2016 Season Calendar
May
23
Nov 5

2016 Season Calendar

Friends of the Chicago River's McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum had a remarkable season last year raising awareness of the Chicago River and Friends' mission. We are so excited for this upcoming season, which marks our 10th anniversary. With great programming for children and adults inside our historic bridgetower and on our riverwalk plaza, we strive to continue to introduce the river to more people. Join us this season. Official hashtag | #towerturns10

 

Chicago Museum Week
Oct
13
Oct 23

Chicago Museum Week

Chicago Museum Week returns for its second year Oct. 13 – 23 with discounted admission, exclusive offers and special programs. During the 11-day celebration, Illinois residents will receive 10 – 25 percent off admission at participating institutions.

Museum Week is a celebration of Chicago’s museums and cultural destinations that connect us with art, culture, history, science, animals and nature. It’s a chance to discover a new museum in Chicago, or rediscover a favorite one.

Special offers and activities include discounts on general admission and memberships, fall festivals, artist lectures, extended hours, free tours, new exhibits, educational programs and giveaways. Details are available at chicagomuseumweek.com.

Use the hashtag #ChicagoMuseumWeek to follow the celebration and to share your own Museum adventures. Tag the Bridgehouse Museum with #BHM, #TowerTurns10, and #BridgehouseMuseum!

Participating museums this year include:

    The Adler Planetarium
•    The Art Institute of Chicago
•    Chicago History Museum
•    DuSable Museum of African American History
•    The Field Museum
•    Lincoln Park Zoo
•    Museum of Contemporary Art
•    Museum of Science and Industry
•    National Museum of Mexican Art
•    National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture
•    The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
•    Shedd Aquarium

New for 2016:

   Bronzeville Children’s Museum
•    Chicago Children’s Museum
•    Chicago Design Museum
•    DePaul Art Museum
•    Glessner House Museum
•    Haitian American Museum of Chicago
•    Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art
•    Loyola University Museum of Art
•    McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum
•    Museum of Broadcast Communications
•    National Hellenic Museum
•    National Veterans Art Museum
•    Oriental Institute Museum
•    Smart Museum of Art

•    Swedish American Museum

Look for special daily themed photo challenges during #ChicagoMuseumWeek! Follow @ChicagoMuseumWeek and @bridgehousemuseum on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram!

 

Open House Chicago
Oct
15
Oct 16

Open House Chicago

The McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum will offer free admission during Open House Chicago on Saturday, October 15th and Sunday, October 16th, 2016.

The Chicago Architecture Foundation's annual festival is free and open to the public, offering behind the scenes access to 200 buildings across Chicago. See all the sites included in this year's festival here.

The museum will have extended hours for #OHC2016, from 9am-5pm both Friday and Saturday, with free admission both days. There will be a bridge lift on Saturday October 15th, so come early and grab your spot for this one of a kind viewing of the DuSable (Michigan Avenue) Bridge in action from our gear room.

 

 

 

 

 

 


77 Beats
Sep
22
5:30 pm17:30

77 Beats

The Old Town School of Folk Music is creating a musical travelogue entitled “77 Beats,” designed to celebrate all 77 of Chicago’s ethnically-diverse neighborhoods. In consultation with community leaders, “77 Beats” will present a series of performances representing the music and culture of each neighborhood, paired with other cultural elements such as cuisine, visual arts and traditions in unique and unexpected locations, throughout spring, summer and fall 2016. 

Our McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum is excited to partner with Old Town and participate in #77Beats.  Listen to the tunes of Harmonica Hinds on the‪ #‎ChiRiverwalk‬ on a gorgeous summer evening. This is a BYOB event and food can be purchased on site from O'Briens Riverwalk Cafe.

Tickets are $5/adult; $4/child

5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Buy tickets here.

McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum 10th Anniversary Party!
Sep
16
12:00 pm12:00

McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum 10th Anniversary Party!

Join us on Friday, September 16, 2016 at 12pm to celebrate our 10th Anniversary! There will be cake and cupcakes courtesy of Swedish Bakery, free museum admission, and fun activities for the whole family! 

This event is free and open to the public. The festivities will take place on our plaza at 99 E. Chicago Riverwalk. For inquires, please contact the museum manager, Holly Prindle, at hprindle@chicagoriver.org or 312/939-0490, ext. 12.

 

Asian Carp Grill
Aug
24
5:30 pm17:30

Asian Carp Grill

If you can’t beat it, eat it. Learn about this notorious invasive species and taste some too, thanks to Dirk’s Fish. Fun and informative, this is your chance to taste Asian Carp and ask your burning questions about it. 

