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Museum History

Opened during 1933's Century of Progress in a building from 1893's Columbian Exposition, MSI is the place where generations have come to see what's next.

That's us on the right.

1893 - The Palace of Fine Arts

Built as the fair's Palace of Fine Arts, ours is the only building constructed for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition's "White City" that remains at the site. Unlike most structures of the White City, the Palace of Fine Arts was built with brick as a safeguard for the international artwork on display. This was key to the building's longevity long after other structures from the fair had been lost to fire or decay.

1933 - The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago

The Museum was born in a moment of inspiration during a family vacation nearly a century ago. Watching his child enthralled by an interactive museum display at the Deutches Museum in Munich, our founder Julius Rosenwald resolved to share that same experience with his hometown of Chicago. The former Palace of Fine Arts was restored, and on June 19, 1933 the Museum opened with its first (and briefly only) interactive experience: the Coal Mine.

Four stars

Chicago's flag has four stars that are said to represent milestones in city history (two of which are the World's Fairs mentioned above). Here are four stars representing milestones in MSI history.

The Museum's original interactive experience, which people have been digging since 1933.

The only German sub captured during World War II came to MSI in 1954, and is the centerpiece of an unforgettable exhibit about its dramatic story.

Generations of Museum guests have watched new baby chicks pecking out of their shells in this beloved exhibit.

Investigate the science of nature’s power: control a 40-foot tornado, trigger an avalanche, unleash a tsunami and more.