In November of 2019, we traveled to Chicago, Illinois and one of the locations that we visited was the Chicago History Museum. Almost everyone we have talked to about this location did not realize that this museum currently houses the Abraham Lincoln death bed.
This was a great museum full of interesting artifacts related to the history of Chicago. The museum is located at 1601 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614 and you can check their website for times and admissions prices.
One of the main reasons we had this stop on our list when we went to Chicago was we wanted to see the bed that Abraham Lincoln died in. This bed is from the Petersen house in Washington D.C. (which we have been to as well), and so are some of the other furnishings with the collection. We spoke to one of the curators at the museum and he told us that they even have the original pillow cases that are blood stained, but they keep those in the archives.
Charles F. Gunther, a prominent Chicago collector, donated some items to the Society. In 1920, the Society purchased the remainder of the large history collection from his estate, with the intention of changing its focus from only a research institution into a public museum. Many of the items in Gunther's collection, in addition to Chicago, were related to Abraham Lincoln and the American Civil War. These include Lincoln's deathbed, several other pieces of furniture from the room where he died in the Petersen House, and clothing that he and his wife Mary Todd Lincoln allegedly wore the evening of his assassination.
We created a video as we toured the museum and you can see some of the interesting artifacts throughout the building.
As mentioned above, there are many artifacts within this museum, including a collection that is from the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. They even have the cow bell from the cow that was believed to have started the fire by kicking over a lantern. The fire killed approximately 300 people, destroyed roughly 3.3 square miles of the city, and left more than 100,000 residents homeless.
For those of you who know us, you know we are huge fanatics when it comes to the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. There have been many historical documents and moments we have researched that has some sort of tie to the fair. We were excited to see the collection of artifacts at the museum, but were surprised that there wasn't more.
They even had a display dedicated to Playboy magazine that was started in Chicago. Hugh Hefner had been working as a promotion copywriter at Esquire in Chicago when the magazine decided to move its offices to New York. He decided to say behind and start a magazine of his own.
Now of course there are paranormal reports at the museum and the grounds that surround the park and museum. In the following video we cover some of the paranormal activity that takes place there.
We had a great time at the museum (which you can see in our Trip Advisor review), and we are glad that we took the time to go and visit. Please let us know down in the comments if you have been there or would like to visit this location in the future.