Programs & Initiatives


Chicago Collections hosts exhibits highlighting archives, manuscripts, and objects from our members' collections and introducing audiences to pivotal moments in Chicago's history. Our inaugural exhibition, Raw Material: Uncovering Chicago's Historical Collections, was held at Chicago Public Library's Harold Washington Library Center in Fall 2015. Chicago Collections is proud to embark upon a new phase of curation with the launch of digital exhibits. 


Explore Chicago Collections is our flagship initiative— a free, centralized, web-based search engine and record-finding tool where researchers, teachers, and students are able to locate or access over 100,000 maps, photos, and letters held by our member institutions. Providing unparalleled access to primary source materials, users can explore digital material, archival collections, and manuscript collections by topic— from government, to everyday life, and beyond— and interact with library guides, digital exhibits, and educational materials.

cooperative reference network

Through member collaboration, we have created ASK Chicago Collections, a virtual reference desk spanning the Chicago region. This network responds to inquiries about member collections, facilitates their access and use, and is a resource to our members.

Membership and Collection Expansion

Our current members have been vital to making Chicago’s rich history and culture available for all to share and explore. Chicago Collections continues to seek new collections that capture key aspects of Chicago’s history and culture. 

Future Programs and Initiatives

Chicago Collections looks forward to creating meaningful and innovative collaborations in support of Chicago-related collections and their use. Our future programs and initiatives will include topic-focused exhibitions and educational and community events.


This list provides information about Chicago Collections Consortium's controlled vocabularies. These tags were created for use by member institutions for tagging items within the Explore Chicago Collections portal, but has been made public for anyone to use as needed. LibGuide on CCC Controlled Vocabularies.