Global Wellness in Urban Chicago

In 2010 The Field Museum began an initiative to collect contemporary urban culture. With 200+ objects in collection, this site captures an ongoing effort to study how Chicagoans consume health and wellness.

Global Map

Urban wellness changes over time and place; it’s not static.

New practices of wellness are emerging all the time. The world is more connected than ever and cities are prominent examples of how health trends and herbal knowledge are transported from around the world, reimagined- and exported again.

Chicago Map

Explore Chicago's cultural histories by neighborhood.

"Placemaking" describes how people reinvent their environments to reflect their cultural and social identities- including the ways they seek health. Studying placemaking allows us to understand how people access heath related products and services in their daily lives. Chicago's neighborhoods have many apothecaries, groceries, herbal stores, and community centers that encapsulate various heritages and types of health and wellness. Everything you come across in our collection of objects and stories links back to one of these neighborhoods.

Wellness by

The American Indian Center is the oldest urban gathering place for American Indians in the United States.
Chinatown's stores bustle with activity, from the tinkling of doorway bells to the sound of chatting customers.
Home to significant numbers of Orthodox Jews, Armenians, and Indians, Devon has witnessed many waves of immigration.
Humbolt Park is made up of significant Puerto Rican, Mexican, and Black populations.
Humboldt Park
At Merz Apothecary, Lincoln Square's European roots meld with the story of newer Asian immigrants.
Pilsen is a historic neighborhood representing generations of Mexican-American heritage, art, activism, and healing.
The research garden has many plants that have made medical history.
UIC Atkins Medicinal Garden


Explore More

You can view objects in the Collections Gallery by their store of purchase, neighborhood of purchase, or the search engine. Recognize an object? Use the comment section to share your knowledge.

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