Façade Cleaning: Preserving our World’s Fair Heritage
As the last remaining building from the 1893 Columbian Exposition, we have a responsibility to maintain its World's Fair splendor. The Museum's exterior was recently cleaned to restore the building to its original grandeur by removing 75 years of pollution and grime from the surface and architectural detailing. This process involved soaking the façade with a fine water mist to return the limestone building to its soft sand color.
Designed by Charles B. Atwood, the Palace of Fine Arts paid homage to classic Greek architecture, and, in famed sculptor Augustus St. Gaudens' view, was "the finest thing done since the Parthenon."
In 1893, the Palace of Fine Arts—now the Museum of Science and Industry—was spectacular amid the gleaming white buildings of the Columbian Exposition. By 1920, it was the last remaining building, and its future was uncertain at best.
In 1911, philanthropist Julius Rosenwald visited the Deutsches Museum in Munich, Germany. He and his young son were captivated by a place where things moved, and visitors were encouraged to touch buttons and work levers. He decided to bring such a museum to Chicago.
Rosenwald pledged $3 million. The South Park District passed a $5 million bond issue for restoration, which required that the facade must remain unchanged. The building was completed and opened in 1933, the first hands-on, interactive science museum in the nation.
The Science Rediscovered campaign provided the resource needed to undertake cleaning the entire façade. The Museum's Annual Fund supports the ongoing maintenance and care of the Museum's structure, ensuring that our building remains a jewel in Chicago's crown and an inspiration for generations of children, families and friends to come.
Give a gift today to inspire the inventors, innovators and scientists of tomorrow.
about the museum
The Museum of Science and Industry opened its doors in 1933 and is the largest science museum in the Western Hemisphere.