On June 19, 2008, the Museum of Science and Industry celebrates 75 years of "inspiring the inventive genius" in our more than 175 million guests. We look forward many more years of creating memories and fostering a love of science for those who come through our doors.
Highlights from the Museum's history include:
The Palace of Fine Arts, the Museum's current building, is constructed for the World's Columbian Exposition, which opened the same year. The original, Greek-inspired structure includes three pavilions and Ionic order columns.
Julius Rosenwald, a philanthropist and chairman of Sears, Roebuck and Company, visits Munich's Deutsches Museum with his young son. The boy is captivated by the science museum where exhibits move, and visitors are encouraged to push buttons and work levers. The experience sparks the elder Rosenwald's determination to bring such an institution to his hometown of Chicago.
Rosenwald pledges $3 million toward the creation of an industrial museum in Chicago and galvanizes the city's industrial elite in support of the project. Rosenwald dreams that the new museum will inspire the inventive genius in its guests, encouraging the next generation of engineers, scientists and doctors.
Rosenwald identifies the old Palace of Fine Arts building in Jackson Park as a home for the planned Museum. The years have reduced the Palace to crumbling plaster, but Rosenwald vows to return the building to its former glory. The South Park District passes a $5 million bond issue for its restoration.
On June 19, the Museum opens its great bronze doors for the first time. It is the first museum in North America to feature interactive exhibits.
One of the Museum's first hands-on displays is The Coal Mine. The reproduction of an Illinois coal mine takes visitors 50 feet in a real hoist to the bottom of a mineshaft.
The Museum opens its first Christmas Around the World celebration as a salute to the Allied nations in World War II.
Colleen Moore's Fairy Castle becomes part of the Museum's permanent collection.
The U-505 Submarine arrives at the Museum. Guests are able to board the legendary German U-boat whose capture by the United States Navy helped the Allies win World War II. Today, this prized artifact is one of only five U-boats still in existence and the only one in the United States.
The first baby chick is hatched at the Museum. Now located in the Genetics: Decoding Life exhibit, the Baby Chick Hatchery still excites and amazes guests.
Mathematica: A World of Numbers opens. Charles and Ray Eames, two designers who constantly discovered new ways to fascinate the public, created the exhibit, which was filled with colorful, mesmerizing demonstrations.
The Apollo 8 capsule arrives and becomes the centerpiece of a growing space exhibit at the Museum.
The Henry Crown Space Center opens.
The Museum lands a United Boeing 727 aircraft at Chicago's Meigs Field. The jet is the largest plane ever to land at the airport. From Meigs Field, the 727 is towed across Lake Michigan and over Lake Shore Drive to the Museum, where it is cantilevered to the east balcony as part of the permanent Take Flight exhibit. Take Flight explains commercial flight and allows guest to experience a simulated takeoff and landing.
The Museum opens an underground parking garage. The construction allows the Museum to restore its magnificent front lawn, which had previously been a parking lot. The newly conserved Pioneer Zephyr also opens and is showcased in its new exhibit area next to the garage.
The Museum opens the blockbuster Titanic exhibition and is the first institution to display artifacts from a recent dive to the legendary ship.
The Great Train Story, a 3,500-square-foot model train exhibit that explores rail operations in America, opens. The permanent display replaces the beloved model railroad exhibit and features more than 30 trains racing along 1,400 feet of track on a cross-country trip between Chicago and Seattle.
The Museum celebrates its 70th birthday. The permanent exhibit and technological wonder ToyMaker 3000 debuts, featuring an automated assembly line of 12 robots that make 300 toy tops in an hour.
Live…From the Heart debuts and gives Chicago students the chance to imagine themselves as cardiologists in training by participating in an open-heart surgery via video conference with Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Ill.
In April, as part of the largest restoration effort in the Museum's history, the U-505 submarine is moved almost 1,000 feet and lowered into its new home on the northeast side of the Museum.
Action! An Adventure in Moviemaking, a temporary exhibit developed by the Museum, opens in May. Action! takes visitors to behind the scenes of Hollywood to explore the process of filmmaking.
Gunther von Hagens' BODY WORLDS: The Anatomical Exhibition of Real Human Bodies, an exhibit that had awed more than 16 million people around the world with the complexity of the human body, makes its Midwest debut at the Museum in February.
In June, the new U-505 Submarine exhibit opens to the public. The Museum's prized vessel is now part of an indoor, 35,000-square-foot interactive exhibit that tells the story of its dramatic capture.
The Museum develops and opens Leonardo da Vinci: Man, Inventor Genius in April. This exhibit is the most comprehensive exhibit on Leonardo da Vinci to be presented in the United States.
The Museum opens a renovated Transportation Gallery, which interprets the history of flight in a new, spectacular overhead display. The Farm, becomes Farm Tech, a modernized exhibit addressing current farming technologies and improvements, and the Henry Crown Space Center is renovated to include new exhibits, interactive units and displays on the history and future of space travel.
The Museum's 75th Anniversary celebration takes place in June to commemorate the day the Museum first opened its doors: June 19, 1933. Throughout 2008, the Museum celebrates this landmark year with original, world-premiere temporary exhibits including The Glass Experience, an exploration of the science and art behind glass and glassmaking; and Smart Home: Green + Wired, a three-story modular, eco-friendly exhibit home built on the Museum's property.
- Museum Hours
- Through Friday, May 24: 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Saturday, May 25: 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Sunday, May 26: 11:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
- Open daily except Thanksgiving and Christmas
- Through Friday, May 24: 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Museum Location
Museum of Science+IndustryGetting Here57th Street and Lake Shore DriveChicago, IL 606371 (773) 684-1414
- Happening Now
A stunning look inside the animal kingdom from the creators of BODY WORLDS.
A visually stunning exploration of our planet's perilous ring of orbiting debris.
- Coming Soon
Join us for hands-on projects, student discussions, live science experiences and more!
Revisit the memorable architectural and visual design of Chicago's 1933 World's Fair.
- Become a Member
It's fun, easy, and a great value to earn your "Degree" in science! It's an adventure you don't want to miss.
Support from individuals, corporations and foundations help us fulfill our goal of inspiring all who visit.
Be part of our history of fun by volunteering at the Museum of Science and Industry.