Get more details and purchase tickets to the Asian Carp Grill here!

 

Friends' Summer Speaker Series
Jul
11
Aug 29

Friends' Summer Speaker Series

Friends of the Chicago River's free speaker series is back this summer, and we have an incredible line up of experts who will discuss the current issues and progress on the Chicago River.

This series is in partnership with the City of Chicago and provides fun programming on the Chicago Riverwalk that can be enjoyed while actually sitting along the river. Bring your lunch and colleagues, friends, classmates, or children. Come learn about our remarkable river. 

Starting July 11, talks take place every Monday, 12:15 -12:45 p.m., in front of Friends' Bridgehouse Museum on the Chicago Riverwalk, 99 East Riverwalk - it is free and open to the public.


Here's our line up:

  • The Chicago River's Economic Engine by Ernest C. Wong, site design group, ltd. (July 11)
  • Engineering Nature in the Chicago River by Greg Osborne, Epstein (July 18)
  • The Latest on the Riverwalk by Gina Ford, Sasaki Associates (July 25)
  • The Importance of the Michigan Avenue Bridge by Pat McBriarty, PTM Werks (August 1)
  • Turning Toward the River: Decades of Water Quality Improvements and Impacts on the Fish Community in Chicago Waterways by Jennifer Wasik, MWRD (August 8)
  • Invasive Species - Asian Carp by Dr. Philip Willink, The Shedd Aquarium (August 15)
  • Incorporating Native Plants into Urban Gardens by Kris Sorich, Chicago Department of Transportation (August 22)
  • Swimming in the Chicago River by John Quail, Friends of the Chicago River (August 29)

Check out our website  for speakers and more details. 

In the event of rain follow @bridgehousemuse on twitter for updates or call (312) 977-0227.

77 Beats - Music on the Riverwalk
Jul
7
4:00 pm16:00

77 Beats - Music on the Riverwalk

The Old Town School of Folk Music is creating a musical travelogue entitled “77 Beats,” designed to celebrate all 77 of Chicago’s ethnically-diverse neighborhoods. In consultation with community leaders, “77 Beats” will present a series of performances representing the music and culture of each neighborhood, paired with other cultural elements such as cuisine, visual arts and traditions in unique and unexpected locations, throughout spring, summer and fall 2016. 

The McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum is excited to partner with Old Town and participate in #77Beats.  Listen to the tunes of Harmonica Hinds on the ‪#‎ChiRiverwalk‬
Listen to blues on the Riverwalk on a gorgeous summer evening
Buy pulled pork sandwiches from Tiny Hatt 

 

Tickets are $5/adult; $4/child

5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Buy tickets here

 

The Chicago River: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow Summer Cruise
Jun
22
6:00 pm18:00

The Chicago River: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow Summer Cruise

Mark your calendar for the Friends of the Chicago River's Summer Cruise on Wednesday, June 22, 2016 from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m.  This year, in addition to a unique Chicago River itinerary, delectable small bites and open bar, our cruise will feature exciting pop up events celebrating life on and along the river. On the cruise we will be celebrating our 10th anniversary of the Bridgehouse Museum and as such the theme is “The Chicago River: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow”.  Friends' Summer Cruise is generously sponsored by PepsiCo and the Wendella Sightseeing Company and benefits Friends' McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum.

You can buy your tickets here!
Contact Joanne So Young Dill jdill@chicagoriver.org if you are interested in learning more about Cruise sponsorship and the associated benefits including tickets.

Presenting Sponsors:
PepsiCo
Wendella Sightseeing Company

Lead Sponsor:
The PrivateBank

Sponsors:
Clark Construction Group, Gensler, Weaver Consultants Group, Zeller Realty Group

Boosters:
Continental Electrical Construction Company, Seadog Entertainment Cruises, Thornton
Tomasetti

Thanks to:
Inspired Catering and Events, MillerCoors, Il Giardino Del Dolce, Wow Bao, and The Redhead Piano Bar

Please click HERE to download the Summer Cruise Sponsorship materials.

 

 

Drawbridges Open and Close - Author Read Aloud and Visit
Jun
9
3:30 pm15:30

Drawbridges Open and Close - Author Read Aloud and Visit

Leading up to the Chicago Tribune Printers Row Lit Fest the McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum is having a special children's author read aloud and visit. 

On Thursday, June 9 at 3:30 and again at 4:30 pm, bridge historian and children's author Patrick McBriarty will be at the McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum to read his picture book Drawbridges Open and Close. 

