Chicago has a rich history of diversity—not of all of it good. But there are a number of museums and attractions that celebrate social justice and diversity in this city where the population now is just about evenly split—one-third white, one-third African American and one-third Hispanic.
Celebrating Diversity in Chicago
I like bringing my kids to sites that offer them opportunities to learn about social justice, or a marginalized group of people. I haven’t been to all of these places, but they are on our list of spots we want to take our kids.
The National A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum
Randolph was the chief organizer and co-founder of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, the first African-American labor union in the U.S. The museum pays tribute to African-American contributions to the U.S. labor force.
10406 S. Maryland Ave.
Chicago, IL 60628
Phone: (773) 850-8580
DuSable Museum of African American History
The DuSable Museum is the nation’s oldest independent African American museum. The museum offers programs that illustrate African and African American history, culture, and art.
740 East 56th Place
Chicago, Illinois 60637
Phone: (773) 947-0600
Bronzeville Children’s Museum
This is the first and only African American children’s museum in the U.S. Programming focuses on African American history and culture. Guided exhibit tours are intended to fully engage children in the educational message.
9301 S Stony Island Ave.
Chicago, IL 60617
Phone: (773) 721-9301
Jane Addams Hull House Museum
This museum honoring Jane Addams is located in two of the original settlement house buildings (a National Historic Landmark) where Jane Addams lived and worked. The museum honors the work Addams and the residents of Hull-House did to influence public policy on health and education, free speech, fair labor practices, immigrants’ rights, and other social issues. Museum programming makes connections between Jane Addams’ Hull-House work and today’s social issues.
800 S. Halsted Street
Chicago IL, 60607-7017
Phone: (312) 413-5353
Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center
Remember the Past, Transform the Future is the museum’s mission statement. The Illinois Holocaust Museum is dedicated to preserving the legacy of the Holocaust by honoring the memories of those who were lost and by teaching universal lessons that combat hatred, prejudice and indifference. Due to content, programming is geared towards middle-schoolers and adults. But I’ve taken my children to the family youth exhibition, an interactive space where hands-on activities teach kids ages 8-12 to respect differences, address bullying, and take a stand on issues that matter to them.
9603 Woods Dr.
Skokie, IL 60077
Phone: (847) 967-4800
The Bahá’í House of Worship for North America
All are welcome at the Bahá’í temple. Folks longing for peace and harmony will discover true tranquility at this temple. “The Bahá’í Faith unites all races and peoples in one universal Cause, the betterment of the world. Believing in the oneness of humanity demands a rooting out of prejudice and inequality, it elevates the need for all relationships and systems to be grounded in cooperation and mutual assistance.” The temple’s architecture is stunning and is one of only eight in the world. Our family sometimes walks the beautiful gardens and then sits quietly in the temple. Visitors can learn about the history of the temple in the resource center.
100 Linden Ave.
Wilmette, IL 60091
Phone: (847) 853-2300
For a complete rundown on all things LGBTQ+ in Chicago, see Out! Chicago’s LGBTQ Visitors Guide published by the Windy City Times.
Read more about LGBT family friendliness here:
How to make your business or attraction more welcoming to LGBT families.
LGBT family friendly things to do in Chicago.
About the author
Theresa Volpe is a children’s book author, LGBTQ+ family advocate and mother of three. She serves on the Board of Directors of One Million Kids for Equality which works to empower LGBTQ youth and the children of LGBTQ parents to share their stories for social and political change. She is Managing Editor for the online publication, ProudYouth. She is an advisor for the Chicago Children’s Museum’s LGBTQ Inclusion Initiative. Theresa, along with her wife Mercedes, were instrumental in the fight for marriage equality in Illinois. The Santos-Volpe family were plaintiff’s in the LAMBDA Legal lawsuit filed against the State of Illinois, and testified before the Illinois Senate in support of the Illinois Marriage Equality Bill.