The Unfortunate Fall of Chicago's Peace Museum

Three decades later, its treasured items sit in storage
By Luke Kelly-Clyne,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 5, 2011 1:47 PM CST
The Unfortunate Fall of Chicago's Peace Museum
Backdropped by a picture of late John Lennon with his wife Yoko Ono, an auction house worker poses for the photographers holding a 1958 Hofner Senator guitar that used to belong to Lennon.   (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

Some of the most prized symbols of American peace have been languishing in water- and mold-damaged storerooms, disregarded items that are about to be doled out to other institutions in the Peace Museum's sad, final chapter. Last month, the Illinois attorney general was awarded control of numerous relics once contained inside the walls of the Chicago museum, which closed in 2007, the Tribune reports. The AG's office intends to redistribute the neglected items, which include photographs of Martin Luther King and one of John Lennon's guitars.

Opened in 1981, the Peace Museum eventually succumbed to the problems of many niche attractions: scarce funding and dwindling social interest. Though attendance improved in 2001, after the 9/11 attacks, increased foot traffic did not translate into cash. Without a permanent location or full-time, paid staff, peace turned out to be a hard sell. Now, all that's left behind are the once famous contents of a defunct organization. "It's sad," one former Peace Museum board member says, "because I feel that peace is as important of a concept today, if not more so today, than it was back then." (Read more Chicago stories.)

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