Attendees will then go into the museum gear room to see and learn how a Chicago drawbridge works. Talk about hands-on learning and a great introduction to STEM/STEAM topics! This is an exciting way for kids to visit this one of a kind bridgehouse museum and introduce kids to how things work. The event is recommended for 3 - 10 year olds, but open to kids of all ages. 

Weather permitting the reading will occur on the Riverwalk on the west side of the Michigan Avenue Bridge in front of the museum. Otherwise we will be on the ground floor of the museum in the SW tower of the Michigan Avenue Bridge.

Get Tickets here:

Copies of the book will be available for sale and signing at the museum gift shop.

For  more information, contact Joanne So Young Dill at jdill@chicagoriver.org.

 

Hiring for a Museum Manager
Jun
3
Jun 21

Hiring for a Museum Manager

The interim museum manager will be responsible for carrying out the season’s calendar of events and programming and have the unique opportunity to develop and implement a growth-oriented, dynamic annual operations and marketing plan, capitalizing on the Bridgehouse Museum’s incredible Michigan Avenue location, position on the Chicago Riverwalk, historic and environmental connection, and success to date.

Currently open six months a year, the McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum is located inside the landmark southwest tower of the Michigan Avenue Bridge (officially DuSable Bridge), at the historic site of Fort Dearborn.  The museum manager works predominantly on site during the season and has an office space as well at Friends’ office.  

This is a seasonal temporary post from ~July through November 11th.

Full job description here:

Chicago Loop Bridges Sponsors a Free Day
May
29
10:00 am10:00

Chicago Loop Bridges Sponsors a Free Day

2016 marks milestone anniversaries for three Loop bridges over the South Branch of the Chicago River. Bridges at W Jackson Blvd. and W Lake St. hit the century mark and the youngster of the group at W Van Buren St. marks 60 years.

As a way to celebrate these iconic beauties, Chicago Loop Bridges is sponsoring a free day at the McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum on Sunday May 29th. There will be a special display about these bridges and free souvenir magnets for the first 300 visitors. Jim Phillips of Chicago Loop Bridges will be available to answer questions.

The museum is a great place to learn of the interwoven history of Chicago and its river.  The fact that the museum is located in a bridgehouse is an added bonus because the inner workings of the bridge are revealed.  The museum is located at 99 Chicago Riverwalk in the SW bridgehouse of the
Du Sable Bridge at Michigan Ave.  Hours: 10 AM - 5 PM.

You know you’ve always wanted to look inside a bridgehouse!

For information contact Jim Phillips at 312-540-0696 or via email: admin@chicagoloopbridges.com

Chicago River Day
May
14
10:00 am10:00

Chicago River Day

Chicago River Day 2016

Chicago River Day is Friends of the Chicago River's flagship river clean-up event.  It is on Saturday, May 14, 2016. This annual metro-wide volunteer day spans the river’s 156-mile system. Volunteers will work along the river banks and help to remove tons of litter and sort out recyclables, but can also support construction of river trails, remove invasive vegetation, and plant native plants. With over 60 locations to choose from, we are excited to see you out along the river this spring for Chicago River Day! The Bridgehouse Museum is one of the volunteer sites so sign up!

Registration is now open! Click here to register! For more information, visit our FAQ page or if you're interested in sponsoring this event, please click here

The Moment You've Been Waiting For - Opening Day 2016
May
14
10:00 am10:00

The Moment You've Been Waiting For - Opening Day 2016

This upcoming 2016 season will be our 10th anniversary! After a rather mild winter, we're ready to kick open our doors, let the sun in, and reveal the wonders inside our historic bridgetower.

FREE ADMISSION on May 14th. Open 10:00 a.m. -5 p.m.
Come by around noon and you might even get to see the bridge lift from inside the gear room.

Even better- come opening day Saturday May 14th and grab lunch at Corner Bakery (Michigan & Wacker location only) where 15% of your purchase benefits the museum with proof of flyer

For more information visit:
www.bridgehousemuseum.org
or
contact Joanne So Young Dill at jdill@chicagoriver.org

Go 2016!

Bridgehouse Museum Is Hiring
Mar
22
Apr 8

Bridgehouse Museum Is Hiring

TITLE: Museum Associate
EMPLOYMENT PERIOD: May 14 – October 31, 2016
SUPERVISOR: Museum Director
POSITIONS AVAILABLE: One

 POSITION SUMMARY

Do you love to make people feel welcome? Are you a discoverer and a story teller? Do both nature and the city move your soul?  Then we may have the perfect job for you!

