FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
SCROLL DOWN FOR VIRTUAL & IN-PERSON EVENT FAQ
What do your events cost? Are they free?
We offer our public programming on a pay-what-you-can basis. We suggest a donation of $10-20 per person, but invite you to contribute whatever amount fits your budget. If you are experiencing financial hardship, you may absolutely attend our events for free! Folks more comfortable in their financial standing are encouraged to donate to help fund the organization. More than 90% of our income comes from your contributions. You can donate online via credit or debit card here!
Can I pay with cash or a check?
While in-person events are on hiatus, we are unable to take cash — but you most certainly can mail a check. Please email us for our mailing address.
Is this a "real" nonprofit? Is my donation tax-deductible?
Yes we are! We are incorporated as a nonprofit organization in the State of Illinois and are tax-exempt as specified under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. We automatically provide donation receipts via email after your donation is complete.
I want to get involved with your organization. How can I help?
How exciting! You can sign up to volunteer here, or contact us to inquire about becoming a tour guide or lecturer.
What qualifications do I need to lecture or give tours for your organization?
Very few! All we ask is that you currently live or work in Chicago and have a passion for educating others about your city. We provide training on research methodology, tour planning, public speaking, & more at no cost. We give preference to minorities, women, experts in South & West side neighborhoods, and those with lived experience relating to the topics or areas they aim to showcase.
Are your events child-friendly?
We believe our content is generally appropriate for history-loving humans of all ages. However, you may occasionally hear a swear word or two, and some events/tours discuss vice districts, corrupt politicians, murders, and other potentially "scandalous" information, so be sure to email us in advance if you want a rundown of the event's content to proof it for your kiddo.
ATTENDING VIRTUAL EVENTS
How do I watch / join the event?
Do I need to register to attend the event? Do I need a ticket to attend? Can you send me a link via email?
Nope! Registration is not required and tickets are not needed to attend. However, if you want to ask a question, you will need to create & login to a free Google account prior to joining the event. We do not have the staffing resources to send everyone an email with the link. Our events page has all the links.
Will the event be recorded? What if I miss some or all of the event? What if I'm running late?
Yes! The event will be recorded and posted on our website and Facebook page within 48 hours of the event's conclusion. If you miss part of the event, you can watch the recording!
Does this event have captions?
Yes! Google Meet will auto-generate captions if you turn the setting on. Here are some instructions! Keep in mind that robots are writing them... so they may be a little weird, and will appear at a slight delay.
Ahhhh! I can't join the event!
Try refreshing the page or restarting your app. Still no luck? Try using the Google Chrome browser to access the event. Stuck on the video preview page? Be patient... our hardworking moderators are manually admitting you to the event. Has it been a weirdly long time and you're still not admitted? Refresh the page. Make sure it is the right day and time. Our events are scheduled in central (Chicago) time.
Oh no. The video or audio aren't working.
Refresh the page or restart your app. Make sure you are connected to wifi — mobile networks can be spotty. Make sure you are using a compatible browser (Google Chrome works best), and that you have allowed Meet to use your camera and microphone. See step-by-step troubleshooting tips here that solve most common problems! If you try everything and still can't get access the event, remember that we'll post a recording you can watch later.
How come I don't hear myself talking?
Our volunteer moderators will be muting participants while the presenter is talking. If you want to ask a question or need help from a moderator, please use the chat function!
The video keeps skipping around to different people! Can I change it? Can I pick who appears on my screen?
Yes you can! Read how to change your video layout here. You can also hover over someone's video and tap the push pin icon to keep them front and center.
My question isn't here / I need technical support!
Our all-volunteer staff juggles many, many plates. If you are able to login to the event, you can try asking our moderators and other attendees for help in the chat. Unfortunately, we cannot provide individualized tech support to all of our participants. If you are not able to watch the event live, send us an email and we'll try to help you for next time. You can always watch the recording — we'll have one up within 48hrs.
How do I ask a question? Can I give feedback to the lecturer? Is it live?
Yes, our events will happen live, at the time specified, in the central (Chicago) time zone. To ask a question or leave a comment, you will need to create & login to a free Google account prior to joining the event. Please do not turn on your microphone to ask your question. Type your question or comment into the chat box. To open the chat box, look for the little talk bubble icon. Here are detailed instructions for the chat function. Our moderators will copy your question and send it to the speaker to answer. The speaker may not be able to answer all questions, but they'll try!
What technology do I need to participate? Can I join by phone or tablet?
We recommend joining by computer for the best experience, but yes — you can also use your phone or tablet. Google Chrome is the browser that works best. Make sure to download the Google Meet app if you plan to login via phone or tablet.
How do I use Google Meet?
We chose Google Meet because it is very, very simple to figure out. If you have never used it before, try creating a new instant meeting all by yourself at some point before the event. Poke around and familiarize yourself with what the buttons do! The only features you need to know for our events are: mute on/off (please mute yourself during the presentation), video on/off (please don't show anyone your naughty bits), and the chat feature (to ask questions).
Can I watch on Facebook instead?
You can! We will be livestreaming the events to Facebook Live from Google Meet. There is a 12-second delay, and glitches may occur. We recommend joining the Google Meet for a better experience. To watch on Facebook:
What's this happy hour thing about?
