Museum of Science and Industry

What is Month at the MuseumTM 2?

If you are the person chosen for Month at the Museum 2, you will live inside the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago from Oct. 19 to Nov. 17, 2011. Your mission: experience everything the Museum has to offer, from what's tucked away in storage to hidden nooks and crannies where the public never goes, and every exhibit and live science experience in between. Throughout your stay, you'll be giving the public your inside scoop on what happens here and what you're learning.

You're the clever sort who spies the number 2 in the title and knows that this isn't the first Month at the Museum. Quite true. In October/November 2010, we had the pleasure of hosting Kate McGroarty, who successfully completed the first Month at the Museum. If you are interested in this year’s Museum gig, it would probably be good for you to take a look at Kate’s blog to get a feel for last year’s adventures and to help you start to think about what you would do differently.

Why are you doing this?

We often hear people say they were inspired by a single visit here. And we wondered: What could a month do for someone? Well, we actually decided to try it! Twice. You may not like science. Maybe you've never even visited a museum. Regardless of your experience, you can still answer our question: how will a Month at the Museum transform someone? And in the process, you get to share your transformation with the public, and let them follow along in your many adventures.

What would I do during that month?

For starters, you'll interact with museum guests as you take in all the experiences here.  One day, you might watch a live heart surgery via teleconference or dissect an eyeball. The next, you might choose to bunk overnight in the U-505 German submarine or could be cutting things with a laser in our Fab Lab. Trust us: it isn't likely to be boring.

You'll also be a bit of a Museum celebrity, making some appearances and giving interviews. Through blogging, tweeting and videocasting, you'll report to the world about your 24/7 life inside this historic and beloved institution.

You’ll have an all-access pass to every nook and cranny of MSI.  At night, you'll have the unprecedented chance to roam MSI after hours.  You'll have your own private quarters for sleeping, but come on! Wouldn't you like to explore the Museum after hours? Who wouldn't get a kick out of things like:

•    Taking nighttime strolls through dimly-lit hallways—if you have the nerve (we’ll even give you a flashlight!)
•    Hanging out near Apollo 8 in your bathrobe?
•    Playing all-night marathon sessions of our Lunar Lander arcade game?
•    Blogging, tweeting and several other very 21st-century verbs?

There will also be new twists and turns that we can’t tell you about yet (cue sinister laugh here).

Is there a prize? Tell me there's a prize for this.

Successfully complete the 30-day residence and you will get $10,000, plus you'll keep the tech gear you'll be given to report your Month at the Museum. But you will also walk away with a unique and, perhaps, transformative experience. After a month as a minor science celebrity, who knows what new direction you might take?

How do I enter?

We'll consider you an entrant if you: make a 60-second video about why we should choose you; write a 500-word essay about what you would do with this experience; include two (2) copies of a5x7” photo of yourself (the same photo); complete the application with its release and waiver; and manage to successfully insert all items into one package that we receive by July 25, 2011. See the rules for specific directions.

By the way, we can't return your submissions. So burn yourself an extra copy while you're thinking of it, just in case we need to ask you for it.

I applied for the first Month at the Museum. Can I apply again?

Absolutely! A fresh new application, essay and video are required, but we'd love to have you apply again.

Can I post my entry video online before/after you pick the winner?

Yes. We ask that when you post your video to YouTube, you include the following text in the Description field (so people can find it more easily): "My Month at the Museum 2 entry video"

How and when will you pick this person?

Quarter-finalists will be interviewed by phone. Semi-finalists will be interviewed in Chicago in early September. Five final candidates will be chosen.  A team of judges (assisted by votes from the public!) will choose the winner, who will be announced in early October and move into the Museum on Oct. 19, 2011.

Do I have to live in Chicago?

Just for those 30 days, my friend. We will fly finalists to Chicago for an in-person interview, and the chosen winner will also receive round-trip airfare to complete their assignment.

Do I have to be a U.S. citizen?

Applicants need to be legally allowed to receive compensation for work in the United States.

Would I be able to run home/go to work/meet my psychic?

No. That's why we cleverly called it "Month at the Museum." During your residence, you will be very busy either at the Museum or accompanying staffers to outside locations that we frequent, like schools, community centers or other interesting locations because science happens everywhere. Aside from your immediate family, your contact with the outside world will be limited.  Just like, oh, let's say … astronauts, sailors and explorers.  Only some of the most exciting jobs ever.

I have a child/family/spouse/partner/friend. Could they stay with me?

First, congratulations and our best wishes to you and yours. Secondly, no. This contest is meant to capture one person's singular experience while spending a month at MSI. That person is the only person who will stay here.

Will my child/family/spouse/partner/friend be able to visit me?

We'll figure something out. We know people at the ticket counters.

I have a cat.

First, is that really a question? Secondly, sorry, no pets.  If you are chosen for Month at the Museum 2, before leaving for MSI, we highly recommend that you leave your computer on, with a browser directed to, so Fluffy can keep up on all your experiences and adventures. (That is, if you trust your Cujo's browsing habits.) Alternately, you'd be free to arrange for some care for Buster.

Would I be living in a glass box?

Fear not. This is why it was named Month at the Museum. During the day you will be roaming the Museum, and when it’s time to go night-night, the MATM 2 winner will have private after-hours quarters (think small studio apartment), including access to a shower and a refrigerator.

Will I be able to shower?

Of course you can shower!

How will I eat?

Orally, we hope. As to what you will eat, you're provided with great food: breakfast and lunch from our Brain Food Court by Sodexo, and dinner and grocery deliveries from Whole Foods Market.

What type of person are you looking for? Do I need to be a science geek?

One thing we know for sure is that lacking basic science knowledge isn’t a deal breaker. (The Museum itself has a diverse team of scientists, educators, exhibit designers, writers, web gurus and more on staff, and we each play an important role.) You might be able to recite the periodic table of elements in your sleep, or the mere idea might put you to sleep. If you fall into either category, or somewhere in between, we want to hear from you.

Since this is Month at the Museum 2, does that mean there will be a Month at the Museum 3?

We've been asked this quite a bit lately, so we might as well say it now: this second Month at the Museum will also be the last. In short, this contest was never envisioned as an annual series, but given the popular response to the first MATM and the fun time we had with Kate, we had to bring it back one more time. So as we're having fun concocting the new perks and surprises for this year's winner, we're also already working on the new and engaging experiences to present after MATM2.

Fair warning, in case you were thinking about applying "the next time." Carpe museum! Seize this once-in-a-lifetime chance to stroll MSI in your pajama pants*.

(*Pajama pants permission not valid during Museum hours.)

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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