Current Special Exhibitions
February 10, 2019 – August 25, 2019
Main Special Exhibition Space
Purchased Lives: The American Slave Trade from 1808 to 1865 illustrates the pain and injustice of the American domestic slave trade, illuminating just how widespread the practice of slavery was in American life, as well as its impact on enslaved families across the country.
This exhibition, originally curated by The Historic New Orleans Collection, showcases more than 75 original artifacts, slave narratives, and oral histories. Through interactive displays, visitors engage directly with historical record by tracking the shipment of more than 70,000 people to New Orleans. Purchased Lives also contains a collection of “Lost Friends” ads placed after the Civil War by newly freed people attempting to locate Illinois family members.
Exhibition by The Historic New Orleans Collection.
October 7, 2018 – October 27, 2019
The Joseph L. & Emily K. Gidwitz Memorial Foundation Gallery
Activists and Icons: The Photographs of Steve Schapiro, shows, through powerful documentary photography, that the issues of the civil rights movement are still deeply relevant today. Forty-six large-format photographs tell the stories of seminal moments in history from the March on Washington (1963) to Robert Kennedy’s presidential campaign (1968). Among the images are emotional portraits of heroes both known and unknown, ranging from Rosa Parks and James Baldwin to an unnamed sanitation striker.
HOW IT IS, BUT HOW IT SHOULD BE: AN IMAGINED LIFE OUTSIDE OF GURS
April 28 – October 27, 2018
Northern Trust Gallery
While imprisoned in Camp de Gurs in unoccupied France in 1941, a young artist named Trudl Besag made an illustrated booklet and gave it to a fellow prisoner, Rosa Hirschbruch, for her 65th birthday. The booklet, entitled So ist es, aber, so soll’s sein (How it is, but how it should be), vividly illuminates the daily life in Gurs, presents an artful and hopeful response to imprisonment, and captures the will of these prisoners to continue to dream of another life.
The exhibition How it is, but how it should be reproduces a rare and vivid artifact from our Museum collection, with translations by the artist. Additional elements tell the broader story of Camp de Gurs and of these two women.