The Ultimate Guide to Visiting the Medieval Torture Museum in Chicago in 2023

Thinking of visiting the Windy City? Want to tour something intriguing and unconventional? Well, then our wonderful reader, you have landed on the right blog. Welcome our dearest readers and join us as we embark on an unorthodox journey through time. In this article, we will tour the Medieval Torture Museum in Chicago which harbors a fascinating collection of historical artifacts and detailed exhibits that give a sneak peek into Europe’s dark past. The Medieval Torture Museum is located adjacent to the iconic Chicago Theater on State Street and is the largest interactive historical museum in the Land of Liberty. 

Let’s tour the twisted minds of madmen and murderers as you discover the collection of torture and confinement devices the Medieval Torture Museum harbors, which gives one a spine-tingling look into the darkest part of human history. 

How to Get to the Medieval Torture Museum Chicago?

Dunkard's Cloak

Location – 177 N. State St., Chicago

If you are staying in the loop area, then the best way to reach the museum is on foot. Otherwise, you can opt for the Chicago L train, Red, Brown, Pink, Orange, or Green line, to the State and Lake stop. If you however take the Blue line, then exit Clark/Lake and walk two blocks east to State Street.  

Medieval Torture Museum – Price and Hours of Operation 

Monday to Thursday: 10 am to 8 pm

Friday to Sunday: 10 am to 9 pm

The price of a Medieval Torture Museum ticket for one person is $39.97. Children under 18 are not allowed to enter without an adult. Moreover, those under the age of 10 are admitted free of charge as long as an adult is accompanying them. You can also opt for a combo offer: Medieval Torture Museum + Lincoln Park ghost hunt, which costs $48 per person online, and $65 per person standard or Medieval Torture Museum + hauntings ghost bus tour, which costs $63 per person online and $89 per person standard. To get a ticket to the museum just hop on to the Medieval Torture Museum website.

A Word of Caution 

  • Even though Chicago’s Medieval Torture Museum offers a captivating and unique experience, it might not be suitable for everyone due to its graphic displays.
  • For those planning a family visit with children, some of the exhibits in the museum are quite intense and might disturb children, so consider the trip with kids carefully. 
  • Those who are sensitive to depictions of violence should try to avoid the place. 

Medieval Torture Museum – A Journey Through Time

Medieval Torture Museum guillotine

As you enter the museum lobby, a wall of skulls greets you, which gives you a little taste of what’s to come next. As you walk past the turnstile and up the stairs you begin your journey through the human history of torture. Individual rooms in the museum are lit by candles and give off a feel of real torture chambers. The rooms are occupied by large torture devices and their waxy victims. The dungeon-like walls of the rooms covered with torture illustrations, accessory equipment like chains, whips, braiding irons, etc., and smeared with fake blood evoke feelings of dread and discomfort.  Each installation in the museum harbors a placard that provides a brief summary of the torture method’s history. 

The museum also provides its visitors with a free audio guide that gives more context on the torture devices. While walking through the museum you will come across bizarre tools, some might be familiar, while some like the Brazen Bull, an execution and torture device designed in ancient Greece and used in Sicily might not be so recognizable.

In the olden days, those guilty of crime and treachery would be locked inside the bull and a fire would be set under it, basically cooking the criminal alive. The device also has an acoustic sound element that alters the screams of agony to sound like a bull. Sounds like a nightmare from hell, doesn’t it? 

A more familiar device that you will come across in the Medieval Torture Museum is the guillotine. It was designed to behead the perpetrator swiftly and less painfully. In the olden days, the device was used throughout European countries and is best known for its use during the French Revolution. Thankfully this method of execution was abolished in France in the year 1981 and the last person who was executed via the guillotine was in 1977. The museum lets you try your hand as an executioner, allowing you to pull the rope that releases a sharp oblique blade, beheading the condemned dummy. 

Apart from being an executioner, you can also play the role of a victim by sitting in the spiky Armchair of Inquires, or by posing in the Pillory and the Drunkard’s Cloak. The museum also sells miniatures of various torture devices in its gift shop.

Brazen Bull

Why Should You Visit the Medieval Torture Museum?

Unveil the gruesome history – The Medieval Torture Museum Chicago showcases a variety of authentic torture tools and devices from the Middle Ages. These devices shed light on the brutal methods that were used by the authorities to extract confessions and punish criminals. The museum displays an unparalleled look at the medieval civilization’s darker side by breathing life into the torture instruments. Tt features interactive displays and life-size replicas that transfers one to the olden age of brutality and misery. 

Engaging Storytelling – When you visit the museum, you are given an option for an audio guide that narrates the history of the torture devices, everything from how the device was used and what effects it had on its victims. The museum seamlessly transports guests back in time by creating an eerie atmosphere complete with dim lighting and creepy sound effects. 

Educational Opportunities – Apart from being a gruesomely eye-opening historical experience, a visit to the Medieval Torture Museum can also prove to be an excellent educational opportunity. The museum allows you to explore the consequences of political power abuse, and human cruelty. The devices make one reflect on modern society’s values and ethics. Moreover, instead of encasing the devices in glass closures, the museum has put them on full display, allowing you to not only touch them but also interact with them. 

The History of Torture

Medieval Torture Museum Tongue Torture

During the Middle Ages, as laws weren’t established by a governing office, each town created and enforced its own rules and punishments. These punishments weren’t designed to kill anyone but only to inflict immeasurable deep pain that left victims in misery, disfigurement, or in a mental state of absolute madness. The Medieval Torture Museum explains the stores behind each and every torture device and also sheds light on the role of torture in the legal system. 

Final Thoughts on the Medieval Torture Museum

The Medieval Torture Museum serves as a reminder of how much suffering humankind can inflict in the name of cause and justice and how when the right tools are placed in the hands of tyrants and madmen, they use them to silence their inner demons and satiate their hunger for violence. The devices reflect the true nature of fear with their stomach-churningly gruesome displays.  

Visiting 5 Real-Life Haunted Houses

If diving deep into the human history of torture is not enough nightmare fuel, you can always visit the 5 real-life haunted houses that the United States harbors. Just head on to our article to find out more about these houses and what secrets they hide within their walls.

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