Explore Your Neighborhood: The Hidden Gems of Museum Week

It’s Museum Week in Chicago, a time to celebrate the rich art and cultures that make up the fabric of our beautiful city. The museums that are participating in this year’s event have a wealth of exciting exhibits and interactive experiences to share. However, there are dozens of hidden gems within our city’s vibrant neighborhoods that also warrant a visit. At United Way of Metro Chicago we support 60 partner communities in our region, and many of them are home to these lesser-known, but beloved neighborhood institutions. So if you plan to participate in Museum Week this year, here are a few other locations we’d recommend adding to your list of “must-sees.” Bonus: Many of them are free or have very small entry fees.
Hyde Park Art Center – Hyde Park
The Hyde Park Art Center is the oldest alternative exhibition art space in Chicago’s history. Since 1939, HPAC has strived to increase the transparency between artists and the public. It displays art by emerging or under-recognized contemporary artists living in our city.

National Veterans Art Museum – Portage Park
In 1981, a few Vietnam combat veterans put together an artistic and historical collection that would grow into the National Veterans Art Museum. The museum collects, preserves and exhibits art inspired by combat and created by veterans. Its goal is to create a space for military personnel, veterans and civilians to open a dialogue over the impact of war.

National Hellenic Museum – Greektown
Greek culture and mythology permeates throughout the Western world. The National Hellenic Museum constructs an experience where visitors can learn about Greek and Greek-American culture and its impact in the 21st century.

Block Museum of Art – Evanston
The Block Museum of Art is Northwestern University’s on-campus art museum. Through art, the museum acts as the springboard for thought-provoking discussions relevant to our lives. The Block exhibitions depict art from all disciplines, from classic to contemporary.

Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art – West Town
Not a fan of mainstream art? Visit Intuit to see works that demonstrate originality and authenticity. For more than 25 years, Intuit has brought the perspectives of outsider artists who show little to no influence from conventional art.

South Side Community Arts Center – Bronzeville
The South Side Community Art Center was the first African American-art museum in the United States. It was awarded Chicago Landmark status in 1994. The mission of the SSCAC is to preserve, conserve and promote African American art and artists, while educating the community on the value of art and culture.

Chinese-American Museum of Chicago – Chinatown
Chinese immigration to the Midwest is rarely mentioned in American history books. The Chinese-American Museum of Chicago gives visitors a glimpse of the experiences of Chinese immigrants and the culture they’ve brought to Chicago.

Garfield Park Conservatory – East Garfield Park
If you decide the museum life isn’t for you, escape the frigid Chicago winter for tropical temperatures at the Garfield Park Conservatory. Walk through six multi-faceted greenhouses and two grand exhibition halls. Instead of strolling by beautiful pieces of art, venture through a world filled with a variety of unique flora from across the planet.

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