The Southeast Chicago Historical Museum opened in 1985 in Chicago’s Calumet Park fieldhouse on the Lake Michigan waterfront. This community-based Museum is maintained by the Southeast Chicago Historical Society. The Museum houses a rich collection of materials donated by residents, as well as oral history collections and exhibits prepared by area students and volunteers. The Museum was given a crucial boost in the early 1980s by a large donation of materials collected by the Southeast Chicago Historical Project (SECHP). This community-driven project was the brainchild of local labor leader Ed Sadlowski with partners from Chicago’s Columbia College. They combined forces with area resident Jim Fitzgibbons and the East Side Historical Society founded in 1976. The idea was to support the people of Southeast Chicago in coming together to explore their own history. With funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the project resulted in an enormous collection of materials from disparate groups, encompassing the four neighborhoods that made up the old steel mill communities of Southeast Chicago – South Chicago, South Deering, East Side, and Hegewisch.
Remarkably, the Society and Museum have been maintained for nearly 40 years on an all-volunteer basis and the collection has tripled in size. The Society also sponsors a lively Facebook group that encourages discussion of the region’s history. Rod Sellers is Director of the Museum. Karen Brozynski is President of the Society, and Carolyn Mulac is Secretary and Treasurer. The Museum/Fieldhouse is located at 9801 S. Avenue G, Chicago, IL, 60617.
If you’re in the Chicago area post-pandemic, please come visit the Museum in person!