Chicago is the fabled city of big shoulders, big buildings and with a renowned foodie scene, big appetites. But at its core, this is really a city of neighborhoods and diverse ethnic communities. You can travel through dozens of countries and cultures of the world just by exploring Chicago neighborhoods and cultural institutions. The Chicago Cultural Alliance (CCA) serves as connector to 35 museums and cultural organizations representing 24 different neighborhoods and 28 different ethnic communities. Forget about airfare, you can discover China, Haiti, Puerto Rico and Ukraine all in a few days in Chicago.
At the Ukrainian National Museum, visitors can learn about the history of the trendy Ukrainian Village, as well as explore an extensive folk-art collection, traditional embroidery and paintings. The museum hosts workshops on pysanka or Easter egg decorating and celebrates Vyshyvanka Day, which showcases traditional embroidered shirts. The museum is open Thursday–Sunday, 11–4 p.m. (2249 W. Superior Street)
Dive into the colorful world of Haitian culture at the Haitian American Museum of Chicago. The museum displays resident artists who reflect the intricate patterns of Haitian artwork. Exhibits, book discussions and a community TV series are just some of the museum's offerings. Programs include Vin La Kay, which teaches children Haitian songs, crafts and folktales and Rasin, which honors the work of the museum's resident artists. The museum is open Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday, 11–4 p.m. $5 admission. (4654 N. Racine Avenue)
In Chinatown, Chinese culture is everywhere, from public art to restaurants, but the Chinese-American Museum is where it all comes together with programs and exhibits that explain Chinese history. The museum supplies resources to research Chinese art, food and people and hosts festivals and exhibits. The museum is open Tuesday–Friday 10–2 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday, 10–5 p.m. for a $5 suggested donation. (238 E. 23rd Street)
The National Museum of Puerto Rican Art & Culture is the only self-standing Puerto Rican museum in the U.S. With three expansive galleries housed in the historic, 19th-century Humboldt Park stables, the museum showcases Puerto Rican culture on many levels. Art classes, community workshops, book signings, exhibits and an annual art fair are popular features. The museum is open Tuesday–Friday 10–5 p.m. and Saturday 10–2 p.m. (3015 W. Division Street)
+ BONUS: Upcoming Museum Events for Inherit Chicago
Join in the city’s 1st intercultural festival Inherit Chicago — a month-long, multi-event celebration — as it continues through the end of October 2017.
Coming up, CCA partners are presenting a special show-and-tell storytelling event with the Irish-American Heritage Center and Casa Michoacán (October 20); a mix of Swedish and American music performances led by The Swedish American Museum and North Park University (October 21); an exhibit opening with the Filipino American Historical Society of Chicago and Turkish American Society (October 21); and a curator-led gallery tour presented by The Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art and The National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture (October 22).
Learn more about the Chicago Cultural Alliance and see all its 35 Chicago-area ethnic museums, cultural centers, and historical societies at chicagoculturalalliance.org.