Museum of Science and Industry


A couple nights ago, the Super-6 (Motoko, Katie, Mike, Dave, Dale and me - the six of us who were finalists for MATM2) were reunited under one (gigantic) roof for some good old fashioned flashlight fun. We busted out our batteries and LEDs and set out to cover as much of the museum as possible. Well... at least the parts that were dark and didn't have slumbering middle-schoolers (there was a huge group from Kentucky who were staying the night). We went from top (rotunda dome) to bottom (coal mine) and east (old Navy exhibit and vacant dome) to west (another vacant dome and theater). Even 18 days in, I was still finding parts of the museum that I didn't know existed. If you think this place is big, you should see the parts you don't get to see. Wait, what? Uhh - you know what I mean. In other words, check out these pictures.

 The rotunda from above. I saw this before but it never gets old. There's a walkway around the backside of the dome and there are a rigging holes that are large enough to fit an arm and camera. And voila!

 We then descended to the depths of the coal mine. I'm planning on sleeping down there so this was a good chance to see what it's like a night. You be the judge.

 Of all the things that could come to life, I just hope it's not the train.

 "Seventy-six trombones were led by this creepy dude; with a giant Paul Bunyan head close behind."

 Checkin' for bats in the cave. You know, purely in the biological research sense of the phrase.

 This vacant dome (on the east side of the building) is really cool since it shows some of the underlying substructure. 

 We found lots of piles of old junk - errr - I mean, valuable pieces of memorabilia that were lovingly placed in these rooms for safekeeping.

 The old Navy exhibit (not to be confused with the Old Navy store). Old fighter jets in one, fleece pullovers in the other.

 Code red (literally)

 Another dome, this one on the west side of MSI.

 A quick peek out on the roof. You can see the heliostats on the roof behind me. These are used to reflect sunlight through a hole in the roof down to the huge prisms in Science Storms.

 Like your grandmothers attic. Except it's huge, awesome and with a big domed ceiling.

 People often ask where I go to the bathroom. Well, here's the answer.

 They say this was the booth for the spotlight operator for the theater below. I think it looks more like an interrogation room. "Tell us all you know... about science!"

 Here's the giant old theater. Cool, right?

"Get ready for the big finish. 5-6-7-8... Ta-dah"

Thanks for taking the tour with me. And thanks to Motoko, Katie, Mike, Dave and Dale for adding to this fun night.

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  • Readers' Comments (6)
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Motoko
on 
November 06, 2011

Thanks for the spook-tacular flashlight tour, Kevin! From the nooks and crannies to the rooftop, everything was thrilling!

Dave Mosher
on 
November 07, 2011

Thanks for leading the tour, good sir! We particularly enjoyed this part of our visit:

Dave Mosher
on 
November 07, 2011

Looks like the comment form killed my link. Let's try again: davemosher.com/photos/matm-two-cube.jpg

Laura Hoh
on 
November 07, 2011

I totally remember that area with the periscopes in the Code Red picture! I swore it was at MSI and no one ever knew what I was talking about! Now I don't feel so crazy that it does still exist! :)

Laura Hoh
on 
November 07, 2011

I totally remember that area with the periscopes in the Code Red picture! I swore it was at MSI and no one ever knew what I was talking about! Now I don't feel so crazy that it does still exist! :)

Jenn L
on 
November 08, 2011

Wait.... the Navy exhibit (your Code Red pic) isn't there anymore? Since WHEN??? I swear it was there and accessible when I last visited a few months ago!!! I *always* run for the periscopes to check out traffic on the Drive. This makes me sad. Now, if only I could find out the fate of an exhibit MSI used to have out in the early to mid 80s. I don't remember what it was called. It was behind a big glass window, and it was some sort of animatronic thing with a guy on a bicycle and music and other stuff. In that same room was a set of 3 plasma balls, about 12" diameter, set up in a triangle at about arm's length from each other. Kate wasn't able to find these either.

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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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