‘Notorious RBG’: A Love Letter to Ruth Bader Ginsburg Arrives in Chicago

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a formidable icon. The second woman to be appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court, she is a trailblazer, having championed gender equality early in her career as a lawyer, which included launching the American Civil Liberties Union Women’s Rights Project. Known for her perseverance and notable dissents, she has become a pop culture icon, appearing on T-shirts and even a bobble head, and inspiring films and novels.

One of the most popular books — the New York Times bestselling “Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg” by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik — has moved from page to an interactive exhibit of the same name, and is making its Midwest debut at the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center on Feb. 9, 2020.

Notorious RBG Illinois Holocaust Museum Exhibit
Notorious RBG book cover illustration by Adam Johnson. Courtesy of HarperCollins. Photographs: Crown © by Hurst Photo/Shutterstock; Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States.

“Notorious RBG,” which started as a Tumblr blog, is more than a love letter to Ginsburg. Curated by the Skirball Cultural Center’s associate curator, Cate Thurston, in partnership with Carmon and Knizhnik, it is the first-ever exhibit focused solely on the judicial icon. The result is a vibrant exploration of Ginsburg’s life and her numerous, often simultaneous roles as a student, wife, mother, lawyer, judge, pioneer, and internet phenomenon.

Running through Aug. 16, 2020, the exhibition tells Ginsburg’s story using a dynamic array of interactive elements, including listening stations, archival photographs, 3D re-imaginations of key places in her life, historical documents, home videos, official portraits, and contemporary art. Guests can even try on a Supreme Court robe. The same playful connection from the book between Notorious RBG and rapper Notorious B.I.G. is also present throughout the exhibit — the name of each gallery section alludes to a song or lyric from the late hip-hop artist.

Skirball Cultural Center "Notorious RBG"
Photo courtesy of Skirball Cultural Center.

“A key part of our mission at the Museum is teaching universal lessons to combat hatred, prejudice, and indifference,” says Illinois Holocaust Museum CEO Susan Abrams. “Few people convey these lessons more vividly than Ruth Bader Ginsburg. For decades, she has been one of America’s great champions of equality. We are thrilled to host this exhibition and empower our visitors to be Upstanders like RBG.”

Throughout the seven-month run, the museum will hold special events and programming, including a Q&A with the authors of “Notorious RBG;” a celebration of Ginsburg in song; and a discussion with her children, Jim and Jane Ginsburg.

The exhibit is free with museum admission. Learn more about the schedule and special programming here.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg and husband Marty
RBG and her husband, Marty, travel to Paris, 1988. (Photo courtesy of Justice Ginsburg’s Personal Collection.)

Want to win a 2-pack of tickets to the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center to see “Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg”?

Five winners will be selected randomly (receiving 2 tickets each). Enter to win below!

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Winners will be chosen at random on Feb. 16, 2020. Winners will be notified by email and entry tickets will be held at Illinois Holocaust Museum. Entry is valid for one year. No monetary value.