october 2, 2023


$1.3 million in funds raised will support the Museum’s vision for the future

CHICAGO – The Griffin Museum of Science and Industry (Griffin MSI) hosted its 43rd Annual Columbian Ball on Saturday, September 30, 2023, at the Museum's location. A renowned black-tie affair, this year’s Columbian Ball celebrated the Museum’s rich history in honor of its 90th anniversary and began to unveil its vision for the future. Altogether, the event raised $1.3 million that will support Griffin MSI's unwavering commitment to fostering future generations of science leaders and innovators.

The event brought together a diverse array of 450 guests, supporters and science enthusiasts for an evening of elegance, innovation and inspiration. Guests experienced several highlights, including:

  • A Surprise Drone Show: Presented by Sky Elements Drone Shows, guests were surprised with a post-dinner, outdoor drone show that featured images from the Museum’s iconic and upcoming exhibitions.
  • An Ode to the Museum’s 90th Anniversary: Guests embarked on a journey through Griffin MSI's illustrious 90-year history with thematic design and experiences from cocktail hour into the night.
  • A Glimpse into the Future: Griffin MSI provided a sneak peek into the institution's bold vision that encompasses a world where science and innovation drive progress and transform lives.
  • The Blue Paradox Exhibition: The immersive exhibition The Blue Paradox sheds light on the urgent, global issue of ocean plastic pollution, moving guests to take action alongside corporations and government.

"The night was a magnificent celebration of our remarkable 90-year journey. It showcased our enduring commitment to fostering innovation, inspiring future leaders and addressing global challenges like ocean plastic pollution through exhibits like The Blue Paradox,” said Chevy Humphrey, President and CEO of Griffin MSI. “With gratitude for our generous event co-chairs, Pat and Kelly Basu, our sponsors and our unwavering community support, we are poised for an even brighter future, where science knows no limits."

Griffin MSI expressed its deep appreciation to this year's sponsors whose generosity made the event possible including Pat and Kelly Basu, Jill and Chris Crane, Catherine and Steve Greenspon, The Boler Company, ITW, Enova, Lincoln Road Enterprises, and United Airlines.

“Griffin MSI is both a world class museum and a testament. It is a testament to humanity’s quest for knowledge and excellence; to our determination and courage; and to our ability to work together to achieve what we once thought was impossible,” said Pat and Kelly Basu, Columbian Ball Co-Chairs.

Griffin MSI also extends its appreciation to all attendees, sponsors and supporters for making the 43rd Annual Columbian Ball a success.

Event vendors included Sodexo Live (catering), 1440 Design (décor), TM Creations (event and AV design), Sound Investments (AC production), Jim Sellers Jazz Trio (cocktail hour music), the Chicago Sinfionetta (dinner music), Stage Factor (model greeters) and Sky Elements Drone Shows (drone show).

For more information about the Columbian Ball, please visit Griffin MSI's website.

VISUALS: Photos from the evening and a video from the surprise drone show are available for download here.

  • Photo credit: Griffin Museum of Science and Industry
  • Video credit: Sky Elements Drone Shows

About the Griffin Museum of Science and Industry

The Griffin Museum of Science and Industry (Griffin MSI) offers world-class and uniquely interactive experiences that support the Museum’s mission: to inspire the inventive genius in everyone. As one of the largest science museums in the world featuring award-winning exhibits and hands-on activities, a visit to Griffin MSI is guaranteed to connect fun and learning. Griffin MSI is committed to offering comprehensive educational programs—for students, administrators, teachers and families—that make a difference in local communities and contribute to Griffin MSI’s goal to transform and illuminate STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) pathways for people of all ages. The Museum is grateful for the support of its generous donors and guests, who make its work possible. Griffin 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.