CAFC River Cruise aboard Chicago's First Lady, What's New Walking Tour and OHC volunteer opportunity

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AUGUST 24, 2021 • ISSUE 44

CAFC River Cruise aboard Chicago's First Lady


Don't let the sun set on your summer without a trip on the Chicago Architecture Foundation Center River Cruise aboard Chicago's First Lady! Voted the #1 Boat Tour in North America by the USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards, this 90-minute cruise explores some of the city's greatest architectural wonders across all three channels of the Chicago River. Experience this award-winning boat tour for yourself, with multiple departures taking place every day. 


Book Talk: "Chicago: An Illustrated Timeline"
Wednesday, September 8 at 12pm

Every city has its foundational stories. In this talk, CAC Program Director Hallie Rosen discusses Chicago: An Illustrated Timeline with author and CAC docent Ellen Shubart, which chronicles the city’s growth from Midwestern outpost to global metropolis.

Chicago: An Illustrated Timeline

What's Worth Preserving?
Thursday, September 23 at 6pm

With the future of James R. Thompson Center hanging in the balance, Chicago’s preservation community has mobilized to push for updated policies and protocols governing historic preservation. This two-part program examines the future of preservation in Chicago with panel discussions and breakout sessions.

James R. Thompson Center

How the Great Fire Changed Chicago
Thursday, October 7 at 10am

The blaze that tore through Chicago in October 1871 is often credited with rewriting our city’s history. In this special 90-minute virtual event, a broad panel of historians will answer your questions about the true impact of the Great Chicago Fire and the popular myths that continue to drive the city’s sense of self.

How the Great Fire Changed Chicago


NEH Teacher Workshop


72 teachers from across the nation joined the CAC July 12-16 and 26-30 to explore how the skyscraper, more than any other building type, gives the American city its distinctive visual character. During this week-long virtual workshop, funded through a competitive grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, participants investigated the skyscraper as a physical and cultural construct. By examining tall buildings in Chicago, which is home to some of the world’s earliest skyscrapers, teachers learned how to use tall buildings as primary-source teaching tools. The teachers represented serve a combined 10,000-plus students in 23 states.

Learn more about how the CAC serves teachers and educators.


What's New tour

TOUR: What's New

From CAC Docent Mary Hoag

When the CAC moved to its home at Michigan and Wacker a few years ago, we all found ourselves in a new neighborhood. We were surrounded by some exciting skyscrapers and buildings that were recent additions to the skyline, and we quickly started to explore all that we saw. This curiosity about the area led us to offer a tour we call What’s New. Come walk with us as we visit new buildings just across the river from our Center, designed by a selection of architects you may or may not already know. Hear about contemporary ideas and uses of building materials like glass, concrete and steel, and consider the philosophies of contemporary design from architects designing buildings today. Let’s explore our neighborhood!

Premier Tour: Helmut Jahn: Architecture in Real Life

This premier walking tour is the perfect complement to Helmut Jahn: Life + Architecture, the new exhibit on view now at the CAC. Explore the late architect's style and influences in downtown Chicago, with visits to five of his most iconic buildings. Departures are available Mondays and Fridays now through October.

James R. Thompson Center


OHC volunteers

Volunteer at Open House Chicago!

Open House Chicago is taking place this October, with a weekend of in-person site visits, as well as self-guided trails of building exteriors on the festival’s app and a suite of virtual programs throughout the month. We’re asking for your help to keep things running when we invite the public into some of the city’s most elaborate, breathtaking and intriguing building interiors October 16-17! Sign up today to be an OHC Volunteer Greeter, where you’ll welcome visitors to one of our sites across the city. Volunteers typically work one 4-hour shift on either October 16 or 17. As a sign of our appreciation, you’ll receive exciting OHC perks, including a priority access pass to skip the line when you’re not working.


Updated Mask Policy

Effective Friday, August 20, the Chicago Department of Public Health requires that everyone 2+ wear masks in public indoor settings, regardless of vaccination status. This includes in our Center, anytime a walking tour goes indoors, and in the enclosed salon area onboard the vessels of Chicago’s First Lady Cruises.

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