The exhibit Building, Brewing, Benevolence: The Swiss Presence in Chicago will run from October 1 – December 1 at Sulzer Regional Library, with an exhibit opening program on October 8.
Although their history is less well-known than some immigrant groups, the Swiss contributed crucial wealth and skill to Chicago. In 1864, Switzerland was the first country to open a consulate in Chicago, beginning a long, bilateral relationship between the two countries.
Since their arrival in Chicago, the Swiss have played an important role in the economic, cultural, educational and architectural development, adapting with changing times and shaping the structure of the Windy City as we know it. The dynamic legacy of Swiss entrepreneurship continues into the new millennium. Today, more than 100 Swiss companies call Chicago home. Providing goods and services ranging from legal consultation to tool design to chocolate making, these companies employ over 30,000 people, making Switzerland the sixth-largest foreign employer in Chicagoland.
The exhibit features archival materials from the Northside Neighborhood History Collection and items on loan from the Swiss Benevolent Society and the Chicago Embroidery Company. Many of these items have never before been available for public viewing. The exhibit includes a combination of photographs, advertisements, programs, maps and artifacts.