In 1914, Bessie Bennett was made the curator of Decorative Arts at the Art Institute, which also made her the first woman appointed to a major curatorial position in the United States. Chicagoans would have known her from an impressively condescending Daily Tribune headline in 1911: “Woman Expert from Art Institute Who Will Study Museums Abroad.” Whatever. She became a major figure in Chicago art circles, won medals from the French government, put on totally badass shows, and brought American attention to esoteric topics like historical silver and Swedish design.
111 S. Michigan, artic.edu
Best of Chicago 2016