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The Chicago Architecture Center’s Neighborhood Teen Ambassador programs encourage high school students to investigate architecture through the lens of local history and culture.

This multi-week program engages students ages 15-18 in place-based research as they dive into a Chicago neighborhood’s history, practice public speaking, create a digital story about an architectural site, and serve as interactive guides during the CAC’s annual Open House Chicago festival in October. Ambassadors receive training in critical professional and career-building skills and earn a stipend. This program has been generously supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities.


The 2019 summer program highlighted historic buildings in Bronzeville – a community we also investigated in 2018. The Ambassadors spent eight days studying the neighborhood, exploring its rich history through visits to significant architectural sites, interviews with local residents and archival research at the Newberry Library. In 2019, upon completing their field research, the Ambassadors worked in small groups to create a series of short audio podcasts about three sites: the Bronzeville Forum, First Church of Deliverance and Overton Elementary School. One of the highlights of the summer session is an intimate conversation with revered historian and civil rights leader Timuel D. Black, who came to Chicago from Alabama in 1919 as part of the first Great Migration. Our media partner WBEZ reported on this special session . In October, the Ambassadors return to Bronzeville to help interpret their buildings for the public during Open House Chicago, the CAC’s annual two-day architecture festival.


The Teen Ambassadors program is open to high school-aged students who attend Chicago Public Schools. The Chicago Architecture Center is committed to increasing access to students from populations historically under-represented in architecture, construction, and engineering and design professions, such as girls and minorities.


Applications are now closed. Check back for more information on the 2020 OHC Neighborhood Teen Ambassadors in the spring. If you have any questions, please contact us via email at