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Access Chicago

Chicago Fellows faculty to give talks at Chicago History Museum

During September and October, three Chicago Fellows faculty reveal how Chicago’s past architectural stories are being shared through the medium of today’s technology.

Each talk delves into a range of topics: Ben Zeller, associate professor of religion, will speak on 360° photography of sacred spaces, Siobhan Moroney, associate professor of politics, will examine family home design after World War II, and Rebecca Graff, assistant professor of anthropology, will reveal results from her urban archaeological dig at the Charnley-Persky House. 

The talks will be presented at and in partnership with the Chicago History Museum, and are official Partner Programs for the Chicago Architecture Biennial.

Ben Zeller, associate professor of religion, begins the series Tuesday, September 26,  with a look at his virtual tours of some of the Chicago region’s important sacred spaces. These immersive digital experiences explore the history, architecture, spiritual background, and liturgical uses of the houses of worship.

Siobhan Moroney, associate professor of politics, turns her focus to the domestic environment, in a talk on Tuesday, October 3, at 6 p.m. In 1945, the Chicago Tribune held a design competition for modest family homes. Most of the nearly 1,000 submissions are lost, but a few designs were published, and a small number were built. Moroney’s talk offers insight into what Americans expected in their postwar homes, while the changes in the built homes indicate how American housing preferences have evolved 

Closing out the series on Thursday, October 26, Rebecca Graff, assistant professor of anthropology, and Pauline Saliga, executive director of the Society of Architectural Historians (SAH), will discuss Graff’s archaeological finds at the Charnley-Persky House, where the SAH has its headquarters. This 1891-1892 Louis Sullivan/Frank Lloyd Wright structure, and what lies beneath its surface, reveals the intricacies of life in Gilded Age Chicago.

All events take place at the Chicago History Museum and begin with a reception (including cash bar) at 6 p.m., followed at 6:30 p.m. by a lecture and Q&A. Interested students, faculty, and staff should contact Emily Mace, Chicago Digital Humanities Coordinator, for a limited number of free passes to each event. Otherwise, the talks cost $15 for members of the public; $8 for Chicago History Museum members. Tickets may be purchased via the Chicago History Museum’s events calendar, and any RSVPs to the College would be much appreciated as well. 

Lake Forest College participates in the Museum’s University/College Membership Program, through which students and faculty receive free admission to the museum, as well as member discounts at the café, museum store, and for events. To use this benefit, simply show your college ID at the entrance desk. The Museum is open until 7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays; combine attending Zeller’s or Moroney’s talks with a visit to the Museum!

All three faculty developed their projects as Chicago Fellows (or in Graff’s case, as the Chicago Archaeological Fellow) for Digital Chicago: Unearthing History and Culture, Lake Forest College’s $800,000 four-year (2015-2018) grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. We are excited that they have the opportunity to share their research in this broad public forum, and hope the campus and wider community will be able to attend.