MSI STAY COMES TO A CLOSE FOR MONTH AT THE MUSEUM 2 WINNER, KEVIN BYRNE
A monthlong adventure complete, Kevin returns home with a set of amazing experiences and $10,000!
CHICAGO (Nov. 17, 2011)—It’s been a month of adventure and learning for Kevin Byrne of Chicago, but the time has finally come to say goodbye to his temporary home at the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago (MSI).
Kevin, the winner of MSI’s Month at the Museum 2 contest, rose to the top of nearly 1,000 applicants to win the right to live at the Museum 24/7, explore every nook and cranny of the 14-acre building, share his experiences with the public and walk away with a $10,000 prize. The 33-year-old digital media analyst moved into the largest science Museum in the Western Hemisphere on Oct. 19, 2011 and from there, it’s been a whirlwind of discovery.
Kevin’s spent time diving into the Museum’s various exhibits, unlocking behind-the-scenes areas, and interacting with students, teachers and guests. He slept in the most unusual of places: the Coal Mine, the human-sized Hamster Wheel, the Science Storms 40-foot indoor tornado, in the aisle of the 727, next to the Lunar Landing Training Module and more.
And through themed days that focused on particular aspects of the Museum’s collection or areas of science, he’s gained a deeper appreciation of the world of science that’s all around him. Along the way, he’s been plugged into the public through his blog, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, sharing his enlightening and entertaining experiences:
- Learning along with Chicago-area teachers at an energy-related development course during School Day.
- Speaking with today’s top inventors including Moto chef Homaru Cantu and vertical farming innovator Dickson Despommier on Innovation Day—and meeting the Mayor of Chicago as well!
- Visiting Garfield Farm, where the Museum gets its Chick Hatchery eggs, as part of Farm Day, and then watching those eggs hatch three weeks later.
- Taking in a Museum Crime Lab with students, testing DNA and meeting law enforcement from around the world as part of Forensics Day.
- Touring City Hall’s green roof, learning how beekeeping helps our environment and exploring the Smart Home on Green Day.
- Watching open-heart surgery take place in real-time on Health Day and speaking with a former heart surgery patient about his experiences with the operation.
- Celebrating Design Day with a trip to MSI’s FabLab (Fabrication Laboratory) and then competing in a roller-coaster building competition against members of MSI’s after-school science clubs.
- Touring the Haunted Coal Mine, blowing up and smashing some pumpkins and listening to some MSI ghost stories on Spooky Science Day.
- Dissecting cow eyeballs and owl pellets and learning that “Poop Happens” on Gross Science Day.
- Celebrating Tiny Day by touring Colleen Moore’s Fairy Castle; exploring the space for our smallest of guests, the Idea Factory; and examining one of our smallest artifacts, a strand of Abraham Lincoln’s hair.
- Creating slime and attending an “Atom Party” for Chemistry Day.
- Taking in Book Day with an exploration of the high-tech stack system at the University of Chicago’s Mansueto Library as well as reading some “Seuss” to Museum guests.
- Enjoying Food Day by Skyping with Jeff Potter of Cooking for Geeks fame and then cooking dinner with teen Science Achievers in the Museum’s Smart Home, with the help of a Whole Foods Market chef.
- Visiting meteorologist Tom Skilling in the WGN Weather Center in honor of Weather Day and then getting an in-depth tour of Science Storms with the exhibit developers who made it happen.
- Exploring the inner workings of The Great Train Story model railroad and Pioneer Zephyr and then seeing how a modern-day rail system operated with a visit to the CTA Control Center on Train Day.
- Learning his pulleys from his levers and even seeing how our Mold-a-Ramas are made during Machines Day.
- Spending Veterans Day speaking and volunteering with former submariners in the U-505 Submarine exhibit, Skyping with crewmembers of the USS Chicago sub and then bunking for the night in the U-505.
- Learning how to control giant Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloons and helping to decorate for Christmas Around the World on Holi-Day.
- Participating in a Mission to Mars videoconference with NASA and exploring the Henry Crown Space Center as part of Space Day ... and much more!
“The themes really encouraged me to seek out new experiences both within the Museum and through related field trips,” said Kevin. “The experiences that were put together for me were really one-of-a-kind, and allowed me to dig a bit deeper into the science behind the exhibits. From them, I’ll be taking amazing memories and newfound knowledge with me when I leave MSI.”
As Kevin wraps up his 30th and final day at MSI, at 10:30 a.m. on Nov. 17, he will assist in the lighting of the Museum’s 45-foot Grand Tree, a highlight of the Museum’s 70th Annual Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light exhibits. Then he’ll complete a final blog post, pack up his things (and some newly acquired Museum memorabilia) and receive a fond farewell from his MSI staff family as he heads out the Museum doors.
“Kevin has been a wonderful addition to MSI during his monthlong stay,” said Rob Gallas, vice president and chief marketing officer of the Museum. “He has approached each day with curiosity, energy and an open mind, and because of that, he has really taken advantage of all this experience had to offer him. He will return home having learned a lot about science and himself, and because he’s a great storyteller, the public has enjoyed learning along with him.”
For more information about Month at the Museum 2, and to hear a new podcast interview from Kevin about his monthlong stay at MSI, visit monthatthemuseum.org.
Month at the Museum 2 is generously sponsored by CB2, Best Buy and Geek Squad, Whole Foods Market and Sodexo.
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 experiences that inspire inventive genius and foster curiosity. From groundbreaking and award-winning exhibits that can’t be found anywhere else, to hands-on opportunities 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), the Museum offers a variety of student, teacher and family programs that make a difference in communities and contribute to MSI’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 9:30–4 p.m. every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas day. Extended hours, until 5:30 p.m., are offered during peak periods. The Museum is grateful for the support of its donors and guests, who make its work possible. MSI is also supported in part by the people of Chicago through the Chicago Park District. For more information, visit msichicago.org or call (773) 684-1414 or (800) GO-TO-MSI outside of the Chicago area.
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