Museum of Science and Industry


I've never considered myself much of a history guy. I work with numbers in my professional life, but I'm pitiful at remembering dates: birthdays, holidays, important years in history. No clue - it's just not a strength of mine. But I love learning backstories (thus my love of Collections) and understanding the history behind everyday parts of our present-day life.

Over the course of MSI's 78 years, the Museum has cultivated a number of traditions. I hear from visitors who tour the coal mine...

Veterans Day (Day 24) was spent learning about submarines. I started the day with an in-depth tour of the U-505 exhibit. If you're not familiar with the U-505, it's the only German submarine in the United States and now a memorial to the American sailors who gave their lives on the high seas in WWII. MSI has had the sub since 1954 but for the first fifty years, the setting was less than ideal: it sat outside enduring...

Apparently, I'm not. Well, not when it comes to naming the six simple machines.

It was a rough start to "Machines Day" when I realized I was a little rusty on the six simple ones. But thanks to the Simple Machines Learning Lab and a group of smart students, I was given a refresher that prepped me for the rest of the day. In case you're a little out of practice too, here's a reminder: simple...

One of the perks of living in the museum is a 30 second commute. I ride an elevator down a few floors and, voila, I'm there. It's really a pretty ideal set-up.

In "real life" I commute to work everyday on the "L", Chicago's elevated train system. The commute takes about 40 minutes and involves a couple of different trains to get to my office. Most mornings I listen to music or read a magazine - I pretty much zone out for much of the ride. But while I'm in a daze, the operator is focused on...

Did you know that one inch of water can produce between six and forty inches of snow depending on the conditions? Or that the mathematical models used by meteorologists to forecast weather incorporate factors as disparate as color of ground vegetation, ice coverage and Saharan dust. Or how about the fact that a blocking pattern (in this case warm air) hovering above Greenland was responsible for last year's wild winter weather in Chicago (and may strike again)?

Nope? Well, before my visit with...

kevin byrne


A digital marketing analyst from Chicago, Kevin is living inside the largest science museum in the Western Hemisphere for 30 days.

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