Friends of the Chicago River is looking for an energetic and enthusiastic museum associate who will help thousands of visitors discover the wonders of the Chicago River at our McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum. Uniquely located inside a historic five-story bridge tower on Michigan Avenue, the Bridgehouse Museum celebrates Chicago’s river and world-renowned movable bridges and helps inspire people to participate in the river’s recovery.

As part of a small team, you will welcome museum visitors, sell tickets and memberships, help visitors discover the historic and environmental significance of the Chicago River and its bridges, and lead small groups on educational tours. You will gain experience in guest services, exhibit interpretation, and many inner workings of a small museum.  

This position is seasonal and requires working on weekends. The Bridgehouse Museum is open Thursday through Monday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., between May 14 and October 31, 2016, and occasionally for special events during the evening or on Tuesdays/Wednesdays.

RESPONSIBILITIES
- Staff the front desk at the entrance to the museum and greet visitors as they arrive
- Sell admission tickets, Friends memberships and merchandise
- Help interpret museum exhibits; welcome tour groups; lead walking tours
- Balance transactions at the end of the day
- Track basic visitor information and collect visitor surveys
- Respond to general queries regarding the museum, Friends of the Chicago River, other local attractions, directions, etc
Other miscellaneous duties as needed

QUALIFICATIONS
- High school diploma or equivalent
- Enthusiasm for the environment and Chicago history a plus
- Excellent customer service and communication skills
- Experience in museum, entertainment, or hospitality environment preferred
- Experience in sales and cash transactions
- Proficient in use of computer
- Professional, courteous and friendly demeanor
- Ability to do multiple tasks simultaneously
- Must work weekends and holidays

Training is provided.  Only one full-time position is currently available.  If you are interested in this job please submit a cover letter and your resume to Joanne So Young Dill, Friends of the Chicago River, 411 S. Wells, Chicago, IL 60607 or e-mail to jdill@chicagoriver.org (please write Museum Associate in the subject line).

ABOUT THE ORGANIZATION

Friends of the Chicago River has been working for nearly three decades to transform the Chicago River into a healthy, natural asset that people can enjoy and to which wildlife can return. Friends’ Bridgehouse Museum opened in 2006 to celebrate Chicago’s river and world-famous movable bridges and teach people about their role in the river’s renaissance.  

Holiday Pop-up Shop at the Museum
Dec
15
Dec 17

Holiday Pop-up Shop at the Museum

We are honored to host our first pop-up event.  Daily Planet Productions, a Chicago-based editing and motion graphics studio, has teamed with Streetwise and ten local artists to make hand-screened designer shirts for the homeless of Chicago to sell.  It’s all part of a campaign called Give a Shi*t. All proceeds of every tshirt sold will go to the homeless.

“We’ve been wanting to give back to the community as a company and this seemed like the perfect way to do it,” said Scott Marvel, President of Daily Planet.  “Finding the designers and hand-screening each of the 500 tshirts was the easy part.  Making sure they benefitted the homeless and finding the right location were the parts we needed help with.”

This Wednesday, December 16th, from 10 a.m. - 8 p.m. come on down to the Bridgehouse and buy tshirts, posters, tote bags, and more from local artists. 100% of every sale goes to a StreetWise vendor.

You can also purchase the shirts online at GiveAShirt.net.

Check out the awesome video.

Give the gift that gives back!

Please feel free to share with your friends, family, and colleagues.

 

:

Record-breaking season at the Bridgehouse Museum
Nov
5
Dec 1

Record-breaking season at the Bridgehouse Museum

Friends of the Chicago River's McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum celebrated its 10th season with a brand new Director, new staff, along with the opening of the expanded Chicago Riverwalk.  It was a hugely successful season with a remarkable surge in attendance.  We welcomed over 28,000+ visitors, 1,600 children, and were one of the highest attended sites for Open House Chicago.  

In June, we hosted Friends' 3rd annual Summer Cruise, the museum's annual benefit cruise, with a full boat enjoying the river and gaining insight on the resurging wildlife using the river corridor. The cruise, co-chaired by Marjorie Brownstein and John O'Connell, expanded our donor support network and exceeded our revenue projections by 20%. 

We also produced great, creative programming that introduced many people to the river and the museum, including the "Understanding the Chicago River" lunchtime speaker series (in partnership with the City of Chicago), the Asian carp grill, Spanish-Guided Tours of the entire exhibit, and Requiem in Water.  All of our programs proved that the museum is vital and serves Friends in a unique way. The use of its space is limitless.  As a lively cultural anchor of the Chicago Riverwalk, we are excited to produce more programs for the 2016 season.

 Most important, more people discovered the beauty of the Chicago River through our museum this year with our highest attendance to date . We will continue to reveal the river's importance and magic to tens of thousands of visitors each season.  

