“A Short Guide to the Museum of Science & Industry”

      The largest science museum in the Western Hemisphere, the Kenneth C. Griffin Museum of Science and Industry (M.S.I.) stretches along the north end of Jackson Park in the neighborhood of East Hyde Park in the Community Area of Hyde Park on the South Side of Chicago.  It sits at the corner of 57th Street and Lake Shore Drive.  I worked at the M.S.I. in three different positions over ten years ago, as, successively a Program Interpreter, an Archival Assistant, and the Interim Archivist.  This short guide is dedicated to the memory of my friend, Andrew (“Drew”) Jones (1952-2019), who was also a Program Interpreter at the turn of the century.  He seems to have outlived his entire family, but he is missed by the many friends he made at the M.S.I.  I have taken my family back to the M.S.I. about once a year for the past few years. My last visit was to take my mother and two nieces there in December to see Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light because the little girls were disappointed not to be able to attend the opening ceremony with me in November, so when I relate your children, nieces, nephews, or grandchildren are likely to love an exhibit, artifact, or simulator, it’s based on first-hand observations of the Adorable Little People in my own life, not a hunch or vague recollections that would be over ten years old.

      Please note that as of this writing the Giant Dome movie theater and the Burlington Zephyr exhibit are both closed while they undergo renovations.  The Giant Dome Theater is scheduled to re-open in March and the Zephyr exhibit, All Aboard the Silver Streak, should also re-open in the spring.

      The M.S.I. is one of three huge museums in Chicago where it would take a week to see everything properly – the other two being The Field Museum of Natural History on the Museum Campus at the northern end of Burnham Park and The Art Institute of Chicago in Grant Park – but once you know the place well enough and want to bring out-of-town friends or relatives there or see a new or refurbished exhibit or see an old favorite, you can zip through it in a few hours, seeing what you consider the highlights.  The most popular exhibits are the U-505, the Coal Mine, Colleen Moore’s Fairy Castle, the Chick Hatchery, and the annual Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light festivals. 


      If you are visiting the M.S.I. in good weather and in broad daylight, take some time to walk around the building or at least part of it to appreciate the Greco-Roman architecture.  Architect Charles B. Atwood (1849-1894) designed the building as the Palace of Fine Arts for Chicago’s first World’s Fair, the World’s Columbian Exposition (1893).  After the World’s Fair, it housed The Field Museum until 1920. Then Sears, Roebuck & Company President Julius Rosenwald (1862-1932) and the South Park District (one of the forerunners of the Chicago Park District) paid to restore the building and added the limestone facade.  Architect Alfred P. Shaw (1895-1970) oversaw the restoration and designed the Art Moderne interior.  Rosenwald wanted Chicago to have a great science-technology museum like the one in Munich, the Deutsches Museum von Meisterwerken der Naturwissenschaft und Technik (German Museum of Masterpieces of Science and Technology).[1]   The M.S.I. opened in three stages between 1933 and 1940.  That first opening stage coincided with Chicago’s second World’s Fair, A Century of Progress (1933-34).  Many exhibits went from the World’s Fair to the M.S.I. and some people worked for both organizations. 

Most notably, Rufus Cutler Dawes (1867-1940) was simultaneously President of A Century of Progress Corporation (1927-1940) and the fourth President of the Museum of Science and Industry (1934-1940).  Upon his death, his protégé, Major Lenox Lohr (1891-1968), who had left the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to become General Manager of A Century of Progress Corporation, resigned the presidency of N.B.C. in 1940 to accept the presidency of the Museum of Science and Industry, and held the office until his own death in 1968.

Figure 1 Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: This is the North Portico of the Museum of Science and Industry and the north lawn in the spring of 2018. The subterranean garage is beneath the north lawn, making it a “green roof.”  Previously, there was a parking lot north of the M.S.I.

      On Thursday, October 3, A.D. 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. 


Driving Yourself

If you are driving yourself, take Lake Shore Drive to 57th Street, and parking in the underground parking garage.  The entrance to the garage is on Cornell Drive, just after 57th Street curves into Cornell.  There is a dedicated stop light on Cornell for the drive that leads down into the subterranean garage.  This garage structure has two wings and is three stories deep.  Take a ticket when you enter the garage and pay for parking at one of the pay stations located near the doors that lead into the museum proper.  If you are going to a night event at the Museum, whether it is a public event or a private one, use the garage, not the parking lots.  

There are also parking lots on the west side of the building and southwest of the building accessible from Lake Shore Drive using Science Drive.  If you are using the lots, try to stick to the one west of the Museum.  Formerly, one of the advantages of using these lots is that they were formerly free, but now the situation is more complicated.  These days, if you use one of the lots due west of the building and north of Science Drive, you need to pay a parking meter.  Although these west lots are no longer free, this still makes them cheaper than the garage, so in good weather this may be a good deal.  The lots southwest of the Museum and south of Science Drive remain free. Those lots southwest of the building are shared by people who are visiting Jackson Park without going to the Museum of Science and Industry.[2]  In good weather, these parking lots southwest of the building may be worth using, whether to save money or because the garage structure is full when there is a particularly popular exhibit open.  However, in bad weather, you will want to use the garage if you can’t find an empty space in the west lots, because walking a long distance through a heavy rainstorm or snowstorm or high winds from the southwest lots to the building (and back at the end of your trip) is not worth saving money. If you park in one of these lots west or southwest of the building, you will be entering through the Henry Crown Space Center.

Don’t use the lots on the west side of the building.  The larger one is for school buses and the smaller one is for contractors and the press.

2018 Spring Exteriors
Figure 2 Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: This is how the Museum of Science and Industry looked from the southwest shore of the Columbia Basin in the spring of 2018


Bus, Cab, or Ride Share

If you are taking a Chicago Transit Authority (C.T.A.) bus, taxicab, or Uber or Lyft service, you will be dropped off in the semicircular drive in front of the building.  In this case, you will enter at the street level and descend with elevators or stairs and end up in the Entry Hall, like people who park in the garage.


The third way to reach the Museum of Science and Industry is to take a Metra Electric District[3] train or a Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District South Shore Line[4] train and get off at the 56th-57th-58th Street Station.  [Both train lines also use the Museum Campus/11th Street station, which is good for walking to the Museum Campus, comprised of The Field Museum, the Shedd Aquarium, and the Adler Planetarium.]  Walk eastward from there (toward Lake Michigan) along 57th Street, crossing Stony Island Avenue and Cornell Drive, to the M.S.I. front lawn, and then enter at the street level like people who take a bus or cab.


You can purchase tickets in person onsite in the Entry Hall or the Henry Crown Space Center, online, or by calling (773) 684-1414.  Museum Entry (general admission) tickets are $21.95 or $12.95 for children (ages three-to-eleven).  You can save $2 on each ticket if you purchase then in advance online, so they’re $19.95 for adults or $10.95 for children.  Members get in free.  Museum Entry tickets cover most permanent exhibits, including Science Storms and Numbers in Nature: A Mirror Maze, and some temporary exhibits.  They do not cover parking, special exhibits, special events, Giant Dome Theater movies, or tours of the U-505 and Coal Mine.  Click here to learn about group rates (for parties of fifteen or more) and field trips/

For larger sums, you can add on timed-entry tickets for special exhibits or time in labs: entry to the temporary exhibit Wired to Wear™, entry to the exhibit Future Energy Chicago, a tour of the Coal Mine, time in Makers United, time in the Fab Lab, or movies in the Giant Dome Theater (after it re-opens in March).  These are called “Ticketed Experiences.”

