What happens when you take 15 teens to the Chicago History Museum?
First of all– I was impressed by the connections and insight that the teens made in regards to engaging with history and their role in the results of important social political and cultural events that impacted our city as well as the country as a whole.
We spent time looking at photos in the Vivian Maier exhibition which captures the streets and people of Chicago in candid, everyday happenings. These photos highlighted important historical events like the Democratic Convention of 1968 and the race riots following the assassination of Martin luther King Jr., but it also showcased the day to day moments that reveal the true life of the city. Both themes were recognized and admired by the teens who could recognize neighborhoods and contemplate how these events affected the lives they are living today– both similar and different, complicated and commonplace.
This sentiment continued in our viewing of the Exhibition 1968 which showcases the overwhelming multitude of events and trends of the year that shaped the future of our country, still evident today. From these events, teens were asked to focus on one that really stood out or grabbed their attention. This event will be used as inspiration for an art project we will be working on in the coming weeks looking at identity, history and looking into the future. Additional questions included what did you learn today? Who will you be in 50 years? What will you remember and what will have changed? to supplement generating ideas for a reflective art project.
Teen Council made a list of things they learned during their trip. Here are a few highlights:
> The largest population of young people were entering college and being drafted (baby boomers) a major drive of the energy of the 60s.
> If Robert Kennedy was not assassinated he would probably have been elected president.
> The first Miss Black America Pageant was held, giving black women a chance to role model and represent their beauty.
> Don’t put ketchup on a Chicago Style Hot Dog