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The Cantigny Experience at a glance:
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Project New Leaf

Current Construction Conditions

PICNIC AREA UPDATE BELOW

The areas in gray shown on the map below indicate areas closed for revitalization. Please note this includes the Playground, *Picnic Area and parts of the gardens just west of the Robert R. McCormick House. Read more about the project below the map.

**We have reopened a large portion of the picnic area.  However, not all of it has been completed. We've added a coal receptacle and tables near the **Red Bandshell, so you may grill there. If you just want to enjoy a picnic without grilling, feel free to lay a blanket in the Parade Field in front of the Visitors Center. **Be advised there may be events in the Red Bandshell OR Parade Field that could impact your picnic. Please check our calendar of events for dates and times.

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Building the future of Cantigny Park

In 2017, Cantigny Park begins Project New Leaf, a multiyear revitalization plan. Years of planning preceded the flurry of activity now underway in our gardens and museums. Some plans are still evolving, but our vision is clear and simple: to make this special place even better for you and future generations of Cantigny visitors.

In his will, Robert R. McCormick assigned his Cantigny estate to the people. His remarkable gift, a 500-acre suburban oasis, is dedicated to education, recreation and community engagement. Cantigny is funded and operated by the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, a Chicago-based public charity. The Foundation's board of directors and all of us at Cantigny are dedicated to preserving this beloved local treasure. We also look for opportunities to improve it, using feedback from park visitors to help guide our decisions.

Certain features of Cantigny Park will close temporarily during Project New Leaf but a full calendar of concerts, classes, lectures, workshops and festivals is planned for 2017. A few events, such as symphony concerts outside the First Division Museum, will not be possible.

Thank you for your patience. We are confident that Project New Leaf will deliver a superior guest experience for all Cantigny visitors.

Gardens & Grounds

The transformation ahead includes the most dramatic landscape changes since Cantigny Park opened in 1958. New display gardens will be created and existing gardens renewed. Enhanced vistas and sightlines will "open up" Cantigny and unify its elements. We're also investing in new pathways to make it easier and safer to get around, plus more outdoor lighting. Key improvements are scheduled for the parking areas, picnic grounds and Visitors Center as well.

First Division Museum

One of Cantigny's crown jewels, the First Division Museum is receiving its first major update since the current museum opened in 1992. The new gallery dedicated to the "Big Red One's" 1st Infantry Division's centennial opened on Saturday, August 26.  

McCormick House

Project New Leaf involves Cantigny's iconic landmark, too. Changes inside Robert R. McCormick's former residence so far include new exhibits and self-guided tour options. Longer term, we envision the mansion becoming much more than a museum. Ideas under review include spaces for meetings and receptions and creating opportunities for civic engagement. Structural work on the historic home will continue, such as the newly renovated staircase on the north portico.

Have a question? Please send it to newleaf@cantigny.org.

Keep up with Project New Leaf

We'll be sending updates to our New Leaf list (sign up below), posting regularly on Facebook and Instagram, and adding content to this webpage.​

New Leaf Photo Gallery

Visit for renderings, videos, construction photos and more.​
Construction Webcam

Check out our live construction webcam.
You're invited to subscribe to our free quarterly e-newsletter, New Leaf.