Museum Entry + 1, 2, or 3 Ticketed Experiences

Museum Entry +1Adults$31.95 ($31.95 online)
Museum Entry +1Children (3-11)$21.95 ($19.95 online)
Museum Entry +2Adults$45.95 ($43.95 online)
Museum Entry +2Children (3-11)$30.95 ($28.95 online)
Museum Entry + 3Adults$57.95 ($55.95 online)
Museum Entry + 3Children (3-11)$39.95 ($37.95 online)

Tickets for the U-505 Onboard tour are $18 for adults (and teens) and $14 for children (three-to-eleven).

Flex Pass

The Flex Pass is $49.95 for adults and $29.95 for children (3-11).  Available onsite only, it includes Museum Entry and allows you to pick timed-entry exhibits, tours, experiences, and films as your party explores the Museum.[5]  The Flex Pass cannot be combined with M.S.I. membership or other offers.  This is available for a limited time.  Click here to see full details.

Chicago CityPASS

Purchase Chicago CityPASS online with immediate delivery to one’s mobile device or onsite at the M.S.I.’s ticket counters to save 50% and skip ticket lines. Use Chicago CityPASS tickets to gain premier admission to the M.S.I. and four more top attractions in Chicago.

Go Chicago Card

The Go Chicago Card provides you access to twenty-five of Chicago’s most popular attractions and tours for a single price on a single ticket.  Buy a one-day, three-day, or seven-day pass at the M.S.I.  Click here to learn more.

Chicago Resident Discount

Chicago residents receive a discount on Museum Entry: $5 off for adults and $3 off for children (3-11).  This offer does not apply on Illinois Free Days.

Illinois Free Days

Illinois residents receive free Museum Entry fifty-two days per year.  I wrote about the Illinois Free Days in January and February earlier this year.  Click here to see an up-to-date Illinois Free Day schedule.  This offer is limited to six children (under eighteen) admitted per one accompanying adult.[6]

Always Free

Active-duty United States Armed Services personnel and veterans, Illinois (former) P.O.W.s, Chicago firefighters, Chicago police officers, and Illinois teachers (Preschool-through 12th Grade) receive free Museum Entry for themselves.  Show a valid occupational or military status identification card when tickets onsite.  

Other Offers

There are special offers under these programs: Blue Star Museums,[7] Illinois School Groups and Homeschooling Families,[8] Kids Museum Passport,[9] Museums for All,[10] and Members of A.S.T.C. Museums.[11]  Note that these offers of free Museum Entry do not include parking, Coal Mine tours, Giant Dome Theater films, U-505 on-board tours, or other special exhibits that require a ticket purchase.  Click here for information on Ticket Prices on Free Days.

M.S.I. Membership

Membership is a good value, it is 100% tax-deductible, and it brings the satisfaction of supporting science education.  Benefits include free Museum Entry every day, free or discounted tickets to special exhibits and exhibitions and the Giant Dome Theater, free coat check and stroller service, a 10% discount at the M.S.I.’s gift shops and restaurants, and free parking at the Family Membership level (and above) or discounted parking for Dual Memberships. Click here to learn more.


Ticket counters, the main gift shop, coat check, and washrooms are all located down here.    If you start out by (1) parking underground or (2) taking a bus or cab or (3) taking a Metra train and walking a few blocks, you will end up at the Entry Hall and the first exhibit you will see is the Zephyr. When the Zephyr, which is underground, between the two wings of the subterranean garage, re-opens, it is definitely worth seeing.[12]    The 31,000-square-foot Great Hall and new Zephyr exhibit All Aboard the Silver Streak opened on July 16, 1998. 

The Ticket Counter is located at the west end of the Entry Hall.  One end of the Ticket Counter is for people who pre-ordered their tickets by phone or online.  Note that even on Illinois Free Days when the M.S.I. is free for anyone who resides in the state, it is still necessary to pick up free tickets at the Ticket Counter to show in the Lower Court to proceed any farther.  The main gift shop is called the Museum Store and it is located at the east end of the Entry Hall directly across from the Ticket Counter. Go upstairs by taking the stairs, escalators, or elevators to the Lower Court on the Lower Level (ground floor). 

Figure 3 Credit: Seán M. O’Connor Caption: Ascend to the Lower Court using the stairs or escalators or elevators at the south end of the Entry Hall.  Here, we see the Entry Hall on before the opening ceremony for Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light on Thursday, November 15, 2018.


The Lower Court

From here, choose between (1) continuing to travel upward by going forward and taking the stairs or escalators up to the Main Level; or (2) grabbing a meal or snack in the Museum Café or larger Brain Food Court, both of which are straight ahead and to the right; or (3) turning right to go toward the West Pavilion; or (4) turning left to go toward the East Pavilion and Henry Crown Space Center; or (5) going around the stairs and escalators to the back of the Lower Court to see the Swiss Jolly Ball and then turn left to walk through the Red Stairs to enter Farm Tech

The Museum Café sells Starbucks brand coffee, hot chocolate, snacks, and desserts.  Brain Food Court occupies a large rectangular space at the west end of the Central Pavilion.  It is organized like a cross between a shopping mall’s food court and the restaurant Foodlife at Water Tower Place.  Guests enter off the Lower Court, go to any one or more of various counters to order a sandwich, salad, pasta, etc. at the south end of the space, turn right and queue up to pay, and then sit in a space at the north end of the space.  There are also tables and chairs clustered in the Lower Court between the escalators and stairs (that lead up to the North Court) and the Museum Café, as well as behind the escalators and stairs.  

Kids are drawn to the Jolly Ball (a giant pinball machine that shows off the landscapes of Switzerland) and they love the cow statues in Farm Tech.  Adult fans of Rube Goldberg (1883-1970) will also be drawn to the Jolly Ball.  It is set against a wall at the south end of the Lower Court, between Farm Tech and the Brain Food Court.

Figure 4 Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: Charles Morgan, a British jeweler and inventor who resided in Switzerland, built it from scraps he salvaged from junkyards to promote the Swiss National Tourist Office.  Technically, it’s a giant pinball machine and earned a place in the 1988 Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s largest flipper machine.

Southeastern Corner of the Central Pavilion

In Farm Tech, adults might be interested in the interactive displays concerning modern farming technology.  Especially if children in your party are very young, be prepared to take pictures of them sitting on one cow statue and sitting in a full-sized John Deere tractor.  If your kids enjoy the Farm Tech exhibit, make sure to visit the Farm-in-the-Zoo at Lincoln Park Zoo (and vice versa).  Normally, there’s a Mold-A-Rama machine here that sells green plastic tractor keepsakes, but around Advent and Christmastime this one gets re-purposed to make Christmas-themed keepsakes and moves upstairs to the Main Level.  From this exhibit, you can access The Idea Factory, Future Energy Chicago (which requires a separate ticket), and Colleen Moore’s Fairy Castle.

