‘Cultural Harvest’ To Help Celebrate the Experiences of Black Chicagoans

February 6, 2024

Department of Planning and Development    312.744.9267

A first-ever cultural harvest of mementos and memories that reflect the cultural experiences of Black Chicagoans will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 2, 2024, at the Chicago History Museum, 1601 N. Clark St.

Hosted by the Chicago Department of Planning and Development (DPD), the event will help visitors contribute to a digital archive of historic Black artifacts and ephemera using photographs and scans.

The free, intergenerational event’s theme, Firmly Planted, is a nod to the longstanding roots of Black Chicagoans.

“Because Black Chicagoans’ contributions to the city’s growth and heritage are not adequately reflected in local museums or history books, this event will help preserve and amplify Black heritage and empower local residents to highlight their own histories and heirlooms for future generations,” DPD Commissioner Ciere Boatright said.

The event is part of DPD’s Black Cultural Heritage Initiative (BCHI) and a renewed effort by the City of Chicago to better preserve the physical assets of cultural groups that have endowed the city with a rich, shared identity.

“Historic preservation is not just about buildings and structures. It includes keepsakes, mementos and stories that honor the people and events that are often overlooked or undervalued,” said Eiliesh Tuffy, a historic preservation planner for the City of Chicago. “Events like the Black Cultural Harvest help fill in the gaps of our collective history as Chicagoans.”

Visitors can make appointments to have objects photographed or scanned into a digital archive that will be accessible by the public. Items should be handheld or easily transportable, such as:

  • Photographs (not to exceed 11” x 17”);
  • Keepsakes like political buttons, award ribbons, and historical objects (not to exceed 12” by 12” by 12”); or
  • Paper items, such as letters, fliers, menus, ticket stubs and playbills (not to exceed 11” by 17”).

Participants will maintain possession of their objects at all times.

In addition to archive activities, the event will include a variety of performances, presentations and interactive experiences that pay homage to Black history. The Chicago History Museum will also provide information on how to care for historic objects at home and connect visitors to preservation organizations and advocates that will provide additional resources for the preservation of objects and memories.

Partner organizations include the South Side Home Movie Project, Bronzeville Historical Society, Hyde Park Historical Society, Historical Preservation Society of the Illinois Chapter of the Black Panther Party, Maplibs Project, Black Chicago History Forum, The Obsidian Collection Archives, Sisters in Cinema, Mobile Makers Chicago and Englewood Art Collective.

Advance registration is required through the Black Cultural Harvest registration portal.

The first 35 attendees will receive vouchers for free, one-year memberships to the DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center in Washington Park.

For more information and to register, visit chicago.gov/bchi.


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