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Attractions & Culture

Busy Beaver Button Company and Museum

3279 W Armitage Ave, Chicago, Illinois 60647 USA (773) 645-3359

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  • Offbeat Attraction

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  • Street Parking

An outgrowth of the button-making company Christen Carter started with her brother, this museum, in the factory building, is devoted to more than a century's worth of pinback buttons. Buttons are nothing if not versatile. The museum has on display thousands that serve as advertising, marketing vehicles, or what Carter calls "social lubricators," meaning they are meant to provoke a response. Like: "My button loves your button." "I like the wearable, shareable and accessible expression of buttons," Carter said. "I love that people are willing to wear them in front of those they don't know. I even love buttons that aren't designed well. They all have their own way of communicating." While the collection does include some truly historic buttons (an 1864 pre-button for Abraham Lincoln is the museum's "crown jewel," Carter said), the emphasis is less on value and more on how well the button represents a moment in time. 

Friday hours 9:00 am–5:30 pm

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Busy Beaver Button Company and Museum

3279 W Armitage Ave
Chicago, Illinois 60647 USA

(773) 645-3359

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Rated 4.0 August 26, 2014

This museum is awesome, and the only one of its kind. They're got loads of old campaign buttons, buttons with long-dead advertising slogans ("Wheres the beef?"), and new, creative takes on the button from local and international artists. It's a great place to get inspiration for your own buttons, and honestly, Busy Beaver Buttons is one of the best places to actually have them made.

Great weekend diversion!

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