Thank you for all of your support.  See you in May of 2016! 

 

Summer Opportunities with Friends!
Oct
20
Nov 3

Summer Opportunities with Friends!

Get outdoors this summer with Friends of the Chicago River. Whether you want to volunteer and help restore riverside habitat, assist in event planning, or simply join us on one of our relaxing paddles down the river, Friends has a way for everyone to get involved!

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES

Friends is excited to partner with REI to provide volunteer opportunities along the Chicago River. Sign-up today to become a Chicago River Eco-Warrior and join the ranks of dedicated people all across the region standing up to protect the Chicago River. 

PADDLING OPPORTUNITIES

Join a canoe trip.  For the more nocturnal folks, we even have a moonlight lagoons paddle.  Sign-up today.

RIVER ACTION DAYS

Are you looking to engage your employees on a whole new level?  Then join Friends of the Chicago River on a River Action Day!

CENTENNIAL VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES

Become a part of a new community of stewards that help to restore critical habitat at five special sites along the Chicago River and Calumet River.  Sign-up today.

 

 

 

Requiem in Water - An Evening at the Museum
Oct
19
7:00 pm19:00

Requiem in Water - An Evening at the Museum

The McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum is hosting Requiem in Water, a music program and BYOB event at the Museum on Monday evening, October 19th, 7p.m.- 8:30p.m. in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Eastland Disaster.  Friends of the Chicago River commissioned the Suburban Piano Quartet for an original music composition to be premiered at the Bridgehouse. 

Part installation, part musical performance, Requiem in Water is meant to be an immersive experience - audience members will be encouraged to explore the historic bridgehouse and discover the piece in their own way.  Performers will be scattered throughout the five stories of the building, creating an encompassing soundscape that promises to be both unique and moving.

Tickets are only $5.  Please purchase here:
and,
as the event is BYOB/P, please bring your own bottle of refreshment and picnic

Driving to Requiem in Water? Reserve discounted parking with SpotHero!

Even better, SpotHero is offering drivers an additional $5 OFF with promo code REQUIEM.

Here's how it works:

1.     Download the SpotHero iPhone|Android app or visit the Bridgehouse Museum SpotHero Parking Page

2.     Enter your desired destination and reserve a nearby spot

3.     Use promo code REQUIEM at checkout for $5 OFF!
 

Call: 312-939-0490, ext. 23 for details
jdill@chicagoriver.org

The Suburban Piano Quartet is an international performance ensemble dedicated to creating multi-media performance situations.  Drawing upon training in classical composition, the quartet creates original performances that incorporate elements of movement, creative writing, improvisation, and installation.  Their work is collaborative, experimental, and community focused. The members of the quartet founded the ensemble in 2013 while attending the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre and Dance. 

Open House Chicago
Oct
17
Oct 18

Open House Chicago

200 COOL PLACES. 
48 HOURS. GO. 
IT'S FREE. 
OCTOBER 17-18, 2015

The Chicago Architecture Foundation’s Open House Chicago is a free public festival that offers behind-the-scenes access to 200 buildings across Chicago and we are proud to be one of the participating sites. 

Explore the hidden gems and architectural treasures of Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods—all for free.

For the First Time the Bridgehouse Museum Offers Spanish-Guided Tours
Aug
29
Nov 1

For the First Time the Bridgehouse Museum Offers Spanish-Guided Tours

Friends of the Chicago River's McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum now has an official, Spanish-guided tour, led by Ms. Rebeca Fernandez, Resident Architect-Preservationist. This special tour will cover the entire exhibit filled with interesting details and insights from an architect historian's perspective. 

We hope families, school groups, and community groups who want to experience the museum's highly praised exhibit in Spanish can take advantage of this opportunity.

Trained as a design architect in Mexico, Ms. Fernandez is interested in the cultural legacies of historical architecture and preservation and is currently pursuing a master of science in historic preservation at the School of the Art Institute Chicago.   

The Spanish-guided tour is free with museum admission.  All tours begin at the Riverwalk entrance, at the top of the hour.  Tours begin at 11am, 12pm, and 1pm and occur every other Saturday: August 1, August 15, August 29, September 12, September 26, October 10, and October 24.  Reservations are encouraged.  Group rates are available.

Reserve a discounted parking spot in advance with SpotHero.  To get started, visit the Spanish Guided Tour SpotHero Parking Page   or download the SpotHero parking app.  Select your spot, and apply promo code SPANISH at checkout for $10 OFF your parking spot!!

Please call Museum Director, Joanne So Young Dill, (312) 939-0490, ext. 23 for details.

