If you’re looking to get out of the hustle and bustle of downtown Michigan Avenue take a moment and step into the Pritzker Military Library just across the street from Millennium Park and the Art Institute of Chicago. Offering a diverse collection, this library holds something to discover for everyone – from military enthusiasts and history buffs to visitors wanting to casually look at American history artifacts.
The Pritzker Military Library opened it’s doors in 2011 in a new central location at 104 South Michigan Avenue. The building has been painstakingly renovated with upscale materials to have the charm of a century old library while offering the amenities of the newest information technology.
Visitors can now look over Millennium Park as they browse the library’s 30,000 books, periodicals, videos, artwork, posters, and rare military ephemera. In addition to the new theater the library displays a Revolutionary War soldier’s pocket journal, a Medal of Honor, and classic WWI posters.
The library was established in 2003 by Colonel James Pritzker, member of the Pritzker family business and philanthropic empire. The institution is a research library intended to be a non-partisan place for the study of “the citizen soldier as an essential element for the preservation of democracy.” In addition to books, there are also 9,000 photographs and glass negatives from the American Civil War and Spanish-American War through the present day, letters and journals from American soldiers, and a sizable collection related to Winston Churchill.
The library also presents an impressive interview series which has featured Medal of Honor recipients, astronauts, and other military and military-related personnel. These interviews are available anytime as podcasts on their website. The educational efforts of the library have been recognized with several nominations for the Webby Awards, as well as being named one of the ten recipients of the 2009 National Medal for Museum and Library Service–the highest national award given to museums and libraries.
Located at 104 S. Michigan Avenue, the library is free and open to the public–though membership is required to check out materials.
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