The Kenneth C. Griffin Museum of Science and Industry (M.S.I.) in Chicago announced today, Wednesday, October 27, A.D. 2021 that former M.S.I. executive David Woody would be returning as Vice President and Chief Creative Officer. Mr. Woody has spent over thirty years as a team leader, designer, and producer in the museum, entertainment, and themed attraction fields. A press release stated, “He had led teams of designers, architects, writers and media developers in creating immersive guest experiences for companies such as NBCUniversal, Warner Bros. and DreamWorks Animation.”
Woody spent ten years at the M.S.I. as Director of Exhibit Design and Development. I became acquainted with him at that time. The department he headed was in the same division as Collections, the department I worked in. From time to time, I worked with members of his staff for three reasons. Firstly, because one or another one of them needed information I could provide (or attempted to provide) on the historical background of an artifact or exhibit. Secondly, I wanted the opinion of one of his exhibit designers on the fruits of my research about the architecture of the Palace of Fine Arts (the building that houses the M.S.I.). Thirdly, I preserved in the Institutional Archives a conceptual model for an exhibit produced in that department. I also dealt with Woody’s department because of division-wide exercises such as visits to other museums. From my perspective as an outsider, it looked like a dynamic and fun work environment.
His team contributed to numerous exhibits in ways large and small but permanent exhibits that stand out in the minds of visitors included the M.S.I.’s second U-505 exhibit (The New U-505 Experience), the physics exhibit Science Storms, and the biology exhibit YOU! The Experience. He also helped create temporary exhibits such as Smart Home: Green and Wired. In addition, his team worked on capital renewal projects for the building (the Palace of Fine Arts) and “Museum-wide initiatives that improved the guest experience, such as digital ticketing, wayfinding and a Show Quality Standards Program across all public areas of the building.”
“David Woody has over three decades of experience in creating one-of-a-kind moments in the entertainment field,” stated M.S.I. President and C.E.O. Chevy Humphrey. “I’m thrilled to welcome David back to our team, and look forward to his leadership in continuing to present cutting-edge exhibitions and experiences at MSI.”
Woody received his Bachelor of Arts in Design at the University of Kansas. After a stint in the mid-1990s as a set designer for MTV Networks/Nickelodeon, he joined Universal’s Islands of Adventure Project Design Team in Orlando, Florida in 1996. Three years later, he joined the Project Design Team for Warner Bros. Studios International Recreation in Burbank, California. In 2002, he went to Hyderabad, India to become Senior Project Art Director at Ramoji Film City, which today is the world’s largest film studio complex. He worked at the Museum of Science and Industry in the aforementioned post of Director of Exhibit Design and Development from October of 2003 to October of 2013.
Then he returned to California to become Creative Director of Global Location Based Entertainment for DreamWorks Animation in Glendale. Woody held that post from November of 2013 to November of 2014.
Next, he went back to Orlando, Florida, where spent a little over six years in the employ of NBCUniversal, Inc./Universal Creative. He spent nearly four years as Senior Show Producer – Universal Beijing Resort and then over two years as Creative Director – Epic Universe Resort Project. In the third quarter of this year, he worked for Universal Creative yet again – this time as Senior Creative Director. Basically, his career has caused him to crisscross America between Florida, Illinois, and California, with the exception of a sojourn in India.
In the press release, the M.S.I. stated, “Most recently, Woody was Senior Creative Director at NBCUniveral, where he provided creative direction and planning for theme park and resort projects including Universal Beijing Resort and the new Epic Universe currently under constriction in Orlando. He previously worked at DreamWorks Animation as the Creative Director for Global Location Based Entertainment, where he supported a company-wide rebranding campaign in addition to providing creative direction for theme parks, resorts, live shows and retail experiences. Woody has also held roles as an art director and show set designer.”
“At MSI,” the press release stated, “he will oversee the design and development of the next generation of awe-inspiring exhibits as well as innovative new experiences that speak to our future.”
“It’s exciting to return to MSI as the Museum is taking a fresh look at its role in the community and the critical importance science plays in our world,” Woody stated. “I’m looking forward to bringing my passion for experiential storytelling to Chicago’s diverse audiences.”
Currently, the M.S.I. is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Please note the Coal Mine and U-505 On-Board Tour remain closed. One can walk around the U-505, but not through her.
The Museum of Science and Industry was formerly open every day of the year with the single exception of Christmas Day/the First Day of Christmas. [This year, that is Saturday, December 25, A.D. 2021.] Nowadays, it is also closed on Thanksgiving Day (Thursday, November 25, A.D. 2021). Further, currently the Museum of Science and Industry is closed on Mondays. Friday, October 29, A.D. 2021 is a Members Day, meaning it will be open for Members only, from 1:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
The food court and the coffee shop on the Lower Level (ground floor) in the Central Pavilion’s Lower Court, are closed. The Museum Kitchen will open in 2022. Meanwhile, a new restaurant, the aforementioned Museum Parke Café, with outdoor seating in Beaver Park, on the Lower Level, between the Henry Crown Space Center and the East Pavilion, is open from 10:30 a.m. until one hour before the M.S.I. closes. Finnigan’s Sandwich Shoppe, off Yesterday’s Main Street, on the Main Level, in the Central Pavilion, is open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 10:30 a.m. until one hour before the M.S.I. closes. Visitors who bring their own lunches can eat them in a tent outside the South Portico (behind the Coal Mine) of the Central Pavilion, in a designated area outside the Ships Gallery, and in the Lower Court.
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.