Museum of Science and Industry


Alright. I fell for it. I just thought I was taking fingerprints in the Crime Lab. But the MSI folks had something else in mind. And when we were hanging pennies from a Slinky? Yep, they got me then too. Or how about when I was challenged to build a loop-the-loop track for a marble? Same thing.

What was it?

LEARNING.

Before today, I had no idea how much education actually took place within the museum. I knew that the exhibits were chock-full of information but I never gave much thought to the classrooms. So today was centered around education at MSI. I started out by greeting students as they arrived on field trips (who knew handing out silly bands could make a person so popular) and then joined a middle school group in the Crime Lab. We lifted fingerprints (dusting with metal powder and using superglue fumes), analyzed evidence with chromatography and compared fibers to help us solve a whodunit mystery. The kids loved it. While I'm 20 years older than target demographic, I thought it was super-cool.

I then stopped by the Science Minors Club training workshop and a "Get Re-Energized" teacher course. Both programs are designed to give teachers and club sponsors the tools and training to teach science in interactive and innovative ways. And when I say "interactive", I mean explaining physics (Hooke's Law to be exact) with rubber bands, Slinkys, pennies and raw eggs. And you'll hear me mention the Science Minors Clubs later this month because we have a little friendly challenge. I'm competing against all the clubs to build a track for a marble incorporating the most loops. Winner takes all (and by "all", I mean a pizza party and a visit from me). So... I get a field trip and pizza out of the deal; sounds like a win-win if you ask me.  (Bring it, Science Minors: it's on!)

In the evening was the Snoozeum where families can come and spend the night. I was part of the scavenger hunt so quite a few folks stopped by my cube to say "hi". It was fun to meet some kindred souls (you know: other people who think it's cool to sleep in museums). I answered "where do you sleep?" and "are you allowed to leave that box?" 342,639 times. And I handed out just as many silly bands.

To cap off the long day, while most people would wind down with a glass of wine or watch TV, I got to stand inside a tornado. You know, just a typical Friday night when you live at MSI.

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  • Readers' Comments (9)
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tracey becker
on 
October 22, 2011

We have got to get to some of those classes. My kids and I always seem to miss it on the schedules! Your month at MSI looks like it's going well! http://tracey-justanothermommyblog.blogspot.com/

Reid
on 
October 22, 2011

Looks like your having a blast.. I am still jealous that should of been me..

joni
on 
October 22, 2011

Kevin, I hope you will be doing some videos....that is what made Kate's month at the museum so interesting...just something about that human voice. Thanks for all you are sharing...

JeanCarl
on 
October 22, 2011

What does standing in the tornado feel like? Any chance of doing a live video stream? You might have to run a long network cable. Sounds like you're getting a hang of this gig.

Amanda
on 
October 23, 2011

Hey Kevin? Where do you sl...eh, never mind. Maybe you should see if you can come up with a different answer every time. You know "Tonight I could sleep on the U-505, in the tornado, under the Tesla Coil, smack in the middle of Yesterday's Main Street [bet that one would be uncomfortable!], in the Whispering Gallery..." On a totally unrelated note, can you roller skate in the rotunda? Because I think that would be fun! I wanted to last time i visited!

(another) Kevin
on 
October 23, 2011

Ah, they're calling it "Snoozeum" these days. That was always a lot of fun. Back when it was "Member Camp-In", and they were young, we brought the boys several times. Amanda, we once decided to sleep "in the gutter" in Yesterday's Main Street. A little bumpy, but fun! We always tried to pick a neat place for our bedrolls. The classrooms, are those in the area out past Ships through the Ages, by Purple Stairs? I suppose that's not an area I've seen often as a regular visitor. I think it'd be really nice to be able to get some behind-the-scenes or off-the-beaten-path tours of the museum. For instance, one Camp-In, they let us go back where the 727 fuselage lay on the floor getting prepped for attachment to the balcony.

Rita Kuzmenko
on 
October 23, 2011

You have an awesome expression inside the tornado. I have to fight the urge to jump right in there each time I go to the museum. I think your face sums up the experience perfectly.

Ms. KT
on 
October 24, 2011

Hey Kevin! Are you allowed to use your phone? Do you get free food? Can you invite friends/family to meet you at the museum? Also, are you scared to be there on Halloween?

MSI Kevin
on 
October 24, 2011

Hi Ms. KT - I haven't used my cell phone in a weeks but I still have phantom buzzes every once in a while. Weird, right? Food is all covered; breakfast and lunch in the food court and dinner/snacks catered by While Foods. Family & friends can come to visit but after hours it's just me. And no, I'm excited to be here for Halloween. We've planned a "gross science" day complete with slime and an eyeball dissection. Maybe that night I'll sleep in the coal mine or something, just to top it off.

Sorry, comments are not allowed for this post.

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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