Why every Chicagoan needs to visit the Museum of Science and Industry
There are some popular tourist attractions in Chicago that locals don’t need to visit to appreciate this city, like the Sears Willis Tower (a boring office building that happens to be tall), but then there are others, like the Museum of Science and Industry, that everyone must see at least once. If you live in Chicago but have avoided the MSI, it is time to rethink that choice.
Now, chanced are, if you grew up in Chicago, you have already been to the MSI for at least one field trip. You may have gone to watch the baby chicks in the incubator, to see the IMAX Theater, or maybe visit the U-505. These brief field trips just don’t do The Museum of Science and Industry justice.
The museum’s campus was originally part of the White City (the World’s Fair). You may have read the book Devil in the White City, which gives plenty of background on the construction of the buildings that were part of the celebration. You can still see the ornate detail that was part of the original design of these buildings, which were originally meant to be temporary. To get an idea of just how big the World’s Fair was, the Field Museum/Adler Planetarium/Shedd Aquarium campus mark the northern end of the fair, with the entire event spreading all the way south to the MSI.
At The Museum of Science and Industry, science is seamlessly blended with history and other subjects to create a learning experience that will astound kids while teaching us grown-ups a few things too. The campus holds over fourteen acres of exhibits, including the coal mine, the Pioneer Zephyr, the U-505, Colleen Moore’s Fairy Castle, Farm Tech, and Earth Revealed. In addition to these permanent exhibits, the MSI plays host to many temporary exhibits, which change throughout the year.
One of the best times of year to visit the museum is at Christmastime. The Christmas Around the World Exhibit is the city’s best Christmas display, but many residents know nothing about it. The large hall of the museum is filled with enormous trees, each of which are decorated in the Christmas tradition of another country’s culture. It is a breathtaking sight to see, regardless of your religious preferences.
Don’t forget to plan some time to walk through the older exhibits in the Museum. There are plenty of hallways with slightly hidden gems, like Yesterday’s Main Street, which are well worth the look.
While there are some tourist traps you will want to avoid, The Museum of Science and Industry is definitely not one of them. For more information on planning a trip, you can visit the museum website.