One of my favorite places to visit in Chicago is the Roger Brown Study Collection in Lincoln Park. Brown left his studio, and his vast collection of art and objects to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago when he died, and the School has kept it preserved as a museum. Henry Darger, Gladys Nilson, Jim Nutt and others hang from the walls in his beautiful upstairs apartment, but what gets me excited is the overwhelming collection of other things.
Hand painted signs, Boy Scout knot diagrams, popsicle stick chapels, beer trays, hurse doors. Lisa Stone, the collection's curator gave my class a great introduction to the collection, pointing out connections that she and others have made between specific objects and specific shapes, images and themes in Roger's work. In a city that is bursting at the seams with second hand shops, Roger Brown makes all but the most minimalist artist inspired to collect.
*The collection is primarily available to the SAIC community, but private viewings and tours are possible. See this link for more info.