Building Hancock: The Stories and Photos of Michigan Pete

Chicago is world-renowned for its skyscrapers, but how often do the workers behind these buildings get a starring role in the story? In 1965, Evald Peterson, aka “Michigan Pete,” worked as head caisson inspector for construction of the John Hancock Building and captured his personal experiences and photos in a journal. After years of archiving this treasure, 360 CHICAGO unveils Building Hancock: The Stories and Photos of Michigan Pete, a new interactive display that pays tribute to his work, and brings to life the architectural building feats and challenges recorded in his own words and pictures.

The exhibit was dedicated on February 23rd during a private reception that includes notable guest introductions by William F. Baker representing the building architects at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Lynn Osmond, president and CEO of the Chicago Architecture Foundation, and Michigan Pete’s own son, Gerald, who worked as a construction laborer on this project.

“The John Hancock Center is an iconic building and considered a monumental achievement in the world of architecture. Our new exhibit allows our visitors to learn about the building project through the eyes of Michigan Pete, and to gain a better appreciation for the hands and hearts that went into constructing the project,” says Nichole Williamson, general manager of the attraction owned by Montparnasse 56 Group.

The exhibit designed by Provost Studio and fabricated by Chicago Scenic Studios transforms Michigan Pete’s handwritten, spiral-ringed notebook into an interactive exploration of important Chicago history. A touch-pad app designed by Gramercy Tech allows users to easily flip through the journal’s pages and photos. Rather than organizing the content sequentially, content developed by Fleming Museum Consulting is intended to pique the visitor’s curiosity to learn more by offering a unique, self-navigating, ‘un-filtered’ experience through Michigan Pete’s personal collection of photos, notes and facts.

The exhibit is now available to all general admission ticket holders and located in the northeast corner of the 94th floor observation deck.

875 N. Michigan Avenue, 94th Floor
(312) 875-8439

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