Go Behind-the-Scenes--Watch a Bridge Climb to the Sky!
Aug
24
Nov 3

Go Behind-the-Scenes--Watch a Bridge Climb to the Sky!

Fall is quickly coming upon us, so book your plans now.

 Starting Saturday, September 19, 2015, the McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum will open on Saturdays and select Wednesdays to give visitors a chance to experience something they'll never forget - a bridge tender's eye-view of Chicago's most famous movable bridge in action. 

You can reserve a private Bridge Lift Breakfast, perfect for showing friends, families, and clients a unique Chicago experience. The Bridge Lift Breakfast includes reserving the entire museum for 90 minutes, breakfast bagels and pastries, fruit, coffee, and juice for 30 guests, generously provided by Corner Bakery. Staff and bridge docents take you on an incredible journey as they tell you the stories about Chicago's movable bridges. 

 If coffee and bagels appeal to you, but you don't need to reserve the entire museum, there are also public-ticketed days for $25 ($15 for Friends of the Chicago River Members). 

 Lastly, open bridge lift days are only $10 and include admission to the museum with the bridge lift viewing.

Scheduled bridge lift dates are: 
Saturday, 9/16 - $10 ticket
Wednesday, 9/23 - please call
Saturday, 9/26 - CANCELLED
Wednesday, 9/30 - $10 ticket (close to capacity!)
Saturday, 10/3 - SOLD OUT!
Wednesday, 10/7 - $25 ticket
Saturday, 10/10 - please call
Wednesday, 10/14 - CLOSED FOR PRIVATE PARTY
Saturday, 10/17 - CLOSED FOR PRIVATE PARTY
Wednesday, 10/21 - $25 ticket
Saturday, 10/24 - $25 ticket (close to capacity!)
Wednesday, 10/ 28 - CLOSED OUT!
Saturday, 10/31 - $10 ticket (Last chance, sign up!)

MORE INFO here:

 

**Please note that even though a bridge lift is scheduled, Friends cannot guarantee that it will take place. The City of Chicago Department of Transportation executes bridge lifts only if sail boats sign up for the run, and factors such as technical malfunctions may cancel a day's lift. Refunds can only be made up to two weeks prior to the event.**

Advanced reservations required.  Please contact Joanne So Young Dill, jdill@chicagoriver.org, or (312) 939-0490, ext.23.

Small and Oddball Museum
Jul
20
6:00 pm18:00

Small and Oddball Museum

It's hard to keep up with the many lists of things to do in Chicago, the city has so many cultural offerings.  So it's always an honor when we get mentioned.  We’ve been listed in the Tribune, Time Out, and most recently on FourSquare’s list of 13 Best Museums in Chicago:

Small and Oddball museums in the Tribune 

Time Out’s List of Museums for Families

FourSquare’s 13 Best Museums in Chicago

Come see for yourself.  Plan a visit today!

Understanding the New Chicago River: Speaker Series 2015
Jun
1
Jul 27

Understanding the New Chicago River: Speaker Series 2015

In honor of the opening of Phase 2 of the Chicago Riverwalk, Friends of the Chicago River and the City of Chicago are partnering to present Understanding the New Chicago River, a nine week lunchtime lecture series.  The lectures will take place on the riverwalk in front of Friends' McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum.

It's free!  It's outdoors!  Join us each Monday from June 1 to July 27 to learn more about river issues, stroll the newly expanded riverwalk, and visit Friends' unique museum.  Speakers from the Shedd Aquarium, Chicago Department of Transportation, Department of Water Management, Chicago Park District, and Friends will cover topics on wildlife habitat, invasive species, Chicago's bridges, and the economy of the river.

Open to the public.  Mondays 12:15-12:45pm in front of the Bridgehouse Museum at 376 N. Michigan Avenue.  In the event of rain, the lectures will be rescheduled.  Please check our Facebook and Twitter pages for up-to-the-minute updates. 

Free Sunday Sponsored by Chicago Loop Bridges
May
24
10:00 am10:00

Free Sunday Sponsored by Chicago Loop Bridges

Chicago Loop Bridges is sponsoring a free day at the McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum on May 24th to recognize the three Loop bridges with milestone anniversaries in 2015.  There will be a special display about these bridges and free souvenir magnets for the first 300 visitors.  Jim Phillips of Chicago Loop Bridges will be available to answer questions.

The museum is a great place to learn of the interwoven history of Chicago and its river.  The fact that the museum is located in a bridgehouse is an added bonus because the inner workings of the bridge are revealed.  

You know you’ve always wanted to look inside a bridgehouse!

