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temporary exhibition

Black Creativity: Architecture


CHICAGO (October 20, 2021)—The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago (MSI) has opened Black Creativity: Architecture, an exhibition that explores the past, present and future of the architectural creativity of African Americans. Over two galleries, this exhibition showcases Black architects' strong presence throughout history. From ancient temples to soaring, modern skyscrapers, guests can learn about the early luminaries of architecture and meet today's greats.

This new exhibition follows the timeline of important buildings and displays models of famous structures and artifacts like the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. and a masonry fragment from the National Pythian Temple designed by the first licensed Black architect in Illinois, Walter T. Bailey. Guests can also stand over the drafting table of an architect and start to think three-dimensionally as they learn about all aspects of the field, from architectural drawing to the type of materials used in building.

Hear from cutting-edge architects Germane Barnes, Tiara Hughes and Curtis J. Moody in video interviews before learning more about past and present influential architects who provided communities shelter and lifted others up. Architects highlighted include:

  • Beverly Loraine Greene: Chicago's own pathbreaking architect, Greene was the first Black woman to become a licensed architect in the U.S. She contributed to projects for the United Nations, universities and more.
  • David Adjaye: Designer of the iconic Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture plus other innovative projects worldwide.
  • Roberta Washington: Founder/principal of Roberta Washington Architects and responsible for designing new and modernized public schools, housing projects, health care facilities and office buildings. 

"The Black Creativity: Architecture exhibition is a testament to the rich heritage of Black architects who, through education and ingenuity, brought their designs to life," said MSI President and CEO Chevy Humphrey. "Our hope is that this exhibition will not only spotlight the achievements of past and present African American pioneers, but also inspire the next generation of innovators."

Black Creativity: Architecture welcomes guests to discover how Black architects respond to the ever-changing needs of humanity and not only make changes to their communities but the world. This exhibit is included with Museum Entry and runs through June 2022.

The exhibit is part of the Museum's Black Creativity program. Since 1971, the Museum has celebrated African American achievement in creative and scientific fields with a wide range of culturally relevant programs and exhibitions, anchored by the Black Creativity Juried Art Exhibition. This annual initiative brings together students, families, teachers and the public to educate and explore the rich history and traditions of African Americans through exhibits, events, student workshops and programs.

About the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago

The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago (MSI), one of the largest science museums in the world, offers world-class and uniquely interactive experiences that inspire inventive genius and foster curiosity. From groundbreaking and award-winning exhibits that can’t be found anywhere else, to hands-on opportunities that make you the scientist—a visit to MSI is where fun and learning mix. Through its Welcome to Science Initiative, the Museum offers a variety of student, teacher and family programs that make a difference in communities and contribute to MSI’s larger vision: to inspire and motivate children to achieve their full potential in science, technology, medicine and engineering. Come visit and find your inspiration! The Museum is grateful for the support of its donors and guests, who make its work possible. MSI is also supported in part by the people of Chicago through the Chicago Park District. For more information, visit msichicago.org or call (773) 684-1414.

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Press Kit

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Black Creativity: Architecture explores the past, present and future of architectural creativity. [Photo: Ozzie Ramsay/Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago]

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Guests can learn about architects like Walter T. Bailey. This masonry fragment is from the National Pythian Temple that he designed. [Photo: Ozzie Ramsay/Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago]

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Get a close look at a study model for the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. [Photo: Ozzie Ramsay/Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago]

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