The Burnham Plan Centennial - Bold Plans, Big Dreams

About the Centennial


Burnham 100 Bulletin
Bold Plans Big Dreams
August 24, 2009
On September 4, 1846, Daniel H. Burnham was born in Henderson, New York. This year we celebrate one of his most lasting legacies - the 1909 Plan of Chicago. Join us in honoring Burnham as we continue the tradition of making Bold Plans and Big Dreams for our region's future—building the best quality of life for all.
Public Premiere
Make No Little Plans:
Daniel Burnham and the American City

September 2, 7:30-9:00 pm
The Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park

 Learn more about the fascinating career and complex legacy of architect and city planner Daniel H. Burnham in a new documentary film produced by the Archimedia Workshop. The film explores how Burnham's vision shaped our nation's towns and cities for generations and still sparks debate about how and for whom cities are planned. [MORE]

Burnham Book Fair
September 2, 5:30 - 7:30 pm
DePaul University
Barnes & Noble DePaul Center
1 E. Jackson

 This "meet the author" book fair features several newly released books about the Burnham Plan, its legacy and related topics. Gather with the DePaul community for this special event and, after the fair, head to the premiere of the Make No Little Plans film. [MORE]

Talks with the Team
September 2, 5:30 - 6:30 pm
Burnham Pavilions
Millennium Park, South Chase Promenade

 Join Burnham Plan Centennial Executive Director Emily Harris, Department of Cultural Affairs Director of Cultural Planning Julie Burros and Art Institute Of Chicago John H. Bryan Curatorial Chair of Architecture and Design Joseph Rosa for an informal behind-the-scenes tour and to hear stories about the pavilions from construction to completion. [MORE]

Big. Bold. Visionary. Chicago Considers the Next Century
September 4, 6:00 - 8:00 pm
City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs
72 E. Randolph Street Gallery

 Opening reception for the Big. Bold. Visionary. exhibit on display through October 4. Curated by Edward Keegan, the exhibit showcases more than three dozen Chicago architects, planners and landscape architects who present their visions of the city and the region in the 21st century and beyond. [MORE]

Inspiring Dreams: Promoting the Burnham Plan
August 3, 2009 - February 2010
Chicago Public Library
Harold Washington Library Center
400 S. State Street

 This exhibit explores the ingenious strategies to "sell" the Plan to the public, from church sermons to department store window displays, magic lantern slide shows to the creation of 8th grade civic textbook of the plan. [MORE]

5th Graders' Plan for Chicago
August 19 - November 15
Loyola University Museum of Art
820 N. Michigan Avenue

 The 5th graders from 76 Big Shoulders Fund schools have completed a plan depicting their vision for Chicago, and it is now on display at LUMA. The kids spent a year learning about, and planning for, a neighborhood other than their own. [MORE]

AIA Chicago Foundation: Burnham Memorial Competition Exhibit
August 21 - November 1
The Field Museum
1400 S. Lake Shore Drive

 This exhibit features David Woodhouse Architects' winning design and three-dimensional scale model along with 18 other design concepts submitted for a proposed Burnham Memorial at a site on the Museum Campus just north of the Field Museum. [MORE]


The Make Big Plans exhibit, curated by the Newberry Library, is on display at more than 60 libraries throughout our three-state region. Stop in and enjoy exhibit and the many public programs around it.

Building Your Place in Riverside
August 24 - September 14
Riverside Public Library
1 Burling Road, Riverside

 The Riverside Public Library has created a giant scale map of the village and invites the community to build replicas of their homes, workplaces or favorite city buildings that bring Olmsted's Plan of Riverside to life today. [MORE]

Make Big Plans: Burnham Centennial Bus Tour
August 24, 8:45 am - 4:00 pm
Lansing Public Library
Tour departs from the library

 Spend the day with the Lansing Public Library and the City of Chicago exploring the history of the Plan of Chicago and experiencing how it influenced special parts of the city we know and love. [MORE]

Our Future Metropolis: Mr. D.H. Burnham Presents a Plain Talk for the Development of Chicago
September 14, 6:00 - 7:00 pm
Chicago Public Library
Harold Washington Library Center
400 S. State Street

 Adapted and directed by Lookingglass Ensemble Member John Musial, this encore production draws from the archives of the Burnham and Ryerson Library at the Art Institute of Chicago to recreate Burnham's initial presentation of the Plan to the public. [MORE]

Stay Connected!

To keep up to date and connect with us and others who share our vision, check our website often. You can also sign up for e-news and e-postcards by clicking here.

Other ways to get involved:

  • Become friends with Daniel H. Burnham on Facebook
  • Follow Burnham100 on Twitter

Join in on the Centennial conversation and help stir our diverse community to action on a grand scale—building the best possible quality of life for all.

Click on the following links for a complete list of Centennial programs by category:


The Burnham Blog
Urban planning touches every part of our lives, so join the conversation with Patrick T. Reardon on The Burnham Blog.

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