For information contact Jim Phillips at 312-540-0696 or via email: admin@chicagoloopbridges.com

Bridgehouse Opens on Chicago River Day - sign up to volunteer
May
9
9:00 am09:00

Bridgehouse Opens on Chicago River Day - sign up to volunteer

Mark your calendars for Friends' 23rd annual Chicago River Day on May 9, 2015 from 9 a.m. until 12 noon.  Our flagship, city-wide river clean-up, spans the river's 156-mile system throughout northeastern Illinois .  Volunteers can remove tons of trash, construct river trails, remove invasive plant species, and plant native flora all along the banks of the Chicago River.  We are currently looking for in-kind donations of work gloves and heavy duty garbage bags for our 3,000 volunteers, or a gift card so we can purchase these items ourselves.  With sixty cleanup sites throughout the Chicago River system and exciting new on-the-water sites, this year there is something for everyone!

Mar
24
5:00 pm17:00

Job Opportunities

Museum Associates 
Friends of the Chicago River is looking for an energetic and enthusiastic museum associate who will help thousands of visitors discover the wonders of the Chicago River at our McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum. Uniquely located inside a historic five-story bridge tower on Michigan Avenue, the Bridgehouse Museum celebrates Chicago’s river and world-renowned movable bridges and helps inspire people to participate in the river’s recovery. This position is seasonal and requires working on weekends.

Museum Associate Part-time
Friends of the Chicago River is looking for an energetic and enthusiastic museum associate who will help thousands of visitors discover the wonders of the Chicago River at our McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum. Uniquely located inside a historic five-story bridge tower on Michigan Avenue, the Bridgehouse Museum celebrates Chicago’s river and world-renowned movable bridges and helps inspire people to participate in the river’s recovery. This is a part-time, seasonal position that requires working on weekends.

Randolph Street Bridge Turns 30 on December 21
Nov
21
Jan 31

Randolph Street Bridge Turns 30 on December 21

by James Phillips

Sandwiched between two of the oldest downtown Chicago-type bascule bridges (Washington Blvd. – 101 yrs. & Lake St. – 98 yrs.), you will find the youngest. The Randolph St. bridge will mark 30 years of service on December 21st.

Unlike most of the other downtown bridges, there was no commemoration of the opening. Buried on page 35 of the Chicago Tribune of Friday December 21, 1984 part of the announcement read: “The rebuilt Randolph Street bridge at Wacker Drive, will be opened without fanfare to evening rush-hour traffic Friday and is expected to be opened less often for river traffic.”

This modest beginning was a matter of timing. Mayor Harold Washington had been in office a short eight months and the “Council Wars” were underway. None of the city leaders were interested in a grand ceremony.

The bridge cost $18 million and took three years to complete. Bridge design was accomplished by the Chicago Public Works Department and Hazelet & Erdal Consulting Engineers. The construction contractor was Kenny Construction Company. It was a significant improvement over the 78 year old Scherzer rolling lift bridge it replaced. With an additional five feet of clearance over the river, the Tribune article estimated a tenfold reduction in required bridge lifts for river traffic.

Many observers see this bridge as less appealing from an architectural point of view than other downtown bridges. With its single basic bridgehouse and box-girder deck support, it reflects the nature of design aesthetics in the 1980's. It is one of the Loop's four modern (post 1950) single bridgehouse bridges and the second one completed in the 1980's.

As with many of the bridge locations downtown, this Chicago-type bascule bridge is a snapshot in time. The Randolph St. river crossing has been home to movable bridges for about 175 years. These bridges have included floating bridges, center pier swing bridges, and the 1903 rolling lift bridge replaced by the current bridge.

Next time you cross the Randolph St. bridge, take a moment to appreciate its 30 years of service and visualize Chicago's rich movable bridge history. Then look south to the Washington Blvd. bridge to contrast the newest and oldest Loop bridges just a block apart.

Jim Phillips is author of Two Miles, Eighteen Bridges and co-founder of chicagoloopbridges.com. He can be reached at 312-540-0696 or visit www.chicagoloopbridges.com. 

Oct
27
Dec 31

October 30 book launch at the Bridgehouse Museum

On October 30, admission to the Bridgehouse Museum is free between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., when author Patrick McBriarty will be launching his latest book, Drawbridges Open and Close - the first in a series of children's books that reveal how the mechanical marvels around us work. Patrick McBriarty will be on hand to sign this book, as well as his award-winning Chicago River Bridges book and copies of his documentary Chicago Drawbridges.

Do not miss this opportunity to get little-known insights on Chicago's bridges from Patrick himself! The books and DVD will be available for sale at the museum.

You can watch a video introduction of Drawbridges Open and Close here!

