Preserving and interpreting the historical experiences of African Americans, DuSable Museum was a trendsetter as the first of its kind in the United States. Its purpose is “to promote understanding and inspire appreciation of the achievements, contributions, and experience of African Americans” and it does this through the use of educational programs, activities and art exhibits.
Established in 1961, DuSable Museum was named after Jean Baptiste Pointe DuSable, a Haitian fur trader and the first permanent settler in Chicago. This Smithsonian Affiliate museum began celebrating black culture and contributions in a time when they were often overlooked academically and by museums. The museum continues to contribute to the benefit of African American and Chicago culture through lectures, festivals, film programs, performing arts, literary discussion, children’s events, and educational services.
Not to Miss at the DuSable Museum
Freedom, Resistance, and the Journey Toward Equality. Dedicated to the thousands of those who have given their lives in the name of equality and freedom, this exhibit takes visitors through a journey of the African American experience that addressed key historical periods. Including 200 objects, images, and artifacts, this display brings the viewer face-to-face with Reconstruction, the Great Migration, racial segregation and the Civil Rights movement.
A Slow Walk to Greatness: The Harold Washington Story. Regaling the story of the 42nd Mayor of the City of Chicago, the exhibit takes a closer look at the life of the city’s first African American mayor. With more than 150 artifacts and an animatronic likeness of Mayor Washington, the exhibit shows the likeness of the mayor sitting behind his desk as a State Representative and telling the story of Chicago’s history to visitors.
Freedom Now Mural. Created by Illinois sculptor and attorney, Robert Witt Ames, this huge wooden mural expression social and political sentiments about the experiences of African Americans throughout 400 years of American History.
DuSable Museum Amenities
Services and conveniences you’ll find at Dusable Museum include:
DuSable’s museum shop offers a small collection of jewelry, art posters, and hand-crafted musical instruments, and books that tell important tales of African Americans and Chicago, then and now.
For a plethora of learning opportunities, visitors to the museum can request access to the Archives and Special Collections. A member of staff will help guests with research, statistics, and provide for the collection’s security. A form (available online) must be submitted in advance.
- Baby strollers are permitted throughout the facility.
- This ADA compliant facility offers a limited number of wheelchairs available for use on a first-come, first-served basis.
- DuSable is proudly the first Chicago museum with a fully functioning Augmented Reality (AR) experience. Download through Google Play or from the App Store for IOS.
DuSable Museum Nearby Attractions
While visitors are in the neighborhood, they can take some time to enjoy Washington Park or Jackson park on a nice day.
For rainy or cold days, indoor attractions in the vicinity (a 10-minute walk or less) include:
- Oriental Institute Museum
- SMART Art Museum (Free)
- The Joe and Rika Mansueto Library
- The Joseph Regenstein Library
Getting to the DuSable Museum
740 East 56th Place, Chicago, IL 60637
Getting to the DuSable Museum is fairly simple whether by car, bike, or public transportation.
Located away from downtown Chicago near the Dan Ryan Expressway (I-90) to the west and Lake Shore Drive to the east, the museum is fairly simple to access by car. Street parking and a private parking lot with designated disabled accessible spaces are available.
Located near the Red and Green Lines on CTA, the museum is also accessible by several bus routes. On the Metra and South Shore Lines, the museum can be accessed near the 55th-56th-57th station.
Easy to access by bicycle, use Chicago’s Lakefront Trail and exit at 55th Street via the Lake Shore Drive underpass, then head west to Washington Park. King Drive and Garfield are also bike-friendly streets. On the east side of the museum, parallel to Cottage Grove are public bike racks.
When to Go to the DuSable Museum
DuSable Museum is open Tues-Sat 10am-5pm; Sunday 12pm-5pm; closed Mondays between June 1 and Jan 2 (except for school holidays). Closed on Easter, July 4, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.
DuSable Museum Insider Tips
Dusable Musuem has a lot of square footage, but it probably won’t take an entire day to enjoy. That means visitors have time for a nice lunch at a nearby restaurant (Try Eleven City Diner or Medici on 57th) and then take a short 5-minute walk over to view the 126-foot Fountain of Time sculpture by Lorado Taft.