Museum of Science and Industry

Museum Memories

Guests share their favorite Museum memories during our 75th Anniversary celebration.



When my daughter was in preschool she would love our visits to the “Museum of Science of Interesting!” I never corrected her—she was right! -- Colette Curtin, Chicago, Ill.

This museum opened my mind to the possibilities of being able to accomplish anything, and I have been an avid voyager ever since. Congratulations on 75 years of the best of everything. -- Joan Culver (Milner), San Francisco, Calif.

As a child I was fascinated by space. As early as three, I said I want to be an astronaut or work for NASA. The Museum of Science and Industry was the only place I could go to see “space stuff,” so my mother brought me to the museum frequently … When we went to the museum as a family, my mom had to practically drag me out of the Henry Crown Space Center area. Had I not had the museum to foster my interest in space through its exhibits, I may not have stayed as interested in space exploration and might not be working at NASA now as an adult! -- Michelle Ham, International Space Station Instructor, Barrios Technology/ NASA

I went to MSI on a school trip when I was in 5th grade in 1941. I had never seen anything like the exhibits blending science and industry. As my father was in the coal mining business at the time, I was naturally fascinated by the coal mine. I was convinced that they were actually mining coal under the city of Chicago. My father told me the truth eventually. It probably started my interest in minerals, mining and geology that become a life-long pursuit. MSI is my favorite museum in Chicago, and my favorite science museum in the entire world, and I have visited most of them. Congratulations to the Museum of Science and Industry for inspiring the youth of today at a time of increasing technical complexity where the underlying principles of science are often obscured and not apparent to the observer. -- Peter Carney, Chairman, Superior Graphite Co.

I grew up in New York City and lived for a time within a few blocks of the Museum of Natural History. I was fascinated by the dioramas, so similar to those at MSI, and also the great dinosaur that dominated the lobby. As a member of the Board of Trustees, MSI refreshed my keen fascination with the unique education that radiates from effective museum exhibits. Most recently, the Leonardo da Vinci exhibit at MSI had a powerful teaching and learning influence: that one mind can be so rich in imagination and creativity. Now as a Trustee …my “growing up” in a museum culture clearly contributes to the awareness of how our Museum of Science and Industry can influence young people towards science. -- Leon M, Lederman, Director Emeritus, Fermilab; Pritzer Professor of Science, IIT; Resident Scholar, IMSA

I have probably toured the U-505 12 or more times by now, with my family or hosting out-of-towners, and am still in awe of how this extraordinary exhibit brings this heroic story to life. My young children, ages three and four, now act out the capture in the bathtub. Richard is Captain Gallery, Anton is a Frisky plane, and I am headquarters. While the story sometimes takes unusual turns in the minds of my boys, I am amazed at how many details they have retained, in particular, the bravery of the sailors. Thank you for keeping this piece of history alive for future generations. -- Flo Merkl-Deutsch, Chicago, Ill.

The incredible model train layout … became my favorite part of every museum visit. I was endlessly fascinated by the trains moving through the landscape of what seemed to my 5-year-old's eyes to be a whole world there behind the glass walls of that enormous table full of trains. I particularly loved going up to the balcony level above and looking down with a bird’s-eye view on the trains slowly snaking their way through the deserts and hills of that landscape. It still gives me a thrill to even contemplate, and I maintain my love for model train layouts to this day, searching them out whenever possible—even though few can live up to my memories of that magical place and time. -- Bruce Elliott, Dallas, Texas

As a first year teacher at Chicago's Bret Harte Elementary school in 1997, we found ourselves in need of a shelter because of asbestos tile. Since the school is across the park from MSI, the Museum became my classroom for about a week. What more could a first-year, 3rd grade teacher ask for than the awesome resources offered at MSI! This was my first introduction to the Museum, and I was in love. I would go back over to the Museum each day after the students were dismissed and wander around until I found the perfect area for my next day of teaching. I remember using the old genetics area for our study of probability. Thus began my love of the Museum, and my desire to make it as accessible as possible for teachers and students. I spent many years after that working with MSI's education department after school, helping to write curriculum and even teach some classes. My tenure in Chicago wouldn't have been the same without this wonderful Museum. When we come back to visit, it's one of our first stops, because there is always something new! Thanks for all that you give to education MSI ... Happy Birthday! -- Tami Shields, Marietta, Ga.

When I was a little girl, my grandmother would take my brother and I to the Museum of Science and Industry. My favorite exhibit of all time is Colleen Moore’s Fairy Castle. I was enthralled by the tiny fantasy world behind the glass. I stood there in the dark with the phone pressed to my ear soaking in every detail. I used to pretend that it was mine because my first name is Colleen also. Every time I visited during high school or college, I made sure to stop by and visit the castle. I went to the University of Chicago, so I had the opportunity to drop in quite frequently. While at school, I met my real life prince charming and when I married him, my name became Colleen Moore. He gave me the fairy tale. It really is my castle now! My 3rd grade students think it's so cool! -- Colleen Daly-Moore, Wheaton, Ill.

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  • Daily from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
    Open daily except Thanksgiving and Christmas
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Museum of Science+Industry
5700 S. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60637
1 (773) 684-1414
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