A record-breaking Open House Chicago!
Oct
8
Dec 31

A record-breaking Open House Chicago!

  • McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum

The McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum welcomed more than 3,900 visitors during the fourth annual Open House Chicago on Saturday, October 18 and Sunday, October 19 -- a 59% increase over last year's event attendance!

Thank you to all the wonderful Chicago Architecture Foundation and Friends of the Chicago River staff and volunteers who helped make Open House Chicago a success at the Bridgehouse Museum -- and to all our visitors for making us one of this spectacular architecture event's top destinations! A special thanks to Jim Phillips of chicagoloopbridges.com and Patrick McBriarty of chicagodrawbridges.com for sharing their bridge expertise with thousands of visitors in the museum's gear room this weekend!

85th Anniversary of the Clark Street Bridge
Oct
8
Oct 20

85th Anniversary of the Clark Street Bridge

  • 85th Anniversary of Clark Street Bridge

Jim Phillips

GREAT PARADE TO OPEN SPAN, HAIL NEW ERA – Clark Bridge to Be Ready July 10
That's the headline from the Chicago Daily Tribune on June 30, 1929. The parade consisted of ten groups depicting the development of Clark Street from Indian trail to modern city thoroughfare. Organized by the North Clark Street merchants, the parade was a celebration of the new bridge and a show of appreciation to the Chicago Public Works Department for completing the bridge six months ahead of schedule.

Movable bridges have been at this Chicago River crossing since 1840 when a floating pontoon bridge was built. The swing bridge era began in 1856 and continued until the current bascule was built. The removal of the Clark Street swing bridge marked the end of the swing bridge era on the Main Stem of the Chicago River.

The last Clark Street swing bridge was removed sooner than expected when the sand sucker Sandmaster knocked the bridge off its turntable on April 30, 1929. Enough damage was done to the old bridge that fixing it made little sense with the new bascule under construction and nearing completion. The decision was made to abandon the old bridge and speed up the work on the new one. Remarkably, the first street cars crossed the new bridge only 48 days later on June 17.

With high tail-end curvaceous pony trusses and beaux arts styled bridgehouses, this Chicago-type trunnion bascule bridge has a striking and distinctive profile. The bridge plaque provides the organizations and individuals involved in the construction and design of the bridge.

Pony trusses were not well liked by members of the Chicago plan commission. In a 1930 Chicago Daily Tribune article Eugene Taylor managing director of the Chicago plan commission put it simply, “They look like the devil...”

As often the case, site constraints here trumped aesthetic desires. Subsurface conditions dictated that trunnions be at shallower depths than those on bridges to the east. This meant more structural steel showing above the bridge deck here.

It could be argued today that this bridge provides visual relief from the sameness of the rail height trusses used on the bridges between here and Michigan Avenue. This was the last bridge built using pony trusses in the downtown area.

The Sandmaster had a mishap under the new bridge during its first trip down the river since ramming the swing bridge. It collided with a barge and the wreckage prevented the bascule from being lowered into place. The accident caused a two hour delay but did not damage the bridge. After this encounter, the Sandmaster was the record holding bridge rammer – 45 collisions with 13 Chicago bridges in 3 years.

A number of things have happened in the eighty-five year life of this bridge. Probably the most unique event was the one time gathering of the Clark Street Bridge Percussion Orchestra on October 6, 2007. For an afternoon the bridge became a drum for six professional drummers and hundreds of spectators turned participants in concert. The event was organized by conceptual artist Hugh Musik for Chicago Artists Month. Eric Roth composed the music. It provided a different way to enjoy and appreciate one of Chicago's iconic bridges.

The Clark Street bridge is now operated about 40 times each year for seasonal sail boat runs to and from Lake Michigan. It is always amazing to see these Loop bridges operate.

Currently the south bank of the river between State and La Salle streets is undergoing a transformation as the Chicago Riverwalk is extended west. After the dust clears next spring it will be possible to walk under the Clark St bridge. There are a lot of reasons to like the Riverwalk, but for a bridge enthusiast the ability to watch a bridge rise above you is a special treat.

Note: sources include: Chicago Daily Tribune 5/2/1929; 5/9/ 1929; 5/17/1929; 6/30/1929; 7/11/1929; 12/15/1929; 9/13/1930; 10/14/2007 (ProQuest Historical Newspapers Chicago Tribune (1849-2007); “Two Miles Eighteen Bridges – A walk along the Chicago River.”

Photo: Bridge Plaque at the Clark Street Bridge

For more information, contact Jim Phillips at 312-540-0696 or visit www.chicagoloopbridges.com