Museum of Science and Industry


Month at the MuseumTM 2 will choose one person to take on this assignment: spend a month at the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago (MSI) to live and breathe science 24/7 for 30 days. From Oct. 19 to Nov. 17, 2011, this person's mission will be to experience all the fun and education that fits in this historic 14-acre building, living here and reporting your experience to the outside world. There will be plenty of time to explore the Museum and its exhibits after hours, with access to rarely seen nooks and crannies of this 77-year-old institution.

Sure, it's a commitment. But it’s also the chance of a lifetime.  Our friend Kate McGroarty did it just last year. She and we had a great time, and thousands of people followed along, which is why we're doing it again and adding some new elements.

We’re looking for a good communicator.  Excellent writing skills are a must. Having some experience with speaking in public, media interviews and blogging would be ideal. An outgoing nature will help when you're interacting with our guests and making public appearances. For your reporting via blog, Twitter and online video, it’s also a plus to possess some Web savvy and photography skills.

The Prize

The winning applicant who completes the requirements of Month at the Museum 2 will be awarded $10,000. In addition, he or she will keep the technology gear package (including a new notebook computer and digital camera) provided to document and report the experience.

Requirements of Month at the Museum 2

Besides having fun, we do have a few rules for the winner. The winning candidate must:

  • Pass a drug test, behavioral assessment and background checks.
  • Sign an agreement covering the terms of the engagement.
  • Sign a confidentiality/non-disclosure agreement.  (We have a secret recipe for fun, and it can't get out.)
  • Agree to very limited contact with the outside world, and limited and/or prohibited personal use of cell phone, texting, e-mail, Facebook, etc., during the residence period.
  • Reside exclusively in the Museum during the residence period. Occasionally, the candidate will leave the Museum to see science where it happens or appear at events on the Museum's behalf.
    Following the 30-day resident period, make a few event appearances, if the Museum opts to arrange them.

Physical and other specific requirements of the position may include:

  • Sleeping in “untraditional” spaces.
  • Significant walking around the Museum, including climbing stairs.
  • Meeting, interacting and socializing with crowds of Museum guests every day … with a smile.
  • Working on a computer daily to write about your amazing experiences.
  • Speaking English for demonstrations and other appearances.

We've got important stuff in our Museum, and we like to keep the place nice. Rules of the house:

  • Absolutely no visitors overnight or when the Museum is closed to the public. 
  • There is no smoking or drinking alcoholic beverages on the Museum premises at any time.

Rules and Regulations

  • You may enter only once for Month at the Museum 2. Submitting multiple entries will disqualify you from the competition. (Applicants to the original Month at the Museum are welcome to apply again, but materials must be revised to coincide with this year’s new application package.)
  • You must not be previously or currently employed by the Museum, or related to or a member of the same household as an MSI employee, contractor or volunteer.
  • You must be age 18 or over at the time of submitting your application.
  • You must be legally allowed to receive compensation for services in the United States. 
  • You must be available to live in the Museum for 30 days with no outside personal or work responsibilities. Semi-finalists may be required to submit evidence of their physical and mental fitness to fulfill the position specifications.

Deadline for Entries Has Passed

Entry materials were due at MSI no later than 5 p.m. Central Daylight Time on Monday, July 25, 2011. Entries received after that time will not be processed.

What Applicants Had to Send

Entry Materials

Applications for Month at the Museum 2 require the following (see the Application Form for complete instructions):

  • VIDEO: A 60-second video on DVD telling us about what you would do with 30 days at MSI. How would you make learning fun? Showcase the creativity and qualities that make you the right person, and be sure we see and hear you (it's the whole point).  The DVD must be playable on a standard DVD player. (Please test your disc before sending. Sorry, non-playable entries will be rejected.)
  • ESSAY: A 500-word essay describing why you want to live in the Museum for a month. What do you hope to get out of the experience?
  • PHOTOS: Two (2) 5x7” photos of yourself.  Photos should be the same.
  • APPLICATION FORM: Completed and signed application form, including answering all questions and signing the Release and Waiver within the form.

Entry Mailing

Send entries (tracking recommended; see Application Form for mailing requirements) to:

Month at the Museum 2
c/o Museum of Science and Industry
5700 S. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60637-2093

Because of the large volume of entries received, we cannot confirm receipt of your entry.

Applications become property of the Museum, and we reserve the right to post essays, pictures or videos online (either partially or entirely). Materials sent to the Museum will not be returned.

Best Practices for Your Application

  • Pretend it's second grade and put your name on everything possible. If it can get separated from other items, label it.
  • With a couple thousand entries to judge, we love simplicity.  While elaborate document binding can be lovely and professional in appearance, it also slows the processing and distribution of your application, making it that much longer before judges can behold your application's splendor.  Think simple interior envelope, binder clip or other single-step-to-freedom device to secure your documents inside the mailing envelope.
  • We absolutely love all applications the same. Yet applications that don't arrive at the absolutely last possible hour mean we don’t have to stay late and eat cold pizza judging the crush of last-minute arrivals.
    Keep a backup of your application materials, in the highly unlikely case we would have to ask for a replacement.
  • We’d love you to post your video online to YouTube and then give us the URL for the video on your application where we give you the option to list it.

Judging and Timeline

Entries will be reviewed and judged by a panel of Museum team members of varying qualifications, one being they picked a pretty darn good winner last year.

Semi-finalists will be notified by the Museum by mid-August for a phone interview.

Finalists will be notified by the Museum mid-September and invited to travel to Chicago for an in-person interview. The Museum will pay for travel and overnight accommodations for finalists if they are traveling from outside of the Chicago metro area.

The Museum will post the finalists' submitted videos online and allow the public to vote for their favorite. The Museum’s team of judges will take the public vote into consideration when selecting the winning candidate.

the experiment continues

  • Stay tuned to MSI on Facebook and Twitter: the best place for the latest MATM announcements and more!

Video: Robot Roommate

When looking for a great roommate, you'll find that some roommates are perfectly compatible. Others are bot.

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Want to know more about this experiment? Should we add something to the FAQ? Let us know.

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About the Museum

The Museum of Science and Industry opened its doors in 1933 and is the largest science museum in the Western Hemisphere.

About the Museum

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