“When is the Last Free Day at the Museum of Science & Industry in 2019?” by S.M. O’Connor

Monday, November 18, 2019 is the last Illinois Free Day for 2019.  Illinois residents will receive free Museum Entry (general admission), giving them an opportunity to experience Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light, as well as dozens of exhibits, at no charge.  Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light opened yesterday, Thursday, November 14, 2019.  The joint festivals will run through Sunday, January 5, 2019 (the twelfth day of Christmas).

On Illinois Free Days, Museum Entry is free for residents of the state who show valid proof of residency.  The usual discounts for Chicago residents are not applicable on Illinois Free Days.  Entry is limited to six minor children (which is to say children under the age of eighteen) per accompanying adult.

Giant Dome Theater movie tickets, Coal Mine, optional U-505 onboard tours, and certain temporary exhibits are not included by Museum Entry, and require separate admission.  Giant Dome Theater movie tickets, Wired to Wear, Makers United, Coal Mine tour tickets, Fab Lab workshop tickets, WOW! Tour tickets, and Future Energy Chicago tickets are $12 each for adults and $9 each for children (ages three-to-eleven).  U-505 Onboard Tour tickets are $18 each for adults and $14 each for children (ages three-to-eleven). 

Figure 5 Credit: Seán M. O’Connor Caption: This is how the Grand Tree looked from the Main Level of the Grainger Court (East Court), also known as the Transportation Gallery, on Thursday, November 14, 2019.

Closures and Extended Hours

      The M.S.I. is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. this time of year.  It will be closed on Thanksgiving Day (Thursday, November 28, 2019).  The middle two days of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend – Friday, November 29, 2019 and Saturday, November 30, 2019 – it will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.  On Sunday, December 1, 2019, it will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.  Normal hours (9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.) will resume on Monday, December 2, 2019 and continue through Friday, December 6, 2019 (so during the workweek or school-week); resume again on Monday, December 9, 2019 and continue through Friday, December 13, 2019; and resume again on Monday, December 16, 2019 and continue through Friday, December 20, 2019. Extended hours (9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.) will resume the second and third weekends of December (Saturday, December 7, 2019 and Sunday, December 8, 2019 and Saturday, December 14, 2019 and Sunday, December 15, 2019).  The fourth weekend of December – Saturday, December 21, 2019 and Sunday, December 22, 2019 – the M.S.I. will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.  On Monday, December 23, 2019, it will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.  On Tuesday, December 24, 2019 (Christmas Eve), it will be open from 9:30 to 4:00 p.m. because the staff and volunteers will want to get home.  Naturally, it will be closed on Christmas Day (the first Day of Christmas), Wednesday, December 25, 2019.  From Thursday, December 26, 2019 through Monday, December 30, 2019, it will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.  On Tuesday, December 31, 2019 (New Year’s Eve), it will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., because the staff and volunteers will want to get home.  It will open late, at 11:00 a.m., on New Year’s Day (Wednesday, January 1, 2020) and close at 5:30 p.m.  From Thursday, January 2, 2020 and Friday, January 3, 2020, it will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.  Regular hours (9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.) will resume on Saturday, January 4, 2020.  The Kenneth C. Griffin Museum of Science and Industry regularly makes small adjustments to this schedule, so when planning a trip there, check this Webpage and the M.S.I.’s social media for updates. 

EXTENDED HOURS AND EXCEPTIONS

Hours Date
Closed Thanksgiving Day
(Thursday, November 28, 2019)
9:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.  Friday, November 29, 2019
Saturday, November 30, 2019
9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Sunday, December 1, 2019
9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, December 7, 2019
Sunday, December 8, 2019
9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, December 14, 2019
Sunday, December 15, 2019
9:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.  Saturday, December 21, 2019
Sunday, December 22, 2019
9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday, December 23, 2019
9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Christmas Eve
(Tuesday, December 24, 2019)
Closed Christmas Day
(Wednesday, December 25, 2019)
9:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.  Thursday, December 26, 2019
Friday, December 27, 2019
Saturday, December 28, 2019
Sunday, December 29, 2019
 Monday, December 30, 2019
9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. New Year’s Eve
(Tuesday, December 31, 2019)
11:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. New Year’s Day
(Wednesday, January 1, 2020)
9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Thursday, January 2, 2020
Friday, January 3, 2020

      Often formerly stylized as the “Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago” or the “Museum of Science + Industry” the institution is located at the northern end of the Chicago Park District’s Jackson Park, on the south side of 57th Street, between Lake Shore Drive to the east and Cornell Drive to the west, in the East Hyde Park neighborhood of the Hyde Park Community Area (Community Area #41) on the South Side of Chicago.  

      The Kenneth C. Griffin Museum of Science and Industry is housed in the Palace of Fine Arts, also known as the Fine Arts Building, which is the last palace from the White City fairgrounds of Chicago’s first World’s Fair, the World’s Columbian Exposition (1893), still standing in Jackson Park.  Julius Rosenwald (1862-1932), President of Sears, Roebuck & Company, founded the Museum of Science and Industry in 1926 through The Commercial Club of Chicago, of which he was a member.  The M.S.I. opened in three stages between 1933 and 1940, with the first opening ceremony on July 1, 1933.  These events coincided with Chicago’s second World’s Fair, A Century of Progress International Exposition (1933-34), which opened on June 1, 1933.

      On Thursday, October 3, 2019, the Museum of Science and Industry announced that the Board of Trustees had voted to accept a $125,000,000 gift from the Kenneth C. Griffin Charitable Fund.  M.S.I. executives and board members felt it would consequently be appropriate to change the Museum of Science and Industry’s name to the Kenneth C. Griffin Museum of Science and Industry.  A multi-billionaire, Mr. Griffin is the founder and Chief Executive Officer (C.E.O.) of Citadel, Inc., a Chicago-based hedge fund.  His gift is the largest in the history of the science and technology museum, and one of the largest gifts to any cultural institution in Chicago. 

      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.

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