Do you like cocktails and talking to other Chicagoans that like history? Awesome! Tune in before the lecture — starting at 5:30pm — for an informal virtual happy hour. At 5:40pm, one of Chicago's fabulous bartenders will drop in to teach you how to make a cool cocktail. Buy ingredients in advance so you can follow along.... here's the list. The lecture will start at 6pm, and uses the same link/meeting room... so don't go anywhere! The happy hour is optional. Please tip your bartender, because it has been a very tough year for bartenders.
Is tipping the bartender the same as donating to the organization?
No it is not. Any tip you send to the bartender goes directly to them. We recommend tipping the bartender on Venmo. Their usernames can be found here. If you don't have (or don't want to get) Venmo, you can tip your bartender using our website donation page. Add a comment and tell us how much of your donation we should send to the bartender. Unless specified otherwise, donations sent to us through our website will fund our nonprofit and cover the costs of the lecturer's appearance.
ATTENDING WALKING TOURS
Do I need to register to attend a tour?
Yes, please. It's very difficult for our guides to give tours to groups of more than 40 people, so we ask that everyone attending the tour please register on Eventbrite using the RSVP link provided. That way, we can keep our numbers in check and ensure everyone has a good time. We also ask that you sign off on a liability waiver, which is embedded into the registration.
How can I pay for my tour?
Cash, check, card, volunteering, you name it! Our staff carry Square readers and can accept credit card donations before or after each event. You may also donate online on our website — in advance, or after you attend the tour — either is fine! There is also an option to donate through our Eventbrite registration pages, although they take as much as 5% of your donation.
How do I get a donation receipt?
As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, your contributions are tax-deductible. We provide physical donation receipts at the conclusion of our events and can also email one to you. Donating digitally (via card or online) means you'll automatically receive a donation receipt via email once it has processed.
How do I cancel my ticket?
Please follow Eventbrite's handy-dandy tutorial on how to cancel your free registration. We have no paid administrative staff and appreciate you taking the time to cancel your ticket if you can no longer attend. Please note: if you registered for a spot on the tour and donated through Eventbrite at the same time, you might have some trouble canceling your ticket. Just email us, and we'll get it sorted out.
Can I book a private tour?
Yes! Visit the Private Tour section of our site.
Can I bring my dog on a tour?
Yes!! We love dogs! However... do be aware that tours are often noisy, hot or cold, full of people, etc. Lots of people will probably want to pet your pup. It's best for everyone if you have a friendly dog who is not easily startled by crowds. Please remember to also ensure your little buddy is properly hydrated.
Can I bring my child along?
Absolutely! See "Are your events child-friendly?" above. Keep in mind that our walking tours can be pretty long, distance-wise (up to 3 miles), so do bring water, strollers, and comfy shoes. If your little one gets tired, cranky, or bored, and you would like to leave the tour a bit early, that's no problem. We understand!
Ewww.... the weather looks bad. Is it cancelled?
Nope! We run tours rain-or-shine. If things are looking ultra-dicey and we do end up cancelling, we'll be sure to send you lots of emails.
What are these punch cards? What do I do if I fill mine up?
We give all of our first time tour-takers Certified History Lover punch cards at the start of each event. We want to encourage you to keep coming on tours and learning about your city! Click on over to this page of our website.
How will I find the tour guide? Who is leading the tour?
Make sure to read the event description closely and meet at the location specified. Look for the person holding a clipboard and looking for you! You can find a list of our guides here. Usually, it's Patti and the "special guest collaborator" specified in the event description.
Ahhhh!!! I can't find the group anywhere!!!!
Double check the event description: are you in the right spot at the right time? Check other exits: we usually meet at El stations, and some have multiple entrances. Do a quick lap around the starting location, keeping your eyes peeled for a big group. Sometimes we're just standing off to the side to get out of the way of pedestrian traffic. You can definitely call or text us, but remember that we're often juggling too many aspects of check-in to pickup the phone.
What if I'm running late?
Please leave yourself adequate wiggle room to get to the start location on time — we aren't able to hold the group to wait for latecomers. We tend to cover the history of our first stop right off the bat, so if you're less than 10 minutes late, you can usually find us somewhere close to the starting point. Know in advance you'll be running behind? Check your email for a copy of the route map, or email us at least half an hour before the tour begins. Please do not call us if you are running late. Our guides are usually unable to take your call.
I'm hearing impaired or have trouble walking. Can I still come?
Yes! Unfortunately, we don't have the financial capacity to provide artificial amplification on our tours (yet). Folks who are hearing impaired are encouraged to notify the guide and make their way to the front of the group. We will do our best to make sure you can hear and have a good time!
Tours stay primarily on paved paths and sidewalks; however, these routes may still include potholes and uneven surfaces. Folks who have trouble walking are welcome to join us for as long as they are able. If mobility concerns are an issue, but you're dying to know what's covered on the tour, email us! We will bend over backwards to make sure you can learn along with us... one way or another.
How many miles is the tour? What do I wear? Are there bathroom breaks?
Tours are generally 2-3 miles long. You should wear comfy shoes, clothing appropriate for the weather, and some water. We do not schedule bathroom breaks, but you can certainly dip out at any time to find one.
Can I leave the tour or event early?
You are more than welcome to leave early, but please notify your tour guides before doing so. We also encourage you to tip before you go if you're able!
I did not enjoy my event, and would like a refund.
We're sorry to hear that! Because we are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, your donations are tax-deductible. In most cases, we do not offer refunds. However, you are welcome to email us to ask.