Packingtown Museum at The Plant
Inside a former meatpacking plant at 1400 W 46th Street, organizers are developing a museum dedicated to preserving the rich history of Chicago’s Union Stock Yard.
Vision and Mission
The Packingtown Museum is dedicated to preserving, interpreting, and presenting the industrial history and cultural heritage of Chicago’s Union Stock Yard and surrounding neighborhoods. Through a combination of exhibits and educational programming, the museum strives to connect Chicago’s industrial past to its future and inform contemporary conversations about labor, immigration, food production, community development, and the economy.
About The Plant
The Packingtown Museum is housed at The Plant, a former meatpacking facility that is being repurposed as a collaborative community of food businesses committed to material re-use and closed-loop systems. The Plant is owned and operated by Bubbly Dynamics, LLC, which directs the design and build-out of tenant spaces, common areas, and major projects to increase efficiencies of the building and site.
Established in 2002, Bubbly Dynamics is a social enterprise whose mission is to create replicable models for ecologically responsible and sustainable urban industrial development. Bubbly Dynamics’ first building, the Chicago Sustainable Manufacturing Center, was renovated based on these principles and has been home to tenants involved in a variety of light-industrial uses. Bubbly’s second project, The Plant, takes the concept further and is working to demonstrate the benefits of closing loops of waste, resources, and energy for food-producing businesses.
Background & Rationale
The very first draft of The Plant’s floor plans included a space reserved for the Packingtown Museum. John Edel, founder of Bubbly Dynamics, LLC, recognized the need to tell the story of the South Side of Chicago’s role in the development of industrialization – of food, in particular – which is locally relevant and globally significant.
The story of the development of the Union Stock Yard, the people who worked in them, and the neighborhoods that grew up around it includes chapters on organized labor, the role of immigration in fueling the growth of city and economy, and the changing relationship between people, machines, and food. All of these historical themes are relevant to the political and social dynamics of Chicago and the United States today. Through a better understanding of and appreciation for this 150-year history, we can be more engaged and thoughtful participants in the present and future that is unfolding right in front of us at The Plant.