The Idea Factory is supposed to allow wee tots to learn about scientific principles through play.  There’s no extra charge, but you have to sign up your tot to use it.  [To be clear, it is for children ten-and-under.]  There’s no extra charge, but you have to sign up your tot to use it.  The last ticketed entry is twenty minutes before the M.S.I. closes. Nursing mothers are welcome to nurse their babies in any public space in the Museum, but there is a nursing station particularly designated for them in the Idea Factory.

Future Energy Chicago requires a separate ticket and takes about forty-five minutes.  It concerns urban planning and energy use. 

Colleen Moore’s Fairy Castle is a giant dollhouse made at the behest of silent film star Colleen Moore.  Expect to spend a few minutes here.  Generally speaking, women and girls love everything about the Fairy Castle, while men admire the engineering and craftsmanship. 

The Science Theater is also in this corner of the building, but it is only used for special presentations nowadays.  Incidentally, this area is another opportunity to use the washrooms because the largest washrooms in the place run between Farm Tech to the east and the Brain Food Court to the west. 

Figure 5 Photo Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: Students choose different power sources to fuel Chicago as they take on the role of power engineers in the “Future Power” game, part of the Future Energy Chicago exhibit at the M.S.I. The preview period for this exhibit began on Wednesday, September 18, 2013.

Future Energy Chicago Learning Lab @ The Museum of Science and Industry Chicago
Figure 6 Photo Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: Visitors think like automotive engineers by designing energy-efficient vehicles in the “Future Car” simulation game in the exhibit Future Energy Chicago at the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago.

Colleen Moore Fairy Castle @ the Museum of Science and Industry
Figure 7 Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: This is Colleen Moore’s Fairy Castle, as seen on May 17, 2014.  The nine-square-foot castle has 1,500 miniatures. 

Figure 8 Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: This is one view of the interior of Colleen Moore’s Fairy Castle, as seen on May 18, 2014.

Northwestern Corner of the Central Pavilion and West Pavilion

If, instead of staying in the Central Pavilion, you had headed toward the West Pavilion, after passing through a small temporary exhibit gallery (currently occupied by Black Creativity: 50 Years)[13] you would have walked through the Ships Gallery and Racing Cars exhibits. Kids (and grown men) will love the model sailing ships and model steamships in the Ships Gallery.  Bring the issue of motive power up with the kids.  Proceed to the cars and once again this is an opportunity to talk about motive power again.  You can also talk about how the horseless carriage gave greater personal autonomy to hundreds of millions of people. 

In the West Pavilion, on the Lower Level, you will find the Little Theater.  This is also the part of the building where school groups exit buses to begin their field trips in the Group Center and it is where school groups eat bagged lunches in the Group Center Lunchroom.  The West Pavilion has its own gift shop, but it is not open all the time.  This is called The Kid Stop Shop.  Now, either turn around or up the Purple Stairs to see what’s on the Main Level of the West Pavilion.

Ship Thru the Ages exhibit @ the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago
Figure 9 Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: This diorama depicts the first fleet of Christopher Columbus, La Pinta, the Santa Maria, and the Niña.  Mr. Spector took this photograph on Tuesday, October 18, 2016.

Ship Thru the Ages exhibit @ the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago
Figure 10 Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: On top is a model of the United Fruit Company’s banana boat Santa Marta.  This is how the she would have looked around 1909.  She was a 394’ vessel that steamed between the U.S.A., Central American countries, and South American countries.  On the bottom is a model of the packet riverboat Marieville.  A stern-wheeler, she carried passengers and cargo along the Mississippi River from St. Louis to New Orleans.  This is roughly how she looked in 1886.  She was 193’, 6” long.  The model was a gift of Arthur C. Allyn.  Mr. Spector took this photograph on Thursday, October 20, 2016.

Northeastern Corner of the Central Pavilion

If you had headed to the East Pavilion and Henry Crown Space Center from the Lower Court, you would have passed through a temporary exhibit gallery (currently occupied by U-505 Submarine: 75 Stories),[14] past the Idea Factory, through Circus, past a real Conestoga wagon, and though Eye Spy on the way to the East Pavilion.  The miniature animated Circus exhibit was designed, built, and animated by a single man, retired railroad foreman Roland J. Weber, who carved many of the wooden pieces himself.  Since most, if not all, circuses have given up on exhibiting animals, the Circus exhibit, which is full of animated models of an early 20th Century circus, is a good chance to show your children (or grandchildren) what circuses were like not-so-long-ago and explain before zoos were commonplace and we could see documentaries about exotic animals on TV (and now streaming services, too) the only way many Americans ever saw an exotic animal was at the circus.  You can also explain the term “midway” circuses used can be traced back to the way the Midway Plaisance (which is between Jackson Park and Washington Park) was used during the World’s Columbian Exposition to host concessions we’d recognize today as being forerunners of theme park attractions and circus acts.  [If you take the Orange Stairs near the Conestoga wagon upstairs, you will end up in Space Port.]  Adults usually zip through Eye Spy, but little kids love it, so be prepared to slow down for them. 

U-505 75th Anniversary Exhibit: U-505 75 Stories
Figure 11 Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: The exhibit U-505 Submarine: 75 Stories includes uniforms and journals of the German submariners.
Figure 12 Credit: Seán M. O’Connor Caption: This is a corner of the Circus exhibit.  In this long, winding display case, visitors see the circus parade that would happen on opening day for the circus.

East Pavilion

      The entrance to the subterranean U-505 exhibit hall is on the Lower Level of the East Pavilion.  Take the stairs and ramps down to the U-505 and walk around the World War II U-boat built at the behest of the Kriegsmarine (as the German Navy was called under the Third Reich).  [If you are in a wheelchair or on crutches, take the elevator down instead.]  The U-505 formerly stood outside, behind the East Pavilion.  Today, visitors are awestruck when they round a corner and see her indoors because she is a whole long-range attack submarine. 

There is no extra charge to walk around the U-boat, examine the related artifacts, and use the simulators, but there is a timed-entry ticket to take the onboard tour, which lasts around 25 minutes.  [If you take the tour, and you have kids in your group, yes, talk about motive power again.  The U-505 was diesel-electric vehicle while surfaced and she was an electric vehicle while submerged.]  Again, tickets for the U-505 onboard tour are $18 for adults (and teens) and $14 for children (three-to-eleven). Note that wheelchairs, Segways, and strollers can roll around the U-505, but not through her.  That is part of why there are mockups of several portions of the U-505 beside her in the exhibit hall, along with artifact displays.

      The U-505, like many submarines, had double hulls.  The outer hull enclosed the pressure hull, ballast tanks, and fuel tanks; made the vessel more hydrodynamic than the cylindrical pressure hull allowed; provided support to for the wooden weather deck; and offered storage space for the anchor windlass, superfluous torpedoes, and lifeboats.[15] 

Outer Hull Dimensions

Length252 feet
Beam22 feet
Draft12 feet

Inner Hull Dimensions

Length189 feet
Diameter14 feet
Pressure Hull Plate Thickness.73 Inches

      The U-505 had a total of three Kommandanten (Commanding Officers). The first Kommandant (Commandant) of the U-505 was Kapitänleutnant (Captain-Lieutenant, the equivalent of a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy) Axel-Olaf Löwe,[16] the second was Oberleutnant zur See (Lieutenant Junior Grade) Peter Zschech, and the third was Oberleutnant zur See Harald Lange. 

