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Obama Presidential Center Renderings and Information

Photo Credit: The Obama Foundation.

The Obama Presidential Center will be a place to honor the stories of those who brought President and Mrs. Obama to where they are today—and bring people together to chart an even brighter future. On Chicago’s South Side, the Center will offer old friends and new visitors alike the chance to explore a world-class museum and gather together for celebrations of all kinds.

The campus will add to the vitality of Jackson Park, bringing new gardens; a larger playground; and scenic paths for an early morning jog, bike ride, or an afternoon stroll. And it will do all that while creating jobs and driving economic opportunity in Chicago and enriching the landscape of the South Side that President and Mrs. Obama have called home for so long.

View the latest renderings and graphics:

Obama Presidential Center impact at a glance
Graphic Credit: The Obama Foundation.
Obama Presidential Campus
A north-facing view of the Obama Presidential Center campus in Jackson Park. (The Obama Foundation)

The Obama Presidential Center represents a historic opportunity to build a world-class museum and public gathering space that celebrates our nation’s first African American President and First Lady, steps away from where he began his career, where she was raised, and where—together—they made their home.

The Plaza
A dynamic public plaza is at the heart of the Obama Presidential Center, welcoming visitors to the campus and the Park. (The Obama Foundation)

A public plaza at the entry of the campus will serve as a gathering place for live performances and community festivals. The Museum building anchors the northern end of the plaza, the Forum building wraps its east side, and a new branch of the Chicago Public Library frames its southern end.

Museum Building Courtyard
A landscaped courtyard brings natural light and greenery to the Center’s public spaces, including a café on the Garden Level of the Museum building. (The Obama Foundation)

The Garden Level invites visitors to share their own stories and to connect with other people’s submissions through a series of interactive programs. Here, visitors will be encouraged to commit to engaging within their own communities, finding ways they can make a difference after leaving the Obama Presidential Center and returning home. The Garden Level also features a retail shop and café that will serve locally roasted coffees, honey from onsite beehives, and fresh food made with produce from the Center’s Fruit and Vegetable Garden.

The Chicago Public Library 
The new branch of the Chicago Public Library at the Obama Presidential Center. (The Obama Foundation)

A new branch of the Chicago Public Library will feature an interactive digital media space and a garden on its roof. Similar to the garden that Mrs. Obama planted at the White House, it will be a place where young people and community members can get their hands dirty and learn about growing fruits and vegetables—and there will even be a few bee hives for honey.

The Plaza from Above 
A north-facing view of the public plaza and Museum building, as viewed from the roof of the Chicago Public Library building. (The Obama Foundation)

The Museum building anchors the northern end of the plaza, the Forum building wraps its east side, and the newest branch of the Chicago Public Library frames its southern end. Landscaped pathways transition visitors from the Park landscape to the planted roofs of the Library and Forum buildings which offer views of the plaza below and the Lagoon beyond.

The Museum Building 
The northern facade of the Museum building, as viewed from Stony Island Avenue. (The Obama Foundation)

The Museum building will be a new landmark for the South Side, welcoming visitors to Jackson Park and marking the Center as an historic civic destination. The building’s height will establish visitor’s arrival to the Center and, once inside, will offer unparalleled views of the surrounding neighborhood.

The Museum building’s design embodies the idea of ascension—of a movement upward from the grassroots. Its form is inspired by the idea of four hands coming together; a recognition that many hands shape a place. Inside, exhibits will explore the fullness of the American story—from the promise of our founding documents to the movements that challenged us to live up to them. The Museum exhibits will tell the story of the volunteers who powered the campaign toward history, and will examine the eight years of progress, setback, and hope that followed.

The Promenade
A north-facing view from the promenade toward the Museum building, the Museum of Science and Industry, and the lagoon. (The Obama Foundation)

The park will offer play areas and walking paths, all connected by a long pedestrian promenade that runs alongside Jackson Park’s beautiful and historic lagoons. By converting Cornell Drive back to parkland, the Promenade restores a scenic experience that is more consistent with Frederick Law Olmsted’s vision for Jackson Park. The path features a designated bike lane and connects the Obama Presidential Center to the Museum of Science Industry with safe and direct access to the lagoon.

The Women’s Garden 
The landscape of Jackson Park’s historic Women’s Garden will be restored with plantings, pathways, and seating. (The Obama Foundation)

The Women’s Garden preserves the signature circular form and location of the historic sunken lawn with a new enlarged perennial garden, which captures and treats rainwater, encircling the garden. It will also become more accessible by converting the roads surrounding the Garden back to parkland.

The Wetland Walk
A one-acre wetland area will capture and treat stormwater and feature a Wetland Walk that threads through the area and offers a unique environment with seating, a tree canopy, and a place for children to play. (The Obama Foundation)

The new Wetland Walk will allow visitors to enjoy the unique wetland environment without interfering with its function to support sustainability and the long-term ecological health of the park. The area features seating built out of large stone blocks that can be used for classes, small gatherings, or simply as a spot to stop and enjoy the park.

