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History Moves: UIC Gets Grant for Museum on Wheels

 Preliminary sketch of the History Moves mobile museum project.
Preliminary sketch of the History Moves mobile museum project.
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Julie Flohr

NEAR WEST SIDE — The Field Museum may have met its mobile match.

The University of Illinois at Chicago recently received a $20,000 grant to create a public history museum on wheels.

The History Moves project would involve collaboration between UIC faculty and neighborhood community organizations to discover what history is most important to those groups.

“It’s really about thinking about how history can help community organizations do the work they’ve already been doing,” said UIC associate professor Jennifer Brier, who’s heading the project.

Ultimately, the museum on wheels would travel into neighborhoods around the city, parking at libraries, school lots, street fests and wherever else a public thirsting for knowledge might hang. 

While the mobile museum’s timeline is potentially another three years out, Brier said starting a conversation about why history matters to non-historians is an important part of the project.

She doesn’t think old-school museums like the Field and Science and Industry need to worry just yet.

“And here’s where the puns are impossible. I do hope that it will drive traffic to those places,” Brier said laughing. “I hope that it inspires them.”