      Each C.O. of the U-505 had a Wappen, a personal emblem that was emblazoned on the Conning Tower.[17]  The scallop shell we see today was Lange’s.[18]  [The U-505 did not have a Nazi swastika painted on the Conning Tower because U-boats were only so marked on those rare occasions when they went into the Pacific Ocean and might encounter the naval and air forces of a fellow Axis Power, the Japanese Empire.[19]]  The emblem of the 2nd U-boat Flotilla, was painted on the front of the Conning Tower.[20]  This was a blue rune that represented victory and resembles a lightning bolt with a U-boat running across the upper part of the victory rune.[21] 


VesselFlagDate SunkCommandantNumber of People Killed
BenmohrBritishMarch 5, 1942Löwe0
SydhavNorwegianMarch 7, 1942Löwe13
West IrmoAmericanApril 3, 1942Löwe15
AlphaccaDutchApril 4, 1942Löwe15
Sea ThrushAmericanJune 28, 1942Löwe0
Thomas McKeanAmericanJune 29, 1942Löwe5
RoamarColombianJuly 22, 1942Löwe23
Ocean JusticeBritishNovember 7, 1942Zschech2

      The U-505 had two 2,500-horsepower, nine-cylinder, super-charged, four-stroke (also known as four-cycle), seawater-cooled diesel-electric engines manufactured by Maschinenfabrik Augsburg-Nürnberg (M.A.N.), AG.[22]  Two Siemens-Schuckert-Weake (S.S.W.) electric motors propelled the U-505 while she was underwater.[23]  The electric motors were fed by 164 (2 x 62) battery cells that generated 740 W, producing up to 562 horse-power.[24]

      Under the command of Captain Daniel V. Gallery (1901-1977), U.S. Navy Hunter-Killer Task Group 22.3 captured the U-505 on Sunday, June 4, 1944, south of the Cape Verde Islands (then a Portuguese colony) and 150 miles west of Cape Blanco in French West Africa (now the Islamic Republic of Mauritania) and then towed her approximately 2,500 miles to Naval Operating Base, Bermuda.[25]   This was the first time since 1815 that an American warship had captured a man-o-war on the high seas.  Hunter/Killer Task Group 22.3 consisted of six ships.  These were the U.S.S. Guadalcanal (CVE-60), Casablanca-class escort aircraft carrier, also known as a “jeep carrier” or “baby flattop,” and five destroyer escorts: the U.S.S. Pillsbury (DE-133), the U.S.S. Chatelain (DE-149), the U.S.S. Flaherty (DE-135), the U.S.S. Pope (DE-134), and the U.S.S. Jenks (DE-665).  

      Lange, following protocol, was the first man out.[26]  However, the crewmen panicked because both of the Wildcat fighter planes that had launched from the Guadalcanal strafed the U-boat and three of the destroyer escorts shot at the U-505 as well, with the result that Lange and Executive Officer Paul Meyer were wounded, and radioman Gottfried Fisher was killed.[27] 

      The Guadalcanal towed the U-505 most of the way to Bermuda until the tugboat Abnaki (and other ships) rendezvoused with the task group and towed the U-505 the rest of the way.   While Lange remained in a hospital in Bermuda, and had to have a leg amputated, most of his men were taken to Camp Ruston, Louisiana.  [One of them, Felix Ewald, who helped the Americans keep the U-505 afloat, had to be sequestered.]  The U.S. Government kept the survival of Lange and his men a state secret because if the Nazi Germany knew all but one of the officers and crewmen of the U-505 had survived, it would be reasonable to deduce the U-505 had been captured rather than sunk.  If they could surmise the U.S. Navy had the U-505 they would know the U.S. Navy had all of her Enigma machines and code books. Then they would have changed the Enigma codes and the British would no longer be able to decode them.  The Germans were unaware the British had already captured an Enigma from the U-boat before she sank.  The U.S. Navy changed the name of the U-505 to the Nemo so if the Germans intercepted an American message they would not know it concerned the U-505.  After the war was over in Europe, the U.S. Navy brought the U-505 to Philadelphia to promote the sale of war bonds while the war continued in Asia.  After the war, the U-505 went to Portsmouth, New Hampshire.  One can imagine how happy the families of the U-505’s officers and crewmen were to find out that all but one of them were still alive when the Kriegsmarine had told them all of them were missing and presumed dead.

      The U-505 would have been scrapped if the M.S.I. hadn’t offered to take her.  Captain Gallery was from Chicago.  One of his brothers, Father John Ireland Gallery (1902-1995), a secular priest (and U.S. Navy chaplain) who was pastor of a parish on the South Side of Chicago, asked Major Lenox Lohr, the President of the Museum of Science and Industry (1940-1968), if the M.S.I. would like a submarine.  As it happened, the M.S.I. had always wanted a submarine because the Deutches Museum in Munich has the U-1, the very first U-boat commissioned into the Kaiserliche Marine (Imperial German Navy).  With encouragement from Colonel Robert McCormick (1880-1955), publisher of the Chicago Tribune, Congress passed a law allowing the U.S. Navy to donate the U-505 to the M.S.I., but the Museum Corporation would have to pay to move it.   The co-chairmen of the committee that arranged to bring the U-505 from Portsmouth, New Hampshire to Chicago, Illinois were Robert Crown (1921-1969) and Carl Stockholm (1897-1996). [28] 

Finally, in 1954, $250,000 had been raised.  To bring the U-505 to Chicago, she had to be towed from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, up to the Gulf of St. Lawrence, down the St. Lawrence River (as the St. Lawrence Seaway did not yet exist), across four of the five Great Lakes – crossing from Lake Eerie to lake Ontario by way of the Welland Canal – down Lake Michigan to the Chicago River, bring her down the Chicago Lakeshore in a floating dry dock, beach her, and pull her across Lake Shore Drive.  One of the former crewmen, Hans Joachim Decker, later immigrated to the U.S.A. and got a job at the M.S.I. to help take care of her.  For decades, the U-505 sat outside, behind the West Pavilion, with three trains, but Chicago winters are notoriously harsh, so the M.S.I. moved the 999 inside the Central Pavilion, repaired the Burlington Zephyr and lowered it underground into a specially created gallery between the two wings of the new garage built under the front lawn, gave the third train to the Illinois Railway Museum, and built the U-505 a new exhibit gallery next to the east wing of the garage structure, in front of the West Pavilion.  In an engineering feat almost as difficult as bringing the U-505 from New Hampshire to Illinois, the M.S.I. had contractors repair the boat, raise her, roll her around the west pavilion, slowly lower her underground, build a roof over her, and finish restoring her. The 35,000-square-foot McCormick Tribune Foundation Exhibition Hall was finished in time for the new U-505 exhibit, The New U-505 Experience to be opened on June 5, 2005 – the day after the 61st anniversary of the U-boat’s capture.