The Children’s Play Area
A dynamic two-acre play area will be a memorable place for children of all ages. (The Obama Foundation)

The Children’s Play Area will feature a giant playground with innovative recreation equipment for children of all ages. The design of the play area celebrates the natural environment of Jackson Park, with lagoon and woodland-themed features to stir imaginations and encourage exploration. It will offer four seasons of play with plenty of seating and shade for parents and adults.

The Great Lawn at Dusk
At dusk, the Great Lawn becomes an open-air theater, with a gentle sloping view to the south. (The Obama Foundation)

The Great Lawn is a place for sledding in the winter, picnics in the summer, and to gather for movies in the park. The gentle slope of the site offers opportunities for activities year-round, and it will be the perfect place to get a view of Jackson Park’s beautiful lagoons.

The Great Lawn in Winter
On snowy days, the Great Lawn becomes a sledding hill with a backdrop of the Museum building to the north. (The Obama Foundation)

The Great Lawn is a place for sledding in the winter, picnics in the summer, and to gather for movies in the park. The gentle slope of the site offers opportunities for activities year-round, and it will be the perfect place to get a view of Jackson Park’s beautiful lagoons.

Campus Site Plan
The campus site plan for the Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park. (The Obama Foundation)

SGPR News_November 21, 2021

Highlights From The Obama Presidential Center Groundbreaking Ceremony

President and Mrs. Obama during the Obama Presidential Center groundbreaking ceremony in Jackson Park in Chicago IL on September 28, 2021. (Chuck Kennedy/Obama Foundation)

President and Mrs. Obama made a heartfelt return to Chicago for the official groundbreaking of the Obama Presidential Center. This celebration is a moving reminder of the community that made the Obamas who they are — the same community that will benefit from having a world class institution on the South Side of Chicago.

Check out highlights from the special ceremony here.

SGPR News_September 30, 2021

Tune In For The Obama Presidential Center Groundbreaking

Tune in for the official Obama Presidential Center Groundbreaking this afternoon at 1:15pm CT.

SGPR News_September 28, 2021

Obama Presidential Center Groundbreaking Announcement
Festivities begin on Monday, September 27 and end on Tuesday, September 28.

Watch President and Mrs. Obama’s exciting announcement, including their reflections on what Chicago means to them.

Today, President and Mrs. Obama announced that virtual groundbreaking celebrations for the Obama Presidential Center are slated to begin on Monday, September 27!

President and Mrs. Obama wrote, “Our entire road to groundbreaking has been building towards this moment. While we won’t be able to gather in person this fall, we are excited to connect virtually so we can celebrate Chicago and everyone who has helped bring the Obama Presidential Center to the South Side.”

“Together, we’re one step closer to creating a new home for our global programs that you have supported since the very beginning, bringing millions of visitors from around the world to the South Side of Chicago to find their own purpose and take action.”

Mark your calendars and stay tuned for ways you can participate online! Learn more at Obama.org.

SGPR News_September 24, 2021

Tune In For When We All Vote’s Kickoff Rally With Mrs. Obama

Guests will hear from First Lady Michelle Obama.

Gear up for the upcoming elections this year and in 2022!

TONIGHT When We All Vote is hosting their National Voter Registration Week of Action Kickoff Rally for all volunteers and supporters. Guests will hear from Michelle Obama on how she’s going to get out the vote for the upcoming elections!

In 2021, we’ve seen an unprecedented number of attacks on our freedom to vote, that’s why this rally is more important than ever!

Use the link below to join When We All Vote for their kickoff rally starting at 8:00 p.m. ET TONIGHT!

National Voter Registration Week of Action Kickoff Rally

SGPR News_September 23, 2021

Michelle Obama To Build Momentum For Elections During When We All Vote Week Of Action

Mrs. Obama launched When We All Vote in 2018 because voting is bigger than any single party, issue, candidate, or election. On the fourth Tuesday of each September, When We All Vote celebrates our democracy by registering voters on National Voter Registration Day.

Get ready to head back to the ballot box this fall and in 2022!

When We All Vote will be holding a National Voter Registration Week of Action from Saturday, September 25 to Sunday, October 3. During this week of action, When We All Vote will call on its volunteers, supporters and student ambassadors to host voter registration drives in their local communities; sign up to register voters in high-traffic areas; and call on the Senate to pass the Freedom to Vote Act and John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.

To date, nearly 4.5 million Americans have registered to vote on National Voter Registration Day, including 1.5 million in 2020 alone! (National Voter Registration Day, 2021)

RSVP to the #BacktotheBallotBox Kickoff Rally featuring Michelle Obama and special guests. Join the virtual event from anywhere at 8:00 p.m. ET on Thursday, September 23!

Please visit whenweallvote.org for more information.

SGPR News_September 21, 2021