The Museum of Science & Industry (M.S.I.) is holding a number of special events next month. Chicago Museum Week is the first seven days of October this year (Thursday, October 1, 2015 to Wednesday, October 7, 2015).
Illinois residents get free general admission to M.S.I. on two of these days: Monday, October 5, 2015 and Tuesday, October 6, 2015. M.S.I. stated these two days are the perfect time for Illinois residents to buy add-on tickets for exhibits that need separate tickets such as the temporary exhibit Robot Revolution!
This exhibit opened on Thursday, May 21, 2015 and will run through Sunday, January 3, 2016. During Museum Week, one can also purchase a museum membership with $20 off the standard price.
“Robot Block Party” is from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Columbus Day Weekend (from Saturday, October 10, 2015 to Monday, October 12, 2015). Robots will vary from event to event.
All activities in “Robot Block Party” are included in Museum Entry (general admission) tickets. M.S.I. stated, “Guests will have the opportunity to interact with impressive and amazing robots face-to-face, including a robotic chair that can disassemble and reassemble itself. Other activities include performances by musical act Human-Tim+Robot-Tim, a robot dance party courtesy of Culture Shock Dance, demonstrations from student robotics teams, stations to make your own robot antennas, and more!”
“Science Works” is a S.T.E.M. career fair M.S.I. will hold on Saturday, October 17, 2015 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. [Note that S.T.E.M. stands for science, technology, engineering, and math, but, at least for this event, M.S.I. is using S.T.E.M. to mean science, technology, engineering, and medicine.] Museum Entry covers the career fair.
The nature of the demonstrations will vary from session to session. Youths and their parents will be able to learn about S.T.E.M. jobs directly from professionals in those fields.
M.S.I. stated the career fair will feature “an array of dynamic speakers, hands-on activities and one-on-one discussions, this event enables guests and students to discover what ‘cool jobs’ the science, technology, engineering and medicine fields have to offer – like veterinary medicine, beverage technologists and cosmetic chemists.”
“The Architects of the White City” is a presentation by Dr. Lisa M. Snyder of U.C.L.A.’s Institute for Digital Research and Education that will take place at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, October 24, 2015. To attend this presentation, one will need to purchase an additional ticket beyond Museum Entry.
The White City was the collection of (mostly temporary) exhibition pavilions in Jackson Park in the neighborhood of Hyde Park on the South Side of Chicago where most artifacts, artworks, and technologies were displayed and activities took place during Chicago’s first World’s Fair, the World’s Columbian Exposition (1893). The Museum of Science & Industry is housed within the Palace of Fine Arts, one of the few buildings from the White City which was built to endure.
It was designed by Charles Atwood (1849-1896). The Field Museum, originally known as the Columbian Museum, was housed in the Palace of Fine Arts from 1894 until it moved in 1920 into new quarters in Burnham Park designed by Atwood’s former assistant, Ernest Graham (1868-1936).
In the 1920s and ‘30s, Sears, Roebuck & Company Chairman Julius Rosenwald (1862-1932) and the South Park District (which in 1934 merged with twenty-one other park districts in the city to formed the Chicago Park District) paid to renovate the Palace of Fine Arts and replace the brick building’s original plaster façade with limestone. Mr. Rosenwald wanted to establish a large science museum in Chicago modeled on the Deutsches Museum von Meisterwerken der Naturwissenschaft und Technik (German Museum of Masterworks of Science and Technology) in Munich, Bavaria, Germany, which, in turn, is modeled on the Science Museum in London.
He rallied his fellow members of The Commercial Club of Chicago around this cause. Alfred Phillips Shaw (1895-1970) was the architect most responsible for the restoration and reconstruction of the Palace of Fine Arts.
M.S.I. stated, “Uncover the innovators who breathed life into Chicago’s magical White City. In celebration of the City of Chicago’s Architecture Biennial, MSI is offering its renowned virtual simulation of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. The presentation will uncover the little-known stories behind the fair’s architects. Dr. Lisa M. Snyder from UCLA’s Institute for Digital Research and Education will present her rich computer reconstruction of the White City using amazing, real-time visual simulation technology.” Tim Samuelson, Cultural Historian of the City of Chicago, will provide expert commentary and insight.
October would also be a good time to visit Materials Science, a special exhibit that opened Thursday, March 19, 2015 and is scheduled to close in January of 2016. “The goal of this exhibit is to showcase for guests just how much science research and testing goes into developing and improving upon the materials that are all around us,” stated Dr. Patricia Ward, M.S.I.’s Director of Science and Technology. “Understanding how materials are made, and their structures and properties, enables us to innovate and create new materials that will affect and advance society.”
Materials Science uses videos, artifacts, and hands-on activities to illustrate how scientists, engineers, and technicians select, test, create, and use materials. Families can see how labs push materials to their limits via destructive testing.
They can see how plastics dramatically altered 20th Century life in a short span of time from a 1939 prototype to a LEGO® construction toy. Visitors can compare and contrast ceramic tiles, which can cover everything from a typical suburban house’s roof to a space shuttle.
They can see carbon fiber and aluminum alloys that go into Boeing 737 and 787 jetliners. Visitors can also play a digital game that allows one to design a new magnetic material that serves a specific purpose.
A visitor can also assemble models that replicate molecular structures of carbon materials that range from diamonds (which have industrial uses as well as going into jewelry) and graphene (a material found in electronics). It will also be possible to see an Atomic Probe Field Ion Microscope, a device that allows scientists to see for the first time materials at the level of molecules and atoms.
Materials Science is covered by Museum Entry tickets. The Northwestern University Materials Research Science and Engineering Center has made the exhibit possible.
The Museum of Science & Industry is located at the northern end of Jackson Park, at the intersection of 75th Street and Lake Shore Drive. The address is 5700 South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, Illinois.