      I have written several articles about the U-505.  Click here to read about the U-505 as a vehicle, here to read an introduction to her service history before capture, here to read about her journey from Hamburg to Lorient under the command of Axel-Olaf Löwe, here to read about her war patrols under Löwe’s command, here to read about her war patrols under the command of Peter Zschech (1918-1943), here to read about her final war patrols under the command of Harald Lange (1903-1967), and here to read about U.S. Navy Task Group 22.3’s capture of the U-505 on Sunday, June 4, A.D. 2020.

U-505 Submarine @ the Museum of Science+Industry Chicago
Figure 13 Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: Between 1954 and 2004, the U-505 was on display behind the Museum of Science and Industry’s East Pavilion.  Since 2004, the U-505 has been on display in a 35,000 square-foot exhibit hall under the north lawn of the Museum of Science and Industry.  Mr. Spector took this picture on August 2, 2007.

Figure 14 Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: This is the U-505 engine room.  Mr. Spector took this picture on September 26, 20012.

      Be sure to look at the real Enigma machine on display outside the U-boat.  [Here, explain the first computers were used to crack Enigma codes.]  When you are on the lowest level of this exhibit, so you can walk alongside the U-505, you are three stories below the front lawn and on the same level as the Zephyr.  Take the elevator back upstairs.  The U-505 exhibit, The New U-505 Experience, has a dedicated gift shop on the Lower Level that you’ll pass on your left as you exit the exhibit hall.  It is called the U-505 Shop.  If you stopped to have your picture taken as you walked down the ramp around the U-505, you pick up the pictures across from the U-505 Shop.  Expect to take 40-60 minutes in the U-505 exhibit hall if you have the slightest interest in the history of World War II or submarines.  Some people may need more time in the exhibit. 

      Military history buffs may want to sign up for the U-505 In-depth Experience, which takes place about once a month.  Tickets are $40 ($35 for Members).  The next one will be on Sunday, February 16, A.D. 2020.

Henry Crown Space Center

Outside the U-505 exhibit entrance, take the Orange Stairs up to the Main Level of the East Pavilion or take the long hallway to the Henry Crown Space Center.  Near the stairs, there is a Mold-A-Rama machine that sells U-505 keepsakes.  The model home from Smart House Green + Wired in the courtyard between the East Pavilion and the Henry Crown Center is closed, but there are explanatory texts at the windows that look out at it.  As you enter the Henry Crown Space Center (H.C.S.C.), take a moment to look at the portrait of industrialist Henry Crown (1896-1990), whose family helped pay the construction costs for the H.C.S.C.[29]  The Apollo 8 Command Module is on loan to the M.S.I. from the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air & Space Museum.  Like the U-505 exhibit hall, the H.C.S.C. has its own gift shop.  It is called the Launch Pad.  Just outside it, a Mold-A-Rama machine sells white plastic space shuttle keepsakes.  Expect to take 10-20 minutes in the H.C.S.C., depending upon how interested your party is in N.A.S.A. and space exploration.  [If the Giant Dome Theater (formerly the OMNIMAX Theater) was open and showing movies, I would say add at least forty minutes for the movie.]  There is a room with vending machines across from the gift shop. 

On Monday, June 30, 1986, more than 400 guests attended an opening gala to mark the opening of the Henry Crown Space Center. Dr. Victor Danilov, President & Director of the M.S.I., presided. Henry Crown’s wife, Gladys Crown (died 1991), and son, Lester Crown, were present. Joseph Cardinal Bernadin (1928-1986), Archbishop of Chicago, gave the benediction. If you really like the Henry Crown Space Center, you should also visit the Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum on the Museum Campus up at the northern end of Burnham Park. 

Figure 15 Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: Weightlessness in the International Space Station is simulated here, as seen on Thursday, January 24, 2008.

Figure 16 Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: This is the Apollo 8 Command Module in the Henry Crown Space Center, as seen on Wednesday, December 10, 2008.

Figure 17 Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: The Lunar Excursion Module (L.E.M.), as the Apollo Lunar Module was originally known, was the two-man lander vehicle of the Apollo spacecraft.  This is a L.E.M. trainer at the Henry Crown Space Center, as seen on Thursday, October 29, 2015.

      The VR Spacewalk combines V.R. (virtual-reality) goggles, motion, and 4D effects to give a first-person simulation of an astronaut making a spacewalk to repair the International Space Station 250 miles up in orbit until something goes wrong.  This ride is not covered by Museum Entry (general admission) tickets.  A separate, timed-entry ticket costs $10 ($9 for Museum Members).  Up to four people may ride per cycle.  It is recommended for teenagers and adults thirteen-years-of-age-and-over.  Guests who are under thirteen years old but at least forty-two-inches tall may get on the ride provided they ride with the consent of a parent or guardian.  Please note that eyeglasses cannot be worn with the V.R. headset.  Read medical advisories at the exhibit.


North Court and Grand Rotunda

If you had taken the stairs or escalators from the Lower Court up to the Main Level, you would have found yourself in the Rosenwald Court (North Court) of the Central Pavilion.  If you kept going straight forward, you would enter the Grand Rotunda (which is where the forty-foot-tall Grand Tree stands during Christmas Around the World).  You can see the Coal Mine‘s tower in the South Court. Check at the Information Desk in the North Court to find out about daily programs, including science demonstrations.        

The exterior height of the Central Pavilion’s main dome is 155 feet. The Central Pavilion Dome has a diameter of 72 feet, while the West & East Pavilion Domes each has a diameter of 46 feet.  The four piers supporting the Central Dome were faced with veined white Colorado marble, while the floors of the North, South, East, and West Courts were made of gray Missouri marble.  According to Herman Kogan, author of A Continuing Marvel: the Story of the Museum of Science & Industry, it was Rufus Daweswho authored the Museum’s motto inscribed in brass letters over two-feet-high on the dome’s supporting lintel ring, “SCIENCE DISCERNS THE LAWS OF NATURE.  INDUSTRY APPLIES THEM TO THE NEEDS OF MAN.” 

Color-Coded Stairs

It is more obvious on this floor that the four staircases which flank the Grand Rotunda are color-coded.  All four of these staircases give the public access to the Lower Level, Main Level, and Balcony Level.  On the Main and Balcony Levels, the Red Stairs, which is the only one of the four to have an elevator, opens on both Rosenwald Court (North Court) and the Transportation Gallery (East Court); the Blue Stairs opens on both the Rosenwald Court (North Court) and Science Storms (West Court); the Green Stairs opens on both Science Storms (West Court) and Farrell Family Court (South Court); and the Yellow Stairs opens on both the Transportation Gallery (East Court) and Farrell Family Court (South Court).

The Red Stairs and Green Stairs have exhibit cases mounted on the walls.  A Foucault’s pendulum swings in the Blue Stairs.  [Devised by the French physicist León Foucault (1819-1868), it demonstrates the rotation of the Earth.]   Currently, there are no exhibits on display in the Yellow Stairs.

