Special thanks to the seventh grade kids who acted up on Henna’s school field trip to Springfield. Without them Henna’s class trip to the Mexican Art Museum would not have been cancelled making it doubtful we would have traveled to the Pilsen neighborhood last weekend. But children will be children and their loss was our family’s gain.
The Pilsen neighborhood was given its name in the late 19th century by the large Czech population living there at the time. For those not familiar with Chicago neighborhoods, they often exist as a carousel for large ethnic groups migrating together. Before the Czech’s lived in Pilson and claimed it as their own, the neighborhood was primarily German and Irish. And then sometime in the 1960s Pilson became known for its large Hispanic population which is now being edged out ever so slightly by the hipsters.
A true anchor to the community is The National Museum of Mexican Art which presents Mexican culture as being “sin fronteras” (without borders). In that spirit the museum displays everything from ancient Mesoamerican pottery to modern folk art. A popular attraction is their seasonal Day of the Dead exhibit which we were lucky enough to catch on the very last day it was displayed. The admission, by the way, is 100% free. We like free.
Besides the art we also enjoyed eating at El Milagro Tortilla (1923 S Blue Island Ave) and shopping along 18th street. Our favorite store was easily Pinwheel Records (1722 W 18th St.) where we raided their 10 cent record bin.