NOTE: The Peace Museum closed in April 2007 with plans to relocate. It is currently displaying its exhibitions at various other venues. Check the website for details.
In 1981 Mark Rogovin and Marjorie Craig Benton took time off from painting murals and fighting for UNICEF, not to relax but to launch the Peace Museum, the country's first and only non-profit organization dedicated to exploring war and peace through the arts.
Located under a regal dome in Garfield Park, the museum hosts a collection of more than 10,000 artifacts: drawings, paintings, ribbon banners, buttons, sculptures and photographs that highlight issues of domestic violence, human rights, women in power and life in prison. Artist Michael Alfonso's "Peace 2005 and Beyond," an installation of paper cranes, is part of the museum's permanent collection. The work is an example of "participatory art" and museum visitors have the option to purchase a crane ($10, available online) to add to the display.
Thirteen special collections can be rented out; globe-roaming exhibitions have included "The Nagasaki Journey" and "The Unforgettable Fire"; both commemorate the 60th anniversary of nuclear activity in Japan.
Peace-lovin' fans of the museum include Bono (look for his signed guitar), Joan Baez and Yoko Ono, who donated her late husband's guitar to the collection. Know any hippies-at-heart? Log on to the museum's website and check out the shopping section; gift baskets ($80-$95) feature The Music Lover's Peace Basket that includes two "give peace a chance" bumper stickers and a one-year membership to the museum. For more amateur peace dabblers, a one-time visit will only set you back $5.
Centerstage Reviewer: Jennifer Berg