Northwestern Corner of Central Pavilion, and West Pavilion

  However, if you instead turned right, you would pass a temporary exhibit hall (currently occupied by the Black Creativity Innovation Studio) on your left and then, if you turned left and entered Extreme Ice, you would be headed toward the West Pavilion. [Note there is an elevator bank tucked into the northwestern-most corner of the building between Extreme Ice (on the Main Level) and the old main entrance.]  You would also pass through Earth Revealed, the Whispering Gallery, and The Art of the BicycleEarth Revealed is a simulator shows what our planet looks like from outer space.  Little kids love the Whispering Gallery, which has acoustics so a person whispering at one end can be heard at the far end. Bicyclists from eight-to-eighty will enjoy a stroll through The Art of the Bicycle, which draws together antiques that the curators have pulled out of Collections storage with cutting-edge bikes on loan from manufacturers to illustrate the history of the bicycle.  Currently, the Black Creativity Juried Art Exhibition occupies the space outside the Auditorium on the Main Level of the West Pavilion.  The Black Creativity Juried Art Exhibition opened on M.L.K., Jr. Day and will run through Sunday, March 1, A.D. 2020.  If you would like to see the Lower Level of the West Pavilion, take the Purple Stairs.

Figure 18 Credit: Kasumi Chow, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: Visitors of all ages to the Museum of Science and Industry’s exhibit Extreme Ice are able to touch a real seven-foot-tall ice wall.

Art of the Bicycle Exhibit @ The Museum of Science and Industry Chicago
Figure 19 Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: This is a prototype of Israeli inventor Izhar Gafni’s Cardboard Bicycle in The Art of the Bicycle.  It is fully functional, waterproof, and fireproof.  The brake and pedals are made of recycled materials.

Northeastern Corner of Central Pavilion

If, instead of heading toward the West Pavilion, you had turned left and headed toward the East Pavilion, you would have passed through Fast Forward, which is dedicated to speculation about emerging technologies, and Out of the Vault, which is an exhibit dedicated to artifacts the curators took out of Collections storage to illustrate a few stories.  [There is a passageway that connects Out of the Vault with Genetics, which occupies the larger exhibit hall next to Fast Forward.]  Once you’ve reached Space Port, you have to turn around or take the Orange Stairs down to the Lower Level, in which case you will find yourself outside the U-505 exhibit.  Genetics: Decoding Life is the first exhibit you will encounter dedicated to health and biology.  Little kids in particular like the Chick Hatchery in Genetics.  Hang around long enough and you will see baby chickens break out of their eggs.  The Chick Hatchery has been a popular attraction for decades and is re-purposed from the original Farm exhibit, which was on the Main Level where Science Storms is now.  The Mold-A-Rama machine inside Genetics produces keepsake chicks.  Genetics opens out onto the Rosenwald Court on one end and the Transportation Gallery on the other.  If you really like the medical exhibits, take the Red Stairs up to the Balcony Level (third floor above ground) to the exhibit YOU! The Experience.  There are related exhibit cases worked into the walls.[30] 

Transportation Gallery

The Transportation Gallery takes up the whole West Court of the Central Pavilion on two floors.  On the Main Level, be sure to see the 999 Empire State Express steam locomotive, which set a speed record in 1893 that stood for ten years and was displayed at both the World’s Columbian Exposition (1893) and A Century of Progress (1933-34), as well as the Chicago Railroad Fair (1948-49).  In 2008, a boarding ramp was added to the 999 exhibit to allow visitors to enter the engine cab, as they had been able to do when the artifact stood outside with the U-505.  Little girls as well as little boys enjoy climbing the stairs and entering the cab of the 999 Empire State Express, but be forewarned space up in there is limited.  Parents, uncles, aunts, grandparents, teachers, and chaperones must be prepared to remind kids to wait their turn. 

Figure 20 Credit: Museum of Science and Industry Caption: This is the 999 Empire State Express steam locomotive.  Hanging overheard, we see the Piccard Balloon Gondola and parts of the Supermarine Mark 1A Spitfire and Junkers JU-87R-2 Tropical Stuka.

Roughly parallel with the 999 are two electric cars, a 1923 Milburn Electric Light and a 2008 Tesla Roadster.  Once again, this is an opportunity to talk about motive power.  You may also want to talk about how the more energy an electric car’s battery can store, the longer that electric car can go without recharging, the necessity of installing infrastructure to support electric cars, and how wide-spread use of electric cars can lead to cleaner air.

Figure 21 Credit: Seán M. O’Connor Caption: This is the 999 Empire State Express steam locomotive, a 2008 Tesla Roadster, a 1923 Milburn Model 27L Light Electric, The Great Train Story model train set,  and assorted airplanes suspended from the ceiling in the Transportation Gallery.

Beyond these whole, real vehicles you will see a grand model train set, The Great Train Story.  Kids love to watch the model trains zip around in The Great Train Story.  Adults should look for sights gags mixed in with the tableaux.  A Mold-A-Rama nearby sells black plastic steam locomotive keepsakes.  Suspended from the ceiling, you will see the Piccard Balloon Gondola, a Supermarine Mark 1A Spitfire, and a Junkers JU-87R-2 Tropical Stuka, as well as other planes.  This is a good time to explain to kids the two warplanes and the U-boat are from the same war. 

Southeastern Corner of Central Pavilion

To the south of the Transportation Gallery is a temporary exhibit hall that currently holds Wired to Wear™.[31]  In the southeast corner of the Central Pavilion is Yesterday’s Main Street, an exhibit that shows what a cobblestone thoroughfare in Chicago or the Main Street in one of its suburbs would have looked like in roughly Edwardian times.  A mockup of the original Walgreen’s pharmacy stands outside Yesterday’s Main Street, adjacent to the Coal Mine’s headframe.  Finnegan’s Ice Cream Parlor is a working restaurant near the entrance of the exhibit.  Currently, there it is only open on weekends.  [This is another opportunity to use the washroom as there are two relatively new washrooms near the ice cream parlor.]  Outside the exhibit is an Edwardian-themed photo gallery where families and other parties can pose for pictures.  Walk along Yesterday’s Main Street all the way to the end and watch a short silent film or two in the cinema.   This is a good chance to show little kids silent comedies.[32] 

Figure 22 Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: Students wear their emotions on their backpacks with this customizable digital backpacks seen in Wired to Wear™.  With a PIX backpack, one can design one’s own artwork or select from a library of images, then send them wirelessly from one’s smartphone.

Coal Mine (South Court of the Central Pavilion)

The Coal Mine headframe (tower) dominates Farrell Family Court (South Court) of the Central Pavilion.  The Texaco No. 13 airplane now hangs suspended from the ceiling near the entrance to the Coal Mine where formerly there was a U.S. Coat Guard helicopter.  A tour of the Coal Mine is one of the “Ticketed Experiences” mentioned earlier.[33]  If you have a ticket for a Coal Mine tour, look for the entrance on the west side of the headframe.  The Coal Mine (Old Ben #17) is a recreation of a coalmine in southern Illinois. A tour takes about half an hour.  This exhibit illustrates how coal-mining evolved from a large workforce of the hardest-working men in the world using pickaxes and dynamite to a small workforce of (mostly) men working with complex machinery.  You really do go underground in the course of a tour before ascending to the Safety Room and riding a man-trip (electric train) to look at various full-sized, real machines and then ascending again to look at a (simulation of a) modern Control Room… and then, when the tour ends, walking down stairs to the Lower Level, emerging in the Central Pavilion.  Note that the Coal Mine is not accessible for wheelchairs, Segways, or strollers. The last tour begins half an hour before the M.S.I. closes for the day.

