The exhibit is a visual introduction to the history of Poles in the city. It features the first settlers and their families, houses, businesses, organizations, parishes and various forms of artistic and cultural endeavors. In addition to archival photographs, artifacts that belonged to the Polish-American pioneers are on display, including: rosaries, Bibles, prayer books, pennants of Polish organized groups, documents, and many more. The exhibit is accompanied by a catalog featuring reproductions of selected photos.
The exhibition focuses primarily on the early history of the Polish community in the district around the intersection of Milwaukee, Ashland, and Division, as most of the material in the collection regards this original Polish Downtown area. The PMA, which is still located here, stands as a reminder that this is the cradle of Polish culture in Chicago and as a reminder of the area’s former homogenous richness.
This project was funded in part by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland.