The Museum of Science and Industry (www.msichicago.org) was designated an official Chicago Landmark by the Mayor of Chicago and the Chicago City Council in 1955, but it is internationally recognized as a major landmark representing the entire Western Hemisphere. The Museum of Science and Industry is the largest science museum in this part of the world!
It’s no mystery as to how it manages to fill up enough space to gain this title. Here, you can find a full-size replica coal mine, a 3500 square-foot model railroad, and the Apollo 8 spacecraft, the first to ever reach the moon. Even things that you wouldn’t generally think of as taking up a great deal of space are built to an incredibly large scale at the Museum of Science and Industry, as shown by the Swiss Jolly Boat, the biggest pinball machine in the world.
How impressive science can be isn’t something that can just be measured by the size of the concrete stuff inside an exhibit, though. “YOU! The Experience” focuses on how impressive the existence of human life is. It explores the biological processes in our bodies, but also dives into how our minds and spirits work along with the core scientific principles that keep us alive. There are also several exhibits that showcase what massive possibilities the future might hold in store for us – space travel, the development of transportation (can you believe how far we’ve come from horses and buggies?), the development of the Internet, and other infinite technologies.
The Museum of Science and Industry also showcases a range of multi-media exhibits. The Omnimax Theater shows documentaries about worlds completely foreign to us, such as space and the ocean, in an unforgettable way as you journey through these places in a five-story, domed, wrap-around theater. There are also “Live Science Experiences” where visitors can perform their own chemistry experiments and make their own creations using laser cutting technology and 3D printers.
One idea that the Museum of Science and Industry fully takes to heart is how we are never finished learning. Although many of the exhibits are geared toward younger children and students, the Museum also offers courses for science teachers to help develop their curriculum. 4th – 8th grade teachers who have limited experience teaching science are offered an opportunity to take courses in various science concentrations to learn new material, improve their teaching skills, and gain new ideas and resources to take back to science classrooms. These courses are designed in accordance with the state of Illinois and national science education standards and can be used as graduate credit at Valparaiso University or the Illinois Institute of Technology.
So, whether you’re just being introduced to science or are already in a full-time career in the field, there’s something at the Museum of Science and Industry that can teach you something new!
Images courtesy of www.msichicago.org