The Coal Mine has been renovated several times, but it originally opened in 1933.  The founding executives and curators of M.S.I. knew they wanted a coalmine exhibit because the Deutsches Museum had one.

Remember to explain to the kids how without brave coal-miners willing to delve deep into the Earth there’d be no fuel for steam-powered vehicles in the old days like the 999 and steamships like those represented in the Ships Gallery, as well as modern electric power plants. Also explain that modern American coal-burning plants have filters on their smokestacks that weren’t available in the past.

Figure 23 Credit: Seán M. O’Connor Caption: This is how the Grand Tree and standard-sized Christmas trees in the Grand Rotunda and Farrell Family Court (South Court), Toymaker 3000, the Coal Mine headframe, and Texaco No. 13 airplane looked from the Farrell Family Court balcony shortly after the opening ceremony for Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light on Thursday, November 15, 2018.

Southwestern Corner of Central Pavilion

Numbers in Nature: A Mirror Maze and Toymaker 3000 are in the southwestern corner of the Central Pavilion on the Main Level, across from Yesterday’s Main Street.  In Numbers in Nature: A Mirror Maze, visitors explore a mirror maze as a prelude to learning about mathematical patterns to be found in nature.  This exhibit is free, but it requires a timed-entry ticket available at the entrance to the exhibit.  The last entry is twenty minutes before the M.S.I. closes for the day.  Toymaker 3000: An Adventure in Automation features an automated assembly line that manufactures toy spinning tops before your eyes. 

Figure 24 Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: The centerpiece of Numbers in Nature: A Mirror Maze is the 1,800-square-foot Mirror Maze.

Adjacent to Toymaker 3000, M.S.I.’s Wanger Family Fab Lab is a modern-day workshop devoted to computer-based innovation, design, and fabrication.  The Wanger Family Fab Lab opened in 2007.  Shortly thereafter, the Museum hosted Fab4, the Fourth International Fab Lab Forum and Symposium on Digital Fabrication.

Admission to this exhibit requires a timed-entry ticket. The Fab Lab is for visitors ages six-and-up.  Children between six-and-twelve must be accompanied by a ticketed adult (eighteen-or-older).

Science Storms (West Court of the Central Pavilion)

The 26,000-square-foot physics exhibit Science Storms takes up the whole of the Allstate Court (West Court) of the Central Pavilion the way the Transportation Gallery takes up the whole of the East Court.  Expect to take up to an hour here, especially if you explore the exhibit on both levels.  Highlights included a vortex (an artificial tornado) and a giant Tesla coil that simulates lightning.  The forty-foot-tall vapor vortex is on the Main Level.  Children and adults alike are amazed to see it, much less stand in it.  Nearby, you can trigger an avalanche simulation to learn about granular dynamics with a twenty-foot avalanche disk.  Learn about tsunamis with a thirty-foot wave tank. In addition to the Foucault’s pendulum that swings in the Blue Stairs, there is a second one on the Main Level in Science Storms.

Figure 25 Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: The centerpiece of Science Storms is a forty-foot-tall vapor vortex that simulates a tornado.  The twenty-foot avalanche disk is on the left



Transportation Gallery (East Court of the Central Pavilion)

If you go up to the Balcony, in the Transportation Gallery, you can enter a real 727 passenger plane.  This is the United Airlines Boeing 727.[34]  Real United Airlines pilots volunteer to talk at the exhibit on a regular basis.  The 727 is the centerpiece of the exhibit Take Flight, which also includes Flight Simulators.  These flight simulators are located behind The Spirit of Glen Ellyn, a full-scale replica of the 1903 Wright Flyer.  Tickets are required to board the flight simulators.  They are available for purchase at the flight simulators.  A Mold-A-Rama up here near the Wright Flyer replica sells plastic fighter plane keepsakes. 

Figure 26 Credit: Seán M. O’Connor Caption: This is The Spirit of Glen Ellyn, a full-scale replica of the 1903 Wright Flyer in the Take Flight exhibit on the Balcony Level of the Museum of Science and Industry’s Transportation Gallery.

South Court of the Central Pavilion

There are educational labs and the Chemistry exhibit on the Balcony Level in the South Court.  There is a Periodic Table of Elements in Chemistry, near the Green Stairs.  There are exhibits with dynamic miniatures in the Green Stairs in the southwestern corner of the Grand Rotunda. 

Figure 27 Credit: Seán M. O’Connor Caption: On the left is a model of the impulse turbine fabricated by Giovanni Branca (1571-1645) in 1629 A.D. and on the right is a model of the reaction turbine fabricated by Hero of Alexandria in 130 B.C.

Science Storms (West Court)

The giant Tesla coil is on this level, suspended from the ceiling.  It is twenty feet in diameter. 

Figure 28 Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: The Tesla coil in Science Storms builds up and discharges 1,200,000 volts of electricity to simulate a high-energy lightning strike twice an hour.

You! The Experience (Balcony Level – North Court)

Lastly, YOU! The Experience takes up the Balcony Level of the North Court.  Built at a cost of $21,500,000, it opened in 2009.  Learn about human biology here.  Most of the lessons are imparted with simulators, but if you enter the corner theater where human development is traced from the zygote stage to a nine-month-old fetus, be respectful, because those are real human remains.

You! the Experience exhibit @ the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago
Figure 29 Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: YOU! The Experience is a 15,000-square-foot exhibit dedicated to the human body, located on the Balcony Level of Rosenwald Court (North Court) in the Central Pavilion.
You! The Experience @ The Museum of Science and Industry
Figure 5 Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: The Giant Heart in YOU! The Experience is the counterpart to the famous Walk-Thru Heart that millions of visitors saw over a half-century.  Unfortunately, the Walk-Thru Heart, which was the centerpiece of a Chicago Heart Association exhibit for a little over fifty years, was made of plaster and had to be replaced in the first decade of the 21st Century.

Through the M.S.I.’s Welcome to Science Initiative, approximately 700,000 students and teachers participate in on-and off-site science education programming every year.  Designed to push that number further by offering free educational resources available anywhere in the world, the off-site MedLab program joins a suite of technology-based educational materials designed by the M.S.I.  MedLab is an Apple iPad-based interactive program. On Friday, November 8, 2019, the M.S.I. announced the introduction of an off-site MedLab program that teachers can customize in the classroom billed as the “world’s first multi-user simulated medical science lab.”


This time of year, the M.S.I. is open from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  However, during peak periods, it is open later. 

Follow the M.S.I.’s social media (Facebook and Twitter) to be amongst the first to learn about special offers and updates from the M.S.I.  Subscribe to the M.S.I.’s e-newsletter to find out about special offers and updates from the M.S.I. (and receive offers from marketing partners).

