Giving Props to Props: A Tour of Chicago's Largest Prop House - Atlas Obscura

Chicago, Illinois

Giving Props to Props: A Tour of Chicago's Largest Prop House

Wind your way through thousands of vintage props featured in movies, TV series, and stage productions.

Created specifically for Atlas Obscura's Focus on Film Series, this event welcomes you to a guided tour of Zap Props' 36,000-square-foot warehouse—and the massive amount of treasures inside. Along the way, you'll learn about props, settings, and categories of each. 

For nearly 30 years, Zap Props has rented disco balls, bicycles, neon signs, fake foliage, giant Elvis statues, taxidermied animals, and other ordinary and obscure items to those who mount productions and events in and outside Chicagoland. In fact, Zap has served almost every major production filmed in Chicago (and some that were not) including A League of their Own, High Fidelity, Road to Perdition, Empire, Transformers, Public Enemies, and Chicago Fire.

Meet up with us at Zap Props as Dr. Kelli Marshall (film professor turned Atlas Obscura Field Agent) guides us through the facility, identifying significant props and discussing their purpose and meaning within films. Along the way, you'll have plenty of chances for picture taking; in fact, Zap Props is setting up photo ops just for us. Finally, at the end of the tour, the owners will be on hand for a short Q&A session, and before leaving, you'll have a chance to purchase a vintage prop or two!  

NOTE: Since space in Zap Props is tight, tickets for this event are limited. Book early!


In 1889, Eastman Kodak sold its first strip of film stock, a flexible and transparent material used for recording motion pictures. It's now exactly 130 years later, and while film stock has mostly fallen by the wayside, the images photographed on it remain. For 2019, Atlas Obscura is delighted to focus on film with a series of events curated by Field Agent and film scholar Dr. Kelli Marshall. Taking place in theaters and venues in and around Chicago, these events will explore the moving picture in all its iterations: themes, techniques, characters, genres, directors, stars, and physical locations. Join us in 2019 as we celebrate film stock's 130th birthday and take a deep dive into its contents!

Additional Details

  • Please check in with Kelli just inside Zap Props, 3611 S Loomis Pl, Chicago, IL 60609.
  • This indoor event runs in rain or shine.
  • Limited parking is available.
  • Some content may not be suitable for children under age 13.  
  • The ticket is non-refundable, but you can transfer your purchase by following this handy Eventbrite tutorial.


Email Kelli Marshall at

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Advance tickets only. All sales final. No refunds or exchanges.