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2019 Tour Resources

You may find resources for each tour below. To find information on past tours, please view our History page.

REGISTER FOR KYC 2019 ONLINE NOW!

The Know Your Chicago Symposium is the official beginning to our annual Tour series. For 2019 we are bringing together six expert speakers who address important issues related to this season’s Tours. This year, we will explore architectural reuse of existing legendary structures, the life and influence of philanthropist Julius Rosenwald on the city of Chicago, behind-the-scenes theater visits with actors and professionals, alternative art exhibition spaces in the city, and professional museum exhibition design at top museums.

Whether you are joining us for the Tours or want to attend only the Symposium, we are sure you will find the talks valuable and the speakers engaging.

You must register for the Symposium in order to register for a Tour.

2019 Symposium Speakers

WELCOME

Penny Obenshain, Chair, Know Your Chicago

TOUR 1—REINVENTING LEGENDARY STRUCTURES

Bonnie McDonald, President, Landmarks Illinois

TOUR 2—JULIUS ROSENWALD

Peter Ascoli, Biographer; Past Director of Development, Steppenwolf Theatre Company and Chicago Opera Theater; Adjunct Professor, Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies; Grandson of Julius Rosenwald Stephanie Deutsch, Author; Married to Great-Grandson of Julius Rosenwald

TOUR 3 AND 6—BEHIND THE CURTAIN

Chris Jones, Chief Theater Critic and Sunday Culture Columnist, Chicago Tribune

TOUR 4—MUSEUM EXHIBIT DESIGN FROM CONCEPT TO CREATION

John Russick, Vice President for Interpretation and Education, Chicago History Museum

TOUR 5—ART COLLECTING

Allison Gass, Dana Feitler Director of Smart Museum of Art

Wednesday, September 18 (rain or shine)

◆◆◆ Extensive walking and standing

$95 Includes bus transportation and lunch

Like Sleeping Beauty, a bumper crop of elegant, neglected buildings is waking and being lovingly restored in Chicago’s historic central area. This glamorous redux is enticing twenty-first century workers and visitors, with trendy adaptive reuses attracting millennials and others far beyond the business day. Age and beauty are being retrofitted to write a new chapter in our City’s globally admired architectural story, with pioneering design luminaries such as Burnham, Graham, Anderson, Probst & White, Holabird & Root, and Alschuler. Their masterpieces define the corridors of Michigan Avenue and its bridge on Wacker Drive, a structure inspired by the 1909 Plan of Chicago.

Revived and reinvented, the Beaux-Arts Union Station and Art Deco-WPA Old Post Office bring contemporary vitality and tenant desirability to the commercial and transportation cradle of Chicago's storied history. A contemporary twist includes a variety of retail, dining, and entertainment options and reinvented workplaces. Still under construction, an inventive addition to Willis Tower will be The Catalog (a nod to Sears), creating an exciting gateway to the SkyDeck and superb interior green space and amenities that reinvent this 1973 structure.

Experts at the Chicago Architecture Center's spectacular new home, and a panel discussion in a posh 1920s interior, will focus on the dynamics of adaptive reuse, restoration, and financing. The London House, Wrigley Building, Union Station, Old Post Office, Chicago Athletic Club, Chicago Motor Club, 333 North Michigan, and Kimpton Gray Hotel are handsome examples of these efforts. Some will be visited, others discussed. All contribute to a vibrant future for Chicago's most revered district.

Wednesday, September 24 and Thursday, September 25 (rain or shine)

◆◆ Moderate walking and standing (Significant stairs)

$95 Includes bus transportation and lunch

From hatpins to houses, the lives of millions of Americans were touched by Julius Rosenwald, leader of retail giant Sears, Roebuck and Company. Yet few are aware of the magnitude of his retail genius and fewer still of his monumental generosity. Join us as we uncover the little-known story of one of Chicago’s most influential commercial and civic leaders.

Begin at the roots of Rosenwald's retail revolution where he introduced systemization and mechanical innovations to bring more goods of more varieties to more Americans.

See the first Sears "Tower" and the company’s original campus buildings, now repurposed as a charter school, affordable housing, and offices for an array of not-for- profit organizations.

Visit Rosenwald's synagogue to hear how family, faith, his personal experiences of prejudice, and his relationships with Rabbi Emil Hirsch, Jane Addams, and Booker T. Washington informed and influenced his approach to philanthropy.

Explore the newly restored Rosenwald Apartments, affordable housing built for middle-class African Americans who settled in Bronzeville after the Great Migration. This Art Deco gem was once home to Nat King Cole, Gwendolyn Brooks, Joe Louis, and others of note.

Discover the impact of Rosenwald's munificence through the erection of more than 5,000 schools throughout the South, the creation of the Museum of Science and Industry, and the establishment of the multifaceted Rosenwald Fund.

Do not miss the opportunity to learn about the legacy of a modest man who left landmarks of his commitment and compassion throughout Chicago and across the nation.

Thursday, October 10 and Friday, October 11 (rain or shine)

◆◆◆ Extensive walking and standing

$95 Includes bus transportation and lunch

Celebrate the Year of Chicago Theater as we venture backstage to explore how the magic is made. Meet the talented designers and craftspeople who turn a playwright's words into reality.

