The National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture is always free anyway, so it is unnecessary to offer free days during Chicago Museum Week (Thursday, October 1, 2015 through Wednesday, October 7, 2015). Right now, it has the exhibit Metamorfosis of Divine Entanglements, showcasing the works of Chicago-based Puerto Rican artist Oscar Luis Martinez.
It opened Thursday, September 24, 2015 and runs through Saturday, April 30, 2016. He will lead a Wine & Cheese Tour on Wednesday, October 7, 2015 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Founded in 2001, The National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture (formerly the Institute of Puerto Ricans Arts & Culture) is housed in the Humboldt Park Stables & Receptory. It is open from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, and from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Saturdays.
Humboldt Park is Community Area 77 on the map of Chicago. The community area is the namesake of the Chicago Park District’s 207-acre Humboldt Park, which was formerly known as North Park.
The park was named in honor of the Prussian explorer and naturalist Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) in 1869 and the neighborhood was named after the park. Chicago annexed the community in 1869.
The landscape plan for North Park was designed by the famous architect William Le Baron Jenney, who added the lagoons and plazas. In the last fifth of the 19th Century, Oscar F. Dubuis followed Jenney’s model.
Another famous landscape architect, Jens Jensen added a rose garden and modified the lagoon in the western part of the park to evoke a river running through a prairie, as Max Grinnell recounted in The Electronic Encyclopedia of Chicago. Humboldt Park gained a boat landing and a pavilion in 1907 and a court where bands could perform musical concerts in 1913.
Today, Humboldt Park is divided into a rectangle north of Division Street and a square south of Division Street. The eastbound lanes of North Avenue run through the northern edge of the rectangle.
Points of interest in Humboldt Park include the Leif Ericsson Monument, the Alexander von Humboldt Monument, and the Humboldt Park Boathouse, which are at the center of the rectangle, where the two largest of the lagoons merge; Little Cubs Field in the western part of the rectangle; and the Formal Garden in the southern part of the rectangle. At the northern end of the square is The National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture (N.M.P.R.A.C.). Allstate Field is separated from N.M.P.R.A.C. by some green space and two small lagoons.
In the 1870s, Humboldt Park real estate prices rose as development accelerated around the park. In 1886, the residential community gained a street railway connection to the city’s center. In the 1890s, the community also gained an elevated railway connection.
Large numbers of German and Nordic settlers arrived in the 1880s and ‘90s. German residents raised statues in Humboldt Park of Alexander von Humboldt in 1892 and author Fritz Reuter in 1893.
By 1900, a Danish neighborhood had formed along North Avenue from Damen Street west to Pulaski Road, while over twenty Norwegian churches were in the vicinity of Humboldt Park and Logan Square. Approximately 50,000 Scandinavians showed up in in Humboldt Park in 1901 for the unveiling of Sigvald Asbjornsen’s statue of the Viking explorer Leif Erikson.
A few years later, in 1904, Poles raised an equestrian statue of General Tadeusz Kościuszko (1746-1817), a hero who fought in the American War of Independence who led Polish-Lithuanian forces in the Kościuszko Uprising against the Russian Empire and Kingdom of Prussia. In 1918, around 100,000 Polish-Americans turned out in Humboldt Park to celebrate the formation of the Polish army in France. Polish-Americans have held many parades and rallies near the statue, especially in the first two decades of the 20th Century.
At mid-century, internal migrants – Puerto Ricans from West Town – began to move east to Humboldt Park. They were joined by Puerto Ricans from Puerto Rico, an unincorporated territory of the United States, as a wave of Puerto Ricans arrived in Chicago between 1950 and 1965.
In his entry on the Humboldt Park community area in The Electronic Encyclopedia of Chicago David A. Badillo wrote, “For Puerto Ricans the Division Street area (La División, in local parlance), with its stores and restaurants, has anchored settlement since the 1960s. Humboldt Park still remains the symbolic nucleus of Puerto Rican Chicago. Park thoroughfares have been renamed in honor of notables (such as former governor of Puerto Rico Luis Muños Marín and nationalist leader Pedro Albizu Campos), reflecting abiding concerns for the homeland not unlike those displayed in earlier years.”
The National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture is closed on Sundays and Mondays. The address is 3015 West division Street, Chicago, Illinois 60622.
 Puerto Rico, an archipelago in the Greater Antilles, was a colony of Spain from 1493 to 1898. Under the Treaty of Paris (1898) that ended the Spanish-American War, the Kingdom of Spain ceded temporary control of Cuba and permanent control of Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines to the United States. In 1917, the U.S. Congress granted American citizenship to Puerto Ricans under the Jones-Shafroth Act (1917). Since mid-century, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico has had its own constitution and popularly-elected governor.