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Online programs and virtual tours continue while CAC tours are currently suspended and the Center is closed, in accordance with COVID-19 guidelines from the State of Illinois.


Summer 2021 marks the CAC’s seventh year of offering “The American Skyscraper” workshops and they’re always a highlight. Here’s what past participants have said about their experiences:

“It was the closest to perfect I have yet to experience in my journey of professional development.”

“I’ve been planning learning experiences for adults and kids for 26 years. I thought I was pretty good at it. The staff at the CAC showed me how teaching is done at the highest level. It was a great, great, great learning experience.”

“This was an intense and extremely valuable learning experience. The CAC did a superb job in organizing an engaging, intellectually-stimulating and stress-free week for teachers.”

“A superb week with a brilliant combination of lecture, activity and site-based learning that had immediate application to the classroom.”


“I’ve never been a part of a better-planned professional development experience. There was a perfect blend of reading, lecture, field studies, pedagogical discussions and planning and fun. The outside experts were brilliant. The workshop planning was impeccable.”

“The workshop agenda was excellently planned to allow us to follow a historical timeline from the 1800s to the present and experience select skyscrapers as a primary source on a daily basis… From each site, we were able to see, hear, touch, sketch, photograph, video at times, read about, write about, discuss and gather resources (all of which we learned as ‘reading a building’).”


“I was very appreciative of the CAC’s teacher resources and lesson books that we received, as they can be adjusted for every grade level and pretty much any architecture that we have in our own towns and cities.”

“Both the level of scholarship, as well as the quality of instruction were phenomenal. The incredible materials that also reflect quality content and a high level of student engagement will make adding architecture as part of a humanities approach to teaching U.S. history very realistic. I will be using many of the activities with my students, because I had a chance to participate in them as a student during the workshop.”


“I had honestly never thought about the role of architecture in American history and specifically how to incorporate it into my own teaching. This experience gave me a new appreciation for the field and lots of new ideas on how to use the built environment in my own classroom.”

“The workshop had a profound effect on me personally… In addition, having the skills and knowledge to read the built environment is critical to a full appreciation of place. I want my students to be able to go into a new city and read the architecture they encounter. I want them to be able to take that eye with them wherever they go, to be asking questions about origins and about the future. Because that’s how we’ll get to better neighborhoods and cities and how we’ll get to a more sustainable and livable world.” 


“Chicago is THE city to learn about architecture and the American skyscraper.”

“Chicago was our classroom and it was woven into every element of the program. It was hands-on and feet-on every day. I lived in the Chicago area for 23 years and came away thinking differently about the city and the skyscrapers in it.”

“Chicago is arguably the home of the skyscraper and it is by far the best place to host this workshop. There are so many excellent examples of the development of architecture as well as how it has adapted over time in the ten-block area we roamed that there was no shortage of awe-inspiring moments to enlighten and delight.”

“This was an unexpected, intense learning experience for me that opened my eyes to the stark differences between city life and country life… I was not truly aware of what it means to live, work and play in buildings that are taller and more vast in height than the half-mile dirt road leading from pavement to homes in the countryside of Virginia. I was both delighted and intimidated by Chicago’s skyline and am excited to bring an understanding of skyscraper life to the students here by sharing what I learned with their teachers in an attempt to encourage project-based learning.”  


“My colleagues were on time, interested and passionate about learning and seeing firsthand what they could about the topic of skyscrapers. It was the best educational gathering I have ever attended. I think that speaks volumes for the selection process. A very eclectic gathering of people that was productive and positive.”

“Everyone involved with this program was more than generous with his/her time. CAC staff were extremely accommodating, diverse and welcoming to all people. They valued input on the program as we experienced it and made use of our input to modify the program for the remainder of the week.”

“Everyone was very responsive to our questions, the pre-workshop communication was excellent and even the follow-up has been great.”


Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this workshop do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.