Chicago's theater scene rivals New York's and London's with its diversity and appetite for risk. Our 250+ theaters outproduce their colleagues in New York as storefront companies foster young playwrights and artists. Bold, provocative, and visceral, our theater culture is also remarkably collaborative and generous as artists share talents and resources.

Registrants may register for Tour A or Tour B, or both! Registration for one week is not required for participation in the next week.

Focusing on the stage experience, you will:

Visit Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST)'s three unique theaters and learn how each can be configured to meet the challenges of its dynamic productions. The intimate Thoma, Elizabethan Jentes Courtyard, and groundbreaking Yard showcase CST's original work and international presentations.

Watch a demonstration of "fight choreography" and learn how the onstage action of flying fists, clashing swords, and bar room brawls is meticulously developed.

Step into an actor's shoes and learn how they depend on the kindness of the casting director, the advocacy of their agent, the backing of Actors Equity, and often a second or third job to make a living from this craft.

Discover the engineering wizardry of Chicago Flyhouse, whose Ziplift and complex rigging innovations enable Peter Pan to fly, dancers to soar, and the directors’ dreams to come true.

Gain a "close-up" look at the wigs and costumes created for Elizabethan noblemen, Restoration wenches, and Sondheim showgirls by the theater’s skilled seamstresses and wigmakers.

Tuesday, October 15 and Wednesday, October 16 (rain or shine)

◆◆◆ Extensive walking and standing

$95 Includes bus transportation and lunch

Museums offer guests exciting and engaging experiences, including opportunities to see rare objects, experience new things, and explore meaning and knowledge. Experts in development, design, science, and history bring compelling stories to life in appealing, informative ways.

Get a behind-the-scenes look at how museum exhibits come together at the three jewels on Chicago's Museum Campus. Learn about the five pillars of a museum exhibit: content, design, graphics, media, and fabrication.

The Adler Planetarium connects people to the universe and each other under the sky we all share. Learn how a multidisciplinary team produced a stunning new dome show. Tour a new major exhibition as you journey through our vast universe at America’s first planetarium.

The Field Museum of Natural History fuels a journey of discovery across time to enable solutions for a brighter future rich in nature and culture. In addition to its design department, the Field has its own exhibit construction mount, replication, design, wood, and interactive shops. We will enjoy an exclusive peek at their work. You will also hear the amazing story of Sue the T. Rex and her recent move to a simulation of the environment she lived in 67 million years ago, thanks to remarkable creative technology.

The Shedd Aquarium recently redefined its mission as, "Sparking compassion, curiosity, and conservation for the aquatic animal world." The Shedd's Underwater Beauty exhibition highlights colors, patterns, and rhythms underwater. Learn how all the interactive features were developed in-house and why the Shedd is honored for accessibility to people with physical challenges.

Tuesday, October 22 and Wednesday, October 23 (rain or shine)

◆◆ Moderate walking and standing

$95 Includes bus transportation and lunch

The Art Institute, MCA, Smart Museum, LUMA, and Driehaus: Chicago is home to many famous collections. But our city also hosts a number of little-known jewels when it comes to art collections. Representing very personal views and approaches, they are housed in reimagined and repurposed spaces often hidden in plain sight. This Tour provides the opportunity to explore unique art venues and immerse yourself in extraordinary collections, including those never open to the public.

Go behind the historic facade of a former apartment building to see its amazing transformation by one of Japan’s most lauded modernist architects into an exciting, new gallery presenting distinctive exhibitions of art and the built environment.

Visit a former industrial site that now houses an innovative art center featuring special collections, exhibitions, and artists’ workspaces. Conceived by internationally renowned artists for artists and collectors, this matchless setting will open your eyes to some of the most exciting activity on Chicago's art scene.

Enjoy exclusive access to the personally assembled works of individuals considered among Chicago's foremost art collectors. In what might well be the chance of a lifetime, experience the rare opportunity to view private collections seldom, if ever, displayed outside their owners' homes.

Monday, October 28 and Tuesday, October 29 (rain or shine)

◆◆◆ Extensive walking and standing

$95 Includes bus transportation and lunch

Celebrate the Year of Chicago Theater as we venture backstage to explore how the magic is made. Meet the talented designers and craftspeople who turn a playwright's words into reality.

Chicago's theater scene rivals New York's and London's with its diversity and appetite for risk. Our 250+ theaters outproduce their colleagues in New York as storefront companies foster young playwrights and artists. Bold, provocative, and visceral, our theater culture is also remarkably collaborative and generous as artists share talents and resources.

Registrants may register for Tour A or Tour B, or both! Registration for one week is not required for participation in the next week.

Focusing on design and production processes that set the mood as the curtain rises, you will:

Experience Steppenwolf Theatre's legendary scene shop and hear "creation stories" from their craftspeople. See their collection of period furniture and household items, including the Joad family's jalopy from The Grapes of Wrath.

Explore the Goodman Theatre's artistic process as a production manager and design team describe the collaboration, inspiration, and exasperation of creating a director’s vision onstage.

Learn the language of theater design as a noted theater architect guides us through a storefront space, highlighting the "vomitory," "gridiron," and "hot spot."

Delight in the magic of puppets with International Puppet Theater Festival founder Blair Thomas. Discover how he creates unique artistic experiences incorporating musical, literary, and puppetry traditions.

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