Check the Website and social media for updates about hours.  The address of the M.S.I. 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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[1] Please note that at the time Waldemar Kaempffert (1877-1956), the first Director of the Museum of Science and Industry, began to bring Julius Rosenwald’s vision into reality, he translated the Deutsches Museum von Meisterwerken der Naturwissenschaft und Technik as “German Museum of Masterworks of Science and Technology” but today the institution calls itself the German Museum of Masterpieces of Science and Technology” in English-language version of its Website.

[2] Some of these people are locals who want to use 57th Street Beach or fish in the Columbia Basin, the West Lagoon, or the East Lagoon.  Others want to see the Garden of the Phoenix on the Wooded Island between the lagoons.  These lots are also used by boat owners who use the docks between the East Lagoon and Lake Michigan. 

[3] The Metra Electric District line runs from downtown Chicago to University Park, Illinois.  The terminal station in Chicago is Millennium Station, which is an underground station with a street address of 151 North Michigan Avenue.  There is also a station under Grant Park that is accessible from Michigan Avenue at Van Buren Street.

[4] The South Shore Line runs from the South Bend Airport to downtown Chicago with a terminal stop at Millennium Station.  The 57th Street stop is for the Museum of Science and Industry.

[5] Experiences are subject to availability and scheduling.  Some experiences and parking are not included. 

[6] See chaperone ratios and policies for School-led Field Trips and Groups of 15+.

[7] From Memorial Day through Labor Day, under the Blue Star Museums program, the M.S.I. offers free Museum Entry to all active-duty military personnel and their families (up to five members).

[8] Illinois school groups on registered field trips receive free Museum Entry.  Click here to learn more.  Illinois home school groups and families can receive free Museum Entry.  Click here to learn more.

[9] Chicago Public Library cardholders may use Chicago Public Library Kids Museum Passports.  These provide free Museum Entry for up to four people with a minimum of one child (under eighteen) and a maximum of two adults.

[10] Under the Museums for All program, the M.S.I. offers free Museum Entry to individuals and families, regardless of which state they reside in, who present an Electronic Benefits Transfer (E.B.T.) card or a Women, Infants and Children (W.I.C.) card, along with a photo identification card.  Each cardholder is entitled to free Museum Entry tickets for up to two adults and up to six children (under eighteen).  Advanced reservations are not available for Museums for All.

[11] If you are a member of an Association of Science and Technology Centers (A.S.T.C.) institution located more than ninety miles from the M.S.I., you are eligible for free Museum Entry for up to two adults and four children under eighteen who reside in the same household (also at least ninety miles from the M.S.I.).  One adult must be a member cardholder.  Present your science center’s membership card with an A.S.T.C. logo along with a photo identification card to redeem this benefit at the M.S.I.’s ticket counters.  Advance reservations are not available for reciprocal admission.

[12] Adults should enjoy seeing the Zephyr’s streamlined design.  Children love running around a whole, real train.  This is an opportunity to explain the place of the train’s diesel-electric system in the history of motive power. 

[13] Black Creativity: 50 Years is a special exhibit devoted to a half century of Black Creativity.  Black Esthetics opened on Sunday, February 1, 1970.  Consequently, Black Creativity is the longest-running gallery of African-American art. 

[14] U-505 Submarine: 75 Stories is a temporary exhibit devoted to the seventy-fifth anniversary of U.S. Navy’s capture of the U-505.

[15] Daniel V. Gallery, Twenty Million Tons Under the Sea: The Daring Capture of the U-505. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press (1956, 2001), pages 43 and 44

[16] Note that German names with an umlaut over an o (ö) can alternatively be spelt with an e after an o, so that Löwe become Loewe, Förster becomes Foerster, and Göbeler becomes Goebeler, which is how they appear in most American sources.  After he immigrated to the U.S.A. and wrote his memoir for an American naval magazine, U-505 crewmember Hans Joachim Decker used this simplified spelling for Löwe and Förster, as well as Dönitz.

[17] Lawrence Paterson, “From the Lion’s Roar to Blunted Axe: The Combat Patrols of U-505.” Hunt & Kill: U-505 and the U-Boat War.  Edited by Theodore P. Savas.  New York City, New York: Savas Beatie LLC (2004), p. 59

[18] Timothy P. Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” Hunt and Kill: U-505 and the U-boat War in the Atlantic. Edited by Theodore P. Savas. New York City, New York: Savas Beatie, L.L.C. (2004), p. 39

See also James E. Wise, Jr. U-505: The Final Journey. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press (2005), p. 11

[19] Wise, U-505: The Final Journey, p. 3

[20] Wise, U-505: The Final Journey, p. 11

[21] Wise, U-505: The Final Journey, p. 11

[22] Hans Joachim Decker, “404 Days! The War Patrol Life of the German U-505,” United States Naval Institute Proceedings, March, 1960, Volume 86/3/865, p. 34

See also Hans Göbeler and John Vanzo, Steel Boat, Iron Hearts: A U-Boat Crewman’s Life aboard U-505. New York City, New York: Savas Beatie (2005), p. 12

Göbeler stated they were 2,200 horsepower diesel engines.

See also Eric C. Rust, “Appendix A: Type IXC U-Boats: Technical Data.” Hunt and Kill: U-505 and the U-boat War in the Atlantic. Edited by Theodore P. Savas. New York City, New York: Savas Beatie, L.L.C. (2004), p. 222

See also Wise, p. 2

Note that Wise stated they were 2,170 horsepower diesel engines.

Literally, Maschinenfabrik means machine-factory.  Augsburg and Nürnberg (called Nuremberg in English) are both important cities in Bavaria. 

[23] Rust, p. 222

See also Wise, p. 2

See also Göbeler, p. 12

[24] Rust, p. 222

See also Wise, p. 2

[25] Navy Department, Press Release, May 16, 1945, p. 1

See also Gallery, p. 294

[26] Gallery, p. 247

See also Göbeler, p. 234

[27] Gallery, p. 247

See also Decker, p. 45

See also Göbeler, p. 234

[28] “Work Rushed for Dedication of Nazi U-505,” Chicago Daily Tribune, 20 September, 1954, p. 1

Crown belonged to the Crown family of industrialists.  Stockholm was an Olympic cyclist who became the owner of a chain of drycleaners and a real estate investor.  He served in the U.S. Army during World War I and won a Purple Heart and served in the U.S. Navy during World War II.

[29] He was the father of Robert Crown, the co-chairman of the committee that arranged to bring the U-505 to Chicago.

[30] Movie buffs may want to take the Red Stairs elevator, which appeared in the horror film Damien: The Omen II (1978).

[31] Wired to Wear™ is devoted to wearable technology.

[32] Young adults who’ve never seen such things may have a hard time watching a silent masterpiece such as Metropolis (1927).

[33] For most of the M.S.I.’s history, it was free to enter the museum and one of the revenue streams was to sell tickets to take a tour of the Coal Mine.  When they had to start charging an admission fee (most days), the Coal Mine became “free” in the sense there was no longer a charge to take the tour.  Now, there’s an admission fee to enter the building and a separate fee to enter the Coal Mine.  Thus, Illinois residents have an incentive to go on free days, so they only have to pay for parking and special exhibits. 

[34] This 727 appeared in the film Chain Reaction (1996).

17 thoughts on ““A Short Guide to the Museum of Science & Industry”

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