Welcome to the Windy City!

By DPLA, April 6, 2017.
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DPLAfest 2017 is around the corner and we are thrilled to be heading to Chicago, one of the nation’s most dynamic cities, to learn, converse, and explore with you, both during and beyond the fest. Whether you are a Chicago newcomer or a native, check out highlights below for local institutions and events to explore while in town for the fest. For those participating in the fest both near and far, we are also excited to take this opportunity to showcase the digital diversity of Chicago’s rich cultural heritage community.

Chicago Skyline postcard, ca. 1930s, from the collection of Boston Public Library via Digital Commonwealth.


First and foremost, Meet our Hosts

Chicago Public Library
You will get to know Chicago Public Library’s Harold Washington Library Center well during DPLAfest. Named for Chicago’s first African American mayor, it serves as the main library for the 80 CPL locations across the city and is the largest public library building in the world. Look for these exhibitions on display throughout the library during the fest.

Black Metropolis Research Consortium
Based at the University of Chicago, the Black Metropolis Research Consortium (BMRC) is a Chicago-based membership association of libraries, universities, and other archival institutions. BMRC provides extensive access to materials on African American and African diasporic culture, history, and politics, with a specific focus on materials relating to Chicago.

Chicago Collections
Chicago Collections is a consortium of 25 libraries, museums, and archives that collaborate to preserve and share the history and culture of the Chicago region through their digital collections. Together, these organizations offer a diverse and dynamic representation of Chicago’s history and its people.

Reaching Across Illinois Library System (RAILS)
RAILS provides continuing education, consulting, e-book projects, delivery, shared online catalogs, talking book services, and other innovative services to all types of libraries (academic, public, school, and special) in northern/western Illinois and beyond. See all the details at railslibraries.info.

Digital Diversity

Whether you will be in town or following the festivities from home, there will be many opportunities for you to explore the digital diversity of Chicago and the broad range of available cultural institutions and collections.

Highlights include:

Explore Chicago Collections
Investigate the collections of 25 partner institutions across the city of Chicago through this digital consortium.

A photograph of African American teens practicing dance steps, 1955, from the collection of the University of Illinois at Chicago via Illinois Digital Heritage Hub.

Leather Archives and Museum
A RAILS member institution, the Leather Archives and Museum compiles, preserves, and maintains history and memorabilia documenting leather and related lifestyles, including but not limited to the Gay and Lesbian communities, for historical, educational and research purposes.

The Sterling Morton Library at the Morton Arboretum
A RAILS member institution and a unique resource in the Chicago area, the Morton Library is devoted mainly to the literature of botany and horticulture, especially as it relates to trees and shrubs that can be grown in northern Illinois.

BMRC Photo Gallery
Explore BMRC’s digitized photo collection documenting African American and African diasporic culture, history, and politics in Chicago.

Illinois Digital Heritage Hub
A collaboration between lead partners Chicago Public Library, Illinois State Library, University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign, and the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois (CARLI), the Illinois Digital Heritage Hub is one of the newest DPLA hubs, with a broad range of materials on the history and culture of Chicago, with even more to come in the future!

Beyond the Internet: Exploring Chicago in Real Life

Explore Chicago outside the fest and beyond the internet at some of the nation’s premier arts and culture institutions. Below are a few highlights. Feel free to offer other fest-goers your personal recommendations on Twitter using #DPLAfest.

Chicago for the Tourist book cover, 1912, from the collection of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library.

Museums and Libraries

The Art Institute of Chicago

DPLAfest Presenter: Hear from Art Institute of Chicago staff members in Digital Publishing at the Art Institute of Chicago: Discoverability, Adaptability, and Access.

The Field Museum, including special exhibition Tattoo, on view now.

DPLAfest Presenter: Hear from The Field Museum’s Alaka Wali in The Walking Art Collection: How Tattoos Tell Stories of Identity.

The DuSable Museum of African American History

The Newberry Library

Chicago History Museum

National Museum of Mexican Art

Tour Wrigley Field, home of the 2016 World Series champion Chicago Cubs

Arts and Culture

Chicago Latino Film Festival and poster exhibit at Chicago Public Library, opens April 20 – Hosted by the International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago, the two-week festival will feature over 100 feature and short films from across Latin America.

Hamilton, An American Musical at PrivateBank Theater – Do not throw away your shot to (maybe, hopefully) get tickets to this Broadway smash hit!

Chicago International Music and Movies Festival (CIMMfest) Spring Fling Thing, April 21-23 – a mini-film festival showcasing movies, music, and more.

March for Science, April 22 – Join Chicago’s March for Science on Saturday following the fest and march alongside thousands of people across the country to protect the future of scientific research and promote the importance of scientific facts.

An illustrated map of Chicago, 1931, from the collection of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library.

Chicago is home to the first Ferris wheel, skyscrapers, and deep dish pizza – can you blame us for our excitement to for you visit? See you in two weeks!