Naoko wanted me to post something about this topic, so there we go!
Nowadays, everybody knows what McDonalds is and all it represents... they have many supporters and detractors. However, I will try to keep some distance with respect to my personal opinion and just describe what we visited in Chicago.
McDonalds was founded in 1940 and was based at San Bernardino, California. This restaurant was quite famous in the area and a business man called Ray Kroc decided to take over the restaurant and open a corporation composed of many franchised restaurants. Following this idea, he opened the first franchised restaurant of the corporation in Chicago. Therefore, it can be said this restaurant started McDonalds such as we know it these days. This is the current aspect of that restaurant:
Inside, there is a museum, well... just a few display cabinets with stuff from the corporation since the very beginning, together with an explanation of its history.
Here, some examples... These are some of the early cardboard glasses they used to use back in the 50s-60s.
And this is the first Ronald McDonalds... obviously, aesthetic values have changed quite a lot in 40 years... most kids would be currently scared by such a clown!!
And finally, the original plans for the building of the restaurant. As you can appreciate, the original shape in the 50s is different from the M-shape it has these days.