Inspired by the interactive displays of the Deutsches Museum in Munich during his family trip in 1911, Julius Rosenwald founded the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, with the intention of awakening the inventive spirit in everyone. Today, MSI oversees the Columbia Basin and counts as the largest science museum in the Western Hemisphere. The beautiful Classic Revival building perfectly blends stories and objects of the past with a focus on the future of science and technology. It also hosts spectacular Candlelight concerts that reimagine familiar and beloved tunes.
Located at the far end of the Palace of Fine Arts from the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in the Hyde Park neighborhood, the building was designed by Charles B. Atwood. To visit the splendid museum, you can take the 2, 6 and 10 buses from downtown Chicago. You can also get there with the Metra Electric Line trains from downtown Chicago that stop at the 55th/56th/57th Street station. From there, it’s only a two-block walk from the Museum’s north entrance.
Facts, Curiosities and Interesting Things about the Museum of Science and Industry
1. The museum is a 400,000 sq ft space.
We weren’t lying when we said it was the largest science museum in the Western Hemisphere. It’s home to more than 400,000 sq ft of immersive and educational exhibits displayed in 75 major halls. Each of them is designed to stimulate curious minds and hopefully inspire the new generation of innovators.
2. There are around 2,000 exhibits waiting to be explored.
From body casts and artefacts of people that lived in Pompeii and a World War II submarine to a 40-foot tornado and The Blue Paradox, where you’ll explore the pervasiveness of plastic pollution—there are so many exciting exhibits on display, you won’t know which one to see first. MSI is home to 35,000 artefacts, so it’s very likely you’ll need a few visits to see at least some of them.
3. Admission to the museum is free for Chicago and Illinois residents on select dates throughout the year.
MSI is always free for US military active-duty personnel and veterans, Chicago firefighters, Chicago police officers, Illinois POWs and Illinois teachers (up to 12th grade). Members get free admission at more than 300 science centers and museums. However, on select dates every month, Illinois residents get free museum entry. Keep an eye out on their website to see when you can receive free entry.
Candlelight concerts at the Museum of Science and Industry
Candlelight is bringing the eternal melodies of Italian Baroque composer Vivaldi to life at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. The imposing Ionic columns of the main entrance will welcome you to an evening of breathtaking, classical music, where you can listen to the legendary composer’s four violin concerti performed by a talented string quartet. Sit back, relax and take in the beauty of the classical ornamentation of the museum, as it’s completely enveloped in candlelight.
What else can you do at the Museum of Science and Industry?
Beyond visiting the countless exhibitions, the museum is also a popular event venue and we can see why. You can dine beside a World War II German submarine or celebrate special occasions inside a 40-foot tornado. With lots of amazing spaces that can be transformed to accommodate any corporate event, award dinner or gala, there’s the customizable Rotunda space, the cocktail-perfect Entry Hall, the elegant North Portico and many more.
In addition to its five floors of exhibits on science, the museum is a versatile space that also hosts a number of events. From fancy galas and corporate dinners to classical tributes to music’s greatest artists, there’s no better place to host your next big event. Make sure to check out the stunning Candlelight concerts, taking place at Chicago’s most splendid spaces.