Free Events In Chicago Architecture and History

We find our top three special free events in Chicago architecture and history each week to share with you. This week we bring you three free events which include an interactive exploration into the history of Streeterville, a lunchtime lecture on the adaptation of public libraries, and an afternoon of much needed de-stressing.


Streeterville pocket guide to hell free special event chicago architecture history
Photo Credit: Karen Reimer



1. MCA Live: Pocket Guide to Hell– Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago Ave.

TALK, TOUR, REENACTMENT – Tuesday, March 18th, 6:00pm-8:00pm


Paul Durica’s program of talks, tours and reenactments of his Pocket Guide to Hell attract Chicagoans who want to learn more about Chicago labor history, social justice, or true crime. Guests at Pocket Guide to Hell’s special events are encouraged to speak up and either challenge the stories told or tell their own stories. Paul and his entourage use props, costumes, music, poetry, and jokes for the whole experience. This week at the MCA, this talk/tour/reenactment explores the history of the Chicago neighborhood of Streeterville.


2. Trends & Narratives in Public Library Design – Chicago Architecture Foundation, 224 S. Michigan Ave., Lecture Hall

TALK – Wednesday, March 19th, 12:15pm-1:00pm


Despite rapidly changing cultural, educational and technological trends, libraries have managed to stay relevant in today’s society, but rarely get credit for doing so. This week’s Lunch Talk @CAF features Chicago architect Don McKay, President and Principle at Nagle Hartray Architecture. He will discuss his architecture firm’s work on public libraries, specifically the Fountaindale Public Library in nearby Bolingbrook. McKay will further evaluate how their architectural design solutions address new trends in library services and the library’s role as a community center.


3. MCA Live: Stress/De-Stress – Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago Ave.

FILM SCREENING – Sunday, March 23rd, 3:00pm-4:30pm


In collaboration with Chicago Film Archives and Nightingale Cinema, the MCA presents Stress / De-Stress, a night of “expanded cinema and guided meditation.” Amateur and industrial films come alive through a three-projector performance set to a live reading by Chicago-based writers Mairead Case and Ed Crouse, and the music of Joshua Dumas. Unlikely pairings of images from unexpected Chicago places create a relaxing environment to sit back and be guided by the words of Case and Crouse. I’m sure we could all use an evening of de-stressing.

– Amanda Scotese


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Private Tour Coordinator and Tour Guide

There is no shortage of things to discover in Chicago—I love being an urban explorer and uncovering its hidden places. I have an MA in Public History from Loyola University Chicago, and I have worked as a museum educator and kindergarten teacher. My desire to learn new things fuels my passion for educating others, which I get to experience every day as a Chicago tour guide. I live in the northern neighborhood of Rogers Park.

“Our guide Ellen was exceptional and gifted with a great personal touch.”


Tour Guide

Whether you are a first-time visitor or a lifelong resident, the vibrant history and modern majesty of Chicago never ceases to amaze. I’m a graduate of Columbia College with an M.A. in Interdisciplinary Art. I’ve worked for many years as an educator at City Colleges of Chicago. As tour guide at Chicago Detours, I integrate my enthusiasm for culture and architecture with my passion as an educator. West Town/Noble Square area is home for me.

“Jen was a perfect storyteller and kept us spellbound for hours.”


Tour Guide

With our Chicago neighborhoods, vibrant cultural institutions and nearly two centuries of larger-than-life stories, there’s never a dull moment here! I’m a fifth generation Chicagoan and a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis. In addition to guiding tours, I’m a creative writer and amateur genealogist. I also enjoy the city’s dynamic theater scene. You can also read overlooked stories from 19th-century newspapers on my “Second Glance History” blog. I live in River North.


Tour Guide

Chicago is unique as it always evolves into the future while holding on to the past. I’m fascinated by how people latch on to old architecture but happily pave over others. My background is in theater and performance and I’ve been a tour guide here for more than 10 years. Currently I’m finishing my Master’s in Public History at Loyola University because I love to teach the history of this scrappy city. I’m in the Edgewater neighborhood.


Operations Coordinator and Tour Guide

Chicago’s history is so fascinating, you could spend a lifetime uncovering its secrets…I’m willing to give it a try! I have an M.A. in US History from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas and then pursued doctoral studies in Urban History at the University of Illinois at Chicago. I love to learn new aspects of Chicago’s rich history and then share my knowledge as a tour guide with Chicago Detours. I live in Ravenswood.

“Marie was a bubbling fountain of information and contagious enthusiasm.”


Operations Coordinator and Tour Guide

As a fourth generation Chicagoan, I have been living and loving Chicago by bike, on foot, public transit or automobile. I am a graduate of UIC where through the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs, began my eagerness to understand the nature, history and impacts of urban planning and development. It is incredibly rewarding to give back to this wonderful city by helping out in the office of Chicago Detours. I live in the incredibly diverse neighborhood of Albany Park.
“Sonny was extremely knowledgeable about all things Chi-town.”
Wade K


Content Manager and Tour Guide

Chicago has so many neighborhoods, buildings, and by-ways that it’s hard to go long without seeing something new, or something familiar from a new angle. I studied Cinema History for my M.A. from the University of Chicago. I’ve worked as a culture writer for various publications and as an educator of the humanities at the City Colleges of Chicago. I’m thrilled to share my love of this city’s busy past and unique architectural spaces with Chicago Detours. I live in the Chicago neighborhood of Lincoln Park.

“Alex was fascinating to listen to. He clearly knows his history and it shows.”
Katie K

Amanda Scotese

Executive Director and Tour Guide

I’m an interpreter of personal stories from the past and the city’s landscape. I love to imagine what originally happened inside old unmarked buildings, and what forces have shaped their design. I studied Chicago history, architectural history, and anything Chicago-related through my M.A. in the Humanities at the University of Chicago. My love for stories was enriched by my B.A. in Literature from the University of Michigan. I’ve written travel articles for publications like Rick Steves’ Italy best-selling travel guides, the San Francisco Bay Guardian, and The Chicago Food Encyclopedia. I live in the Chicago neighborhood of West Avondale.
“You can TELL Amanda is hyper-passionate about doing the research and getting the story that nobody’s heard before.”
Shelby F

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