Programs and Events
Pritzker Military Museum & Library hosts a range of events — including lectures with distinguished authors and military personnel, movie screenings, and family programs. In addition to events, the Museum & Library showcases a variety of military artifacts and regalia in its rotating and permanent Museum exhibits.
Upcoming Programs & Events
From the Lavender Scare to Don't Ask Don't Tell
October 12, 2023 | 1:00 PM
The Pritzker Military Museum & Library is looking at what happens when fear is given a place of privilege in government. The Lavender Scare marks a period of rampant discrimination by the federal government and military of the LGBTQ+ community. Members were fired and/or court martialed immediately based solely on one’s association with the community. Join us and the host of The Cold War channel on YouTube, David Schroeder, as we look at a historical view of the relationship between the federal government and LGBTQ+ communities during the Cold War period and beyond. The Cold War channel is an examination of the history of the latter half of the 20th Century. Host David Schroeder holds an undergraduate degree in History and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in military history from the University of Wolverhampton.
Cool Camo: Camouflage in Nature and the Military
October 14, 2023 | 11:00 am
Members of the U.S. military use camouflage-patterned uniforms and equipment to blend in with their surroundings and move unnoticed in different terrains. But they’re not the first ones to have that idea – many animals have their own unique camouflage disguises that allow them to hide in plain sight! Join us at the Pritzker Military Museum & Library on Saturday, October 14th to learn about the history of camouflage in the military and the animals that inspired it. Then, meet some of these sneaky animals in person and discover different kinds of natural camouflage with a special guest from the Chicago Academy of Sciences Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum!
Mission Possible: The Story of Repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
October 26, 2023 | 5:30 PM
Join us for a conversation with C. Dixon Osburn, co-founder of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network that led the successful effort to repeal the 1993 “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in 2010 which banned open service by lesbian, gay and bisexual service members. Osburn’s book: Mission Possible: The Story of Repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell outlines a blueprint for fighting the odds to change civil and human rights policy and laws.
PMML Book Club: Starship Troopers
October 27, 2023 | 1:00 PM
Join us to discuss Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein. In one of Heinlein’s most controversial bestsellers, a recruit in a future world is sent through the toughest boot camp in the Universe to join the Terran Mobile Infantry in battle against mankind’s most alarming enemy. Juan Rico signed up with the Federal Reserve on a lark, but despite the hardships and rigorous training, he finds himself determined to make it as a cap trooper. In boot camp he learns how to become a soldier, but it is in war that he will learn why.
Fearless Readers Virtual Author Talk: Twenty-One Steps
November 1, 2023 | 4:00 pm
Free Virtual Program
Join the Pritzker Military Museum & Library on Wednesday, November 1st for a virtual reading of Twenty-One Steps by Jeff Gottesfeld, a picture book all about the creation of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the steadfast guards who watch over it.
Recommended for readers age 7-10.
Women in the War of 1812
November 9, 2023 | 1:00 PM
For a nation fighting for freedom, American women had limited political and economic rights under the US government during the War of 1812. Some women expressed dissatisfaction with limitations in the new nation that claimed to value equality, personal freedom, and opportunity for political and economic advancement among its citizens. Some began to shape new entrepreneurial paths for themselves by working outside the domestic realm to support their families. The Pritzker Military Museum & Library joins Kate Hardy of the National Park Service to learn about the courageous activities of women during the War of 1812. Our education webinars are free of charge, and live participation in our webinar Q & A is encouraged. This webinar will be recorded for later viewing by registrants.
The Slaves' Gamble: Choosing Sides in the War of 1812
November 30, 2023 | 12:00 PM
As in the American Revolution, the chaos of war provided opportunities for free and enslaved black Americans to claim further freedoms by fighting for British, Spanish, and American Indian militias. While much of this freedom was short-lived after the war, it set the stage for national emancipation after the Civil War. Join Gene Smith, author of The Slaves' Gamble: Choosing Sides in the War of 1812 at the Pritzker Military Museum and Library for a lunchtime presentation on November 30th to learn more about this gamble for freedom.
Victory Mail of WWII: When Sending Microfilmed Letters Contributed to the War Effort
December 7, 2023 | 1:00 PM
Looking into a little-known piece of war and postal history, the Pritzker Military Museum & Library joins Lynn Heidelbaugh from the Smithsonian National Postal Museum to discuss what motivated friends and family separated by WWII to send holiday letters. We will also learn about why they communicated using some of the United States’ most advanced wartime technology, V-Mail. The US government offered V-Mail communications, also known as Victory Mail, between June 1942 to November 1945 to expedite mail service for American armed forces overseas. V-Mail combined light-weight stationery and microfilm, which could be transported by airplanes. This not only saved space on ships for other vital military supplies but also helped people keep in contact during wartime conditions. We will discuss why and how the US military and post office set up this new, temporary communication service, and how advertising campaigns promoted the use of V-Mail as patriotic.
The Civil War After Appomattox
December 7, 2023 | 5:30 PM
Join us for a discussion with Stephen A. Goldman M.D., author of One More War to Fight: Union Veterans' Battle for Equality through Reconstruction, Jim Crow, and the Lost Cause, and Dr. Caroline E. Janney, author of Ends of War: The Unfinished Fight of Lee's Army after Appomattox. Moderator Dr. Kate Masur, author and professor at Northwestern University, will guide the conversation of their research and writings about the continued battles of Civil War soldiers long after Appomattox.
Santa Storytime: Christmas in the Trenches
December 9, 2023 | 10:30 AM
Celebrate the holiday season at the Pritzker Military Museum & Library with a special storybook reading with Santa! Enjoy a snack of cookies and hot chocolate as Santa reads Christmas in the Trenches by John McCutcheon, a picture book based on the true story of a Christmastime ceasefire between American and German forces during WWI.
Annual Events at The PMML
Liberty Gala 2023
On November 4th, the Pritzker Military Museum & Library will celebrate its 20th annual Liberty Gala at the Fairmont Hotel International Ballroom in downtown Chicago. The theme of this year's gala is "Remembering the past, forging the future" as we celebrate and reflect on our first 20 years, and look towards an exciting future. We will also be celebrating the courageous stories of the Citizen Soldier Award recipients: 1st Lieutenant Bette Horstman, Chief Warrant Officer 5 (CW5) Candy Martin, and Brigadier General Wilma Vaught.
We look forward to celebrating our 20th Anniversary with you!
2023 On War Military History Symposium
On June 30, 1973, America's All Volunteer Force was born but young men continue to be obligated to register for Selective Service and the government retains its legal right to conscript citizens into the military. 2023 marks the 50th anniversary of the birth of the AVF, a fitting milestone to engage in a deeper conversation about the past, present, and future of the AVF. The history, health, and future of the All-Volunteer Force was examined and discussed on April 13-14, 2023, at the Pritzker Military Museum & Library. We welcomed a stellar group of civilian experts, scholars, and active duty and retired service members to share their knowledge and insights on this critical issue.