“2018 Illinois Free Days at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry” by S.M. O’Connor

Monday marked the beginning of 2018 Illinois Free Days at the Museum of Science and Industry in Hyde Park on the South Side of Chicago.  On Illinois Free Days, Museum Entry (general admission) tickets are free for all Illinois residents who show valid proof of residence such as a driver’s license or state identification card.  No further Chicago residence discounts apply on Illinois Free Days.  In 2018, the Illinois Free Days are the 8th through the 11th, the 15th through the 18th, the 22nd through the 25th, and the 29th through the 31st of January; the 1st, the 5th through the 8th, the 12th through the 15th, the 20th through the 22nd, and the 26th and the 27th of February; Wednesday, March 14th; the 4th through the 7th, the 11th and 12th of June; the 4th through the 6th, the 10th through the 13th, the 17th through the 20th, and the 24th through the 27th of September; and Monday, November 12th.





8-11, 15-18, 22-25, 29-31


1, 5-8, 12-15, 20-22, 26-27




4-7, 11-12


4-6, 10-13, 17-20, 24-27




Saturday, January 13, 2018 is Frito-Lay Free Day at the M.S.I., as I wrote yesterday.  Free Museum Entry (general admission) tickets and special activities are courtesy of the Family Edition of Frito-Lay’s Dreamvention Contest.  Note that on Frito-Lay Free Day and on Illinois Free Days, special exhibits like Brick-by-Brick and Robot Revolution, movies in the Giant Dome Theater, an onboard tour the U-505, Coal Mine tours, and the WOW! Tour of the Museum of Science and Industry (M.S.I.) require separate timed tickets that cost $12 per adult or $9 per child.

The Museum of Science and Industry stands at the north end of Jackson Park, along 57th Street, between Lake Shore Drive to the East and Cornell Drive to the West.  It is one of the Museums in the Park, a group of museums and other cultural institutions that sit on property that belongs to the Chicago Park District.

The M.S.I. opened within the Palace of Fine Arts in three stages between 1933 and 1940, as construction work was completed and exhibits were installed.  The Palace of Fine Arts is the last exhibit building from the White City at the heart of Chicago’s first World’s Fair, the World’s Columbian Exposition (1893) to remain standing in Jackson Park.  The first opening ceremony of M.S.I. occurred during the first year of Chicago’s second World’s Fair, A Century of Progress International Exposition (1933-34).

As I related last week, Thursday, January 18, 2019 will also mark the beginning of 2018 Chicago Museum Week when Illinois residents will enjoy discounts of up to 25% off general admission, special exhibits, and giveaways.  “Chicago Museum Week” is a “Week” in name only as it will last nine days, from Thursday, January 18, 2018 to Friday, January 26, 2018. The twelve participating institutions, in the order in which they were founded, are:


Foundation Year

Current Location

Chicago History Museum

(founded as Chicago Historical Society)



Lincoln Park

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

(museum of the Chicago Academy of Sciences)



Lincoln Park

Lincoln Park Zoo



Lincoln Park

The Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago Academy of Fine Arts)



Grant Park

The Field Museum of Natural History (founded as the Columbian Museum of Chicago)



Museum Campus

John G. Shedd Aquarium



Museum Campus

Museum of Science and Industry (founded as the Rosenwald Industrial Museum)



Jackson Park

Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum



Museum Campus

Museum of Contemporary Art


Between Seneca Playground Park to the west and Lake Shore Park to the east
DuSable Museum of African American History (founded as the Ebony Museum of Negro History and Art)



Washington Park

National Museum of Mexican Art (founded as the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum)



Harrison Park

The National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture



Humboldt Park


They are organizing 2018 Chicago Museum Week through an umbrella organization: the Museums in the Park.  Use the hashtag #ChicagoMuseumWeek while making posts on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to assure the attention of other people who love these institutions and the institutions themselves.  The Museums in the Park would like enthusiasts to use the theme “Game Changers” on Thursday, January 18, 2018; the theme “I Love Museums” on Friday, January 19, 2018; “Museum Selfie” over the weekend of Saturday, January 20, 2018 and Sunday, January 21, 2018; “The Future” on Monday, January 22, 2018; “Perspectives” on Tuesday, January 23, 2018; The G.O.A.T. (Greatest of All Time) on Wednesday, January 24, 2018; “Throwback Thursday” on Thursday, 25, 2018; and “Kids Day” on Friday, January 26, 2018.   The sponsors of Chicago Museum Week are 365 Outdoors, 93.9 FM, Chicago Tribune Media Group, NBC5 Chicago, and TimeOut Chicago.  The Museums in the Park gratefully acknowledge the support of the Chicago Park District on behalf of the people of Chicago.

The M.S.I. is open every day except Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.  Most days, it is open from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., but during peak periods it has extended hours (until 5:30 p.m.).  The address is 5700 South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, Illinois 60637.  The Website is https://www.msichicago.org and the phone number is (773) 684-1414.

Brick By Brick Exhibit @ the Museum of Science and Industry ChicagoFigure 1 Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: In this picture, taken August 23, 2016, guests look at one of thirteen amazing LEGO® structures designed and built by LEGO® Certified Professional Adam reed Tucker in the temporary exhibit Brick-by-Brick.

NorthExterior_U-505Banners_0016Figure 2 Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: This is the north entrance of the Museum of Science and Industry with U-505 banners hanging, as seen on Tuesday, June 17, 2014.

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