Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago 2020

Opened in 1933 for the Chicago Century of Progress, MSI is housed in an original 1893 building from the Columbian Exposition. It became a permanent fixture in 1933 and the building had to be upgraded significantly as it wasn't built to last in 1893.

Covering 14 acres and 400,000 square feet, it's a massive edifice of science and industrial displays and artifacts.

It's the only remaining building from either exposition, located south of downtown in Jackson Park.

The Arrival

I took the Metra commuter line from Millennium station to 53rd street (you're probably better off going to 56th), and walked through the local neighborhoods to reach the grounds.

The Grounds

There is lots of green space around the museum in a very upscale neighborhood. The architecture is so much Greek revival I almost started quoting Socrates.
With all these Athenas I cannot help but get smarter On the lake since 1893


They dug an entrance 3 stories deep to handle the crowds. Since it was glorious pandemic times, there was no crowd. In fact, I don't know if even 60 people were in the museum.
Lotsa spaceTrue center of the museum


Ever since I was a little kid visiting here, the German 505 submarine was always a hit with me. About 12 years ago, they spent millions of dollars and created a u-boat pen to house it, along with a great active set of displays detailing the hunt and capture of this killing machine.
HUGE Cramped quarters for those up front
Rank has it's privileges The purpose of the capture, an intact Enigma encoding machine

Transportation Hall

As one would expect, this is an entire hall dedicated to transportation. It features a huge train layout showing movement from Seattle to Chicago, old trains, and planes. Pretty cool stuff for an overgrown kid like myself.
Seattle and the port
Downtown Chicago, buildings are NOT all in the correct places Probably still more comfortable than a United flight today
Regularly ran 100+ mph on 40 foot rail sections, bolted together...

Weather Hall

An entire hall dedicated to weather. There are lots of interactive displays, including tornados, avalanches, and lightning. Kids don't want to leave it.
Of course tornados, central Illinois is lousy with them
Lighting simulation, Tesla generated Showing how avalanches form and cascade over themselves

Other Areas

There are a lot of dedicated areas in the museum, but few as dramatic as the previous ones listed.

Colleen Moore's Fairy House. An international movie star in the 20s and 30s, she gave it all up, married a widower and had a series of dollhouses built starting in 1929, including this, her eighth one.
The books have writing, the fixtures work, the gems are real Each room has a fantasy theme
All told, with real items, worth over $7,000,000
Space Wing, with various historical and future looking exhibits, plus the "Omni" theatre.
Actual Apollo 8 capsule Tasty space food.... I doubt it
The extremely popular chick hatchery that has been here since I can remember.
Tiring experience Fluff babies!
Miscellaneous displays
Representation of shops and such from 1800s Chicago A collection of significant cars through the ages Original whisper gallery that focuses the smallest sound from one side to the other
The circus did indeed used to come to town This is after he saw his new tax bill Neat, but is it in vein?
Pendulum never turns itself, the earth does below it Sadly closed for orders but sells a really cool, customizable, gryoscope top you can watch being made


A combination of old school age of exploration and modern interpretations, in what seems an endless, sometimes warrenlike maze of passages and rooms.

Food is available onsite, but is quite pricey. Entrance fee is not cheap either, but family memberships or reciprocal memberships can take a bite out of that.

Tons of STEM items in the shop, plus museum swag to promote your nerdom.

I have been visiting since 1971, and always look forward to coming here.

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