "Back Home: Polish Chicago," the new exhibition at the Chicago History Museum.
Provided/Chicago History Museum
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LINCOLN PARK — Chicago History Museum visitors can learn about the journey Polish immigrants have taken to find a new home in the city at a new exhibition opening this month.

“Back Home: Polish Chicago” opens May 20 at the museum, 1601 N. Clark St. It uses first-person narratives to share more than 150 years of history, according to an announcement.

Credit: Provided/Chicago History Museum
Performers and priests at Soldier Field for Polish Christian Millennium Celebration, 1410 Museum Campus Drive, Chicago, Illinois.

The exhibit features oral history snippets, music, maps, illustrations, artifacts and written text to highlight what immigrants’ journey from Poland to Chicago was like and how they have established a community here.

“We hope that visitors will see Polish Chicago history as dynamic and ongoing and find stories in the exhibition that resonate with them,” said Peter Alter, exhibition curator and chief historian at the museum.

Five local Polish artists also created installations that will be incorporated into the exhibition, museum leaders said. They represent the duality of the Polish-American identity and the experience of feeling a deep connection to two places at once.

“Most Chicagoans know that the city has long had a large Polish population, but few realize Polonia’s long and complex history,” Alter said. “This exhibition will allow Polish Americans and others to not simply celebrate the past, but understand it, and place the Polish Chicago experience within a larger historical context.

Credit: Provided/Chicago History Museum
Local Polish artists created installations to guide visitors through the Chicago History Museum exhibition.
Credit: Provided/Chicago History Museum
The new exhibition at the Chicago History Museum features illustrations that help tell the story of Polish Chicagoans.

After closing at the Chicago History Museum, the exhibition will travel to Warsaw, museum leaders said.

Entry to the exhibition is included in general admission tickets to the museum, which cost $17-$19 and are available online.

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