MSI CELEBRATES 80 at 80
Unique artifacts from the Museum’s collection go on display for 80th anniversary
Chicago (June 19, 2013)—The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago (MSI) is celebrating 80 years, and as part of its anniversary commemoration, guests will get a rare glimpse of MSI’s history in its new 80 at 80 exhibit, opening on June 19, 2013.
The exhibit features 80 artifacts that have been specially selected from the Museum’s collection of more than 35,000 pieces. From early inventions to modern advancements in the areas of science, technology and innovation, each artifact will shine a light on the Museum’s—and our world’s—past, present and future. This exhibit runs through February 2, 2014 in the Museum’s Lower Court galleries and is included in Museum Entry.
Many of the items featured will ignite guests’ memories of former MSI exhibits—like a gigantic Paul Bunyan statue from the 1950s World or Hardwoods exhibit and TAM, the Transparent Anatomical Manikin circa 1970—but many are being displayed for the first time.
See how modern-day GPS started with the 1909 Jones Live Map Meter, called the “phonograph of the road.” Check out the engine from a British Supermarine Spitfire plane, made famous during World War II. Several artifacts showcase innovation and societal progress in the categories of audio recording, telecommunication and time keeping. Additional cutting-edge tech innovations are also on display, including a Velodyne LiDAR sensor navigation system, which is used for 3D mobile data collection and may one day allow for self-driving cars. The LiDAR will be demonstrated as part of the exhibition.
“The 80 at 80 exhibit is a fantastic way to not only celebrate the Museum’s rich past, but also to showcase where innovation is taking us in the future,” said Kathleen McCarthy, the Museum’s director of collections. “There are artifacts here that are fun and quirky, designed to amuse our guests, but there are also those that are meant to inform and inspire them—and tell the unique story of where we’ve been and where we might go.”
Other fascinating and quirky artifacts on display include:
- A “dog treadmill” from 1872 that was used on farms to churn butter or power a grain mill.
- A 4-pound can of soup, originally packed in 1884 for a rescue mission to sustain explorers stranded at the North Pole.
- A phonograph record player circa 1900.
- A Specto-Crome “medical” device from 1925. It featured six colored lenses and a light bulb, and each color purported to cure a different malady when the patient sat in front of it.
- Google Glass, eyewear that puts the future of personal technology before our eyes.
- A wall-mounted telephone circa 1893, made by Western Electric for the American Bell Telephone Company.
- A 54-pound, deep-sea diving helmet used in the mid-1800s.
- A more than 6-foot Royal Doulton vase that was exhibited in the World’s Fair of 1893.
Seven iPad kiosks in the exhibit will allow guests to see a detailed photo of each artifact and learn more about each its history and significance.
MSI’s Founding and History
The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago was born out of a trip to Munich, Germany in 1911. It was on this trip that Museum’s founder, Julius Rosenwald, visited Munich’s Deutsches Museum with his 8-year-old son. His son was captivated by the science museum, where exhibits moved, and guests were encouraged to push buttons and work levers. The experience sparked the elder Rosenwald’s determination to bring an interactive learning institution to his hometown of Chicago.
In 1933, Rosenwald’s dream to bring such a Museum—“a center for industrial enlightenment”—to life, came true. On June 19, 1933, the Museum opened its doors to guests and debuted the Coal Mine. Guests could actually step on a hoist and descend into an Illinois coal mine to learn how mining worked and the science behind it. It was unlike anything anyone had seen at a Museum before, and from there MSI started its tradition of groundbreaking, hands-on exhibits that can’t be found anywhere else.
About the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago (MSI)
The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago (MSI), one of the largest science museums in the world, offers world-class and uniquely interactive science experiences that inspire inventive genius and foster curiosity. Through groundbreaking and award-winning exhibits that can’t be found anywhere else, to Live Science Experiences that make you the scientist—a visit to MSI is where fun and learning mix. Through its Center for the Advancement of Science Education (CASE), MSI offers a variety of student, teacher and family programs that make a difference in communities and contribute to the Museum’s larger vision: to inspire and motivate children to achieve their full potential in science, technology, medicine and engineering. Come visit and find your inspiration! MSI is open 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas day. Extended hours, until 5:30 p.m., are offered during peak periods. The Museum is supported in part through the generosity of the people of Chicago through the Chicago Park District. For more information, find MSI online at msichicago.org or call (773) 684-1414 or (800) GO-TO-MSI outside of the Chicago area.
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- 80 at 80 Exhibit
- The Museum’s 80 at 80 exhibit features a selection of artifacts from the Museum’s collection, selected by curatorial staff. Among the group: the Transparent Anatomical Manikin, or TAM, which was on display at MSI in the 1970s. [J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry]
- Paul Bunyan Returns
- The exhibit features a replica of the Paul Bunyan head that was in MSI’s World of Hardwoods exhibit, which opened in the 1950s. It is known for spooking generations of our smaller museum-goers! [J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry]
- Galton Quincunx
- Two guests study the Galton Quincunx, a probability machine developed by Sir Francis Galton, dating back to 1933. [J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry]
- iPad kiosks in the exhibit give greater insight into each of the 80 artifacts. [J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago]
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