Pizza museum steals a slice of Chicago’s heart

By Camilla Forte, Photojournalist

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  • The Pizza Museum is currently located at 1146 S. Delano Court West in the Roosevelt Collection.

  • The museum's current location is the largest space the exhibition has ever occupied, which has allowed founder Kendall Bruns to plan events and temporary exibitions.

  • The pizza box wall is a result of Bruns' personal collection, but also includes donations from patrons of the museum.

  • The museum spotlights Chicago pizza history alongside information about pizza's role in American culture.

  • The museum also pays tribute to the dish's role in pop culture through its large collection of memorabilia.

  • Aaliyah Sims, a Columbia alumna, works the desk at the Pizza Museum.

  • Because the museum charges no entry fee, it relies entirely on donations and gift shop sales for funding.

  • Patrons can "feed" the pizza box with donations on their way out as a way to support the museum.

  • Novelty items such as the "Forever Pizza," a slice incased in acrylic by Steph Mantis, can be found alongside more common items.

  • The Pizza Museum's current temporary exhibit about New Haven pizza is the result of a collaboration between Colin Caplan, author of the book Pizza in New Haven, and the museum's director.

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After a successful yearlong run, the Pizza Museum will be leaving its current location in the Roosevelt Collection,1146 S. Delano Court West, Oct. 13. 

Due to a lifelong passion for pizza by the museum’s founder and director, Kendall Bruns, the free installation consists of his personal collection, including historical menus, business memorabilia and a pizza box wall. Exhibits cover the cuisine’s culinary variations across the country, and it’s role in American history and pop culture.

Visitors can tour the exhibit Friday 18 p.m. and weekends from 11–6 p.m.

The museum has taken on many forms since its inception as a website in 2015, including traveling as a pop-up presentation at the Chicago Pizza Summit in 2016 before occupying its current exhibit space. 

With the museum’s lease at the Roosevelt Collection ending next month, there are currently no plans to move it into another space.

But the museum has no plans of fizzling out in the weeks before it closes, according to Bruns. Events and installations are scheduled until the doors officially close. 

The exhibition’s future is uncertain, but Bruns remains optimistic for its survival, regardless of what form it may take. 

I’m just really excited about telling stories and using whatever medium is best to do that,” said Bruns. “So I’m looking forward to the stories to come.” 

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