The Burnham Plan Centennial - Bold Plans, Big Dreams

Program Partners


The Art Institute of Chicago, founded in 1879 as both a museum and school, first stood on the southwest corner of State and Monroe Streets. It opened on its present site at Michigan Avenue and Adams Street in 1893. Built on rubble from the 1871 Chicago fire, the museum housed a collection of plaster casts and had a visionary purpose: to acquire and exhibit art of all kinds and to conduct programs of education. The collection now encompasses more than 5,000 years of human expression from cultures around the world, and the school's graduate program is continually ranked as one of the best in the country.

The Art Institute's Ryerson and Burnham Libraries will serve as the repository for the Burnham Plan Centennial archives.

Partner Category: Cultural Institution or Organization

Centennial Activities

Without bounds or limits: An online exhibition of The Plan of Chicago

Art Institute of Chicago

One of the most striking- and uniquely American- aspects of the Plan was its idealistic belief in Chicago as a city without limits. The planners believed their city could become the most beautiful and prosperous in the world, and they inspired its citizens to undertake the challenge. [MORE]

Friday, June 19, 2009 2:00pm to 3:30pm

The Burnham Pavilions Symposium

Art Institute of Chicago

The public is invited to join Burnham Pavilion architects and other key players for a panel discussion about these two iconic centerpieces of the Burnham Plan Centennial. Daniel Burnham looked to leading European cities such as Paris and Vienna for inspiration when creating his 1909 plan. [MORE]

Exhibit : Sunday, September 14, 2008 to Monday, January 18, 2010

Daniel Burnham's Plan of Chicago

Art Institute of Chicago

Don't miss the last of five insightful rotations of rarely displayed prized illustrations created for the Plan of Chicago. This final exhibit showcase  images from Chapter VII of the Plan: Heart of the City which feature the proposed Civic Center at Halsted and Congress Streets. This year-long exhibit has been curated by the Department of Architecture and Design.

A noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone will be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency.” [MORE]

Exhibit : Wednesday, July 29, 2009 to Monday, September 28, 2009

Good Order and Consequent Beauty: Planning the Future of Chicago

Art Institute of Chicago

On July 4, 1909 the visionary planning document Plan of Chicago was publicly released by the Commercial Club and its authors Daniel H. Burnham and Edward H. Bennett. As the repository of both the Burnham and Bennett archival collections, the Libraries will celebrate the Plan's centennial by exhibiting letters, diaries, committee minutes, reports and photographs documenting the evolution of the planning concepts, the gathering of data for the plan, and the process of publishing the book. [MORE]

Thursday, March 12, 2009 6:00pm to 7:30pm

Finding Burnham in the Archives: Swedenborgian Revelations and the Plan of Chicago

Swedenborg Library

Daniel H. Burnham's views on architecture and his ideas for the city are more fully revealed in his notes, letters and drafts than in the published Plan of Chicago. These materials enrich our understanding not only of the public architect and planner, but also disclose the Swedenborgian religious beliefs and moral values of the private man. Co hosted by the Art Institute of Chicago and The Swedenborg Library, The program will be presented by Kristen Schaffer, PhD. Professor, North Carolina State University and author of Daniel H. Burnham, Visionary, Architect and Planner. [MORE]

Exhibit : Saturday, December 19, 2009 to Sunday, February 28, 2010

C.D. Arnold Photographs of the World's Columbian Exposition

Art Institute of Chicago

The first exhibition in the Art Institute's "Chicago Cabinet" series features highlights from the Ryerson Library’s archive of large platinum prints made by C. D. Arnold, the official photographer of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. The Chicago World’s Fair, as it is also known, attracted some 27 million people, or nearly half the population of the United States, to the city during its six-month run. [MORE]

Exhibit : Wednesday, September 30, 2009 to Monday, November 30, 2009

Chicago Looks Ahead: 100 Years of Planning, 1909-2009

Art Institute of Chicago

As a repository rich in collections documenting the last 100 years of Chicago planning, the Ryerson and Burnham Libraries feature a a selection of papers, photographs, maps and books related to the 1909 Plan of Chicago. [MORE]

Daniel H. Burnham Photograph Albums

Art Institute of Chicago

Three family photograph albums have been added to the Art Institute's Ryerson & Burnham Libraries. In April 2008, Daniel H. Burnham family heirs gathered in the Libraries' Reading Room to donate some business papers and three photograph albums—important and fascinating additions to the Burnham archives that offer rare images of the private Burnham, with his wife, his children and his friends. The family also loaned two silver loving cups that had been given to Burnham; the loving cups are currently on display in the Franke Reading Room. [MORE]

Saturday, April 4, 2009 11:00am to 3:00pm
Sunday, April 5, 2009 11:00am to 3:00pm
Saturday, April 11, 2009 11:00am to 3:00pm
Saturday, April 18, 2009 11:00am to 3:00pm
Sunday, April 19, 2009 11:00am to 3:00pm

My Kind of Town (The Artist's Studio)

Art Institute of Chicago

Visit the exhibition Daniel Burnham's Plan of Chicago to see drawings for the design of Chicago from more than 100 years ago, then create your own beautiful city in a drawing. This is a drop-in workshop that meets every Saturday and Sunday (except April 12) from 11:00 a.m. -3:00 p.m. [MORE]

Friday, March 27, 2009 8:30am to 2:30pm

Professional Development Workshop for CPS Teachers

Burnham Plan Centennial Committee

The Burnham Plan Centennial in collaboration with the DePaul Center for Urban Education and the Chicago Public Schools Office of Literacy, Instruction and Assessment invites third- and eighth-grade and special education teachers to participate in a special day-long workshop that will help teachers to make the city itself a vital part of the curriculum. [MORE]

Art Institute of Chicago


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