“When will Santa Claus Appear at the Museum of Science & Industry?” by S.M. O’Connor

For Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light, the whole family can poses for a picture with Santa Claus in the Kenneth C. Griffin Museum of Science and Industry’s Holiday Studio on Saturday, November 16, 2019; Sunday, November 17, 2019; Thursday, November 21, 2019; Friday, November 22, 2019; Saturday, November 23, 2019; Sunday, November 24, 2019; Friday, November 29, 2019; Saturday, November 30, 2019; Sunday, December, 1, 2019; Thursday, December 5, 2019; Friday, December 6, 2019; Saturday, December 7, 2019; Sunday, December 8, 2019; Thursday, December 12, 2019; Friday, December 13, 2019; Saturday, December 14, 2019; Sunday, December 15, 2019; Thursday, December 19, 2019; Friday, December 20, 2019; Saturday, December 21, 2019; and Sunday, December 22, 2019.  I will point out December 6th is a particularly appropriate day to get a picture of your tykes with Santa Claus because that is the Feast Day of Saint Nicholas.  Seeing Santa Claus is not covered by Museum Entry (general admission) and requires a time-entry ticket.  The ticket for a family or other group is $30 ($25 for Museum Members).  A digital image or extra sheet is an additional $10.  Click here, scroll down, and click on the red virtual button labeled “Buy tickets” to purchase tickets in advance online for Photos with Santa. One can also purchase tickets in-person on-site in the Museum Entry Hall, but it may sell out.

      Over fifty local cultural groups will perform live cultural musical and dance routines in the Main Auditorium in the M.S.I.’s West Pavilion on the remaining weekends in November and weekends during Advent in December.  [For context, this year, Advent will run from Sunday, December 1, 2019 through Tuesday, December 24, 2019.] Families will also be able to make snow-filled Christmas tree ornaments and snack on seasonal treats.  This is covered by Museum Entry (general admission).  The Holiday Snack Shop will be selling hot chocolate and snack food.  With the purchase of an additional advanced ticket, one can get a photo session with Santa Claus on select dates throughout (the rest of) November and December. Yesterday, I devoted a whole article to the performance schedule. A full cultural performance and Santa Claus schedule will be posted online at www.msichicago.org/holiday.   Please note that times and dates are subject to change.

      The Grand Tree Lighting Ceremony that kicked off the 77th annual Christmas Around the World and 25th annual Holidays of Light festivals occurred Thursday, November 14, 2019.  They will run through Sunday, January 5, 2019 (the twelfth day of Christmas).

Figure 1 Credit: Seán M. O’Connor Caption: Over 45,000 twinkling lights illuminate the Grand Tree at the Museum of Science and Industry’s Christmas Around the World. This is how the Grand Rotunda looked when the Grand Tree’s lights came on at the Grand Tree Lighting Ceremony on Thursday, November 14, 2019.

Figure 2 Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: Weekend musical and dance performances from Chicagoland groups are included with Museum Entry.

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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