Item #416
Item #416 I helped a "Little Tramp" stand tall.
Charlie Chaplin’s bamboo cane, c. 1915
Item #1,865
Item #1,865 I witnessed the end of America's darkest chapter.
Table from Wilmer McLean’s house in Appomattox Court House, Virginia, c. 1860
Item #6,876
Item #6,876 I helped an alderman look the part.
Badge given to First Ward Alderman Michael “Hinky Dink” Kenna, 1897
Item #521
Item #1,456 I raided Harper's Ferry.
Owen Brown’s Colt revolver, c. 1856
The Secret Lives of Objects

Want to hear a story? We've got plenty to tell.

Pulled from the darkened shelves and hidden crates of the Museum's collection storage rooms, we're finally getting our chance in the spotlight…and we have some pretty remarkable stories to tell.

We're from around the city, across the country, and throughout history. Some of us have survived the years unscathed, while some are proud of our hard-earned dings and dents. We all have our secrets, and together we've made history.

Stop by and see for yourself.

The Objects of Secret Lives


Access to this exhibition is included
with Museum admission

$16 adults
$14 seniors/students
Free for children 12 and under


Monday to Saturday
9:30 AM to 4:30 PM

Noon to 5:00 PM


Chicago History Museum
1601 N. Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60614

Museum directions


$9 with Museum validation
Visa, MasterCard, and Discover accepted complimentary for Premium members!

Parking directions

Want to bring a large group? Special discounted group rates available. Call 312-799-2162 or e-mail for details.

Want exclusive access?

Join today to enjoy the perks of a museum membership.

Become a member


Want to share our secrets? No problem.

Special thanks

Manual Cinema

Manual Cinema will bring various secrets to life through a combination of handmade shadow puppetry, cinematic motifs, and original sound effects and music.

The Chicago History Museum gratefully acknowledges the support of the Chicago Park District on behalf of the people of Chicago.

Even our secrets have secrets

Visit our press room to learn more about The Secret Lives of Objects.

Press room