The 80th Christmas Around the World Festival Opens at the Museum of Science & Industry

Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light opened at the Kenneth C. Griffin Museum of Science and Industry (M.S.I.) today, Wednesday, November 16, A.D. 2022 and will run through Sunday, January 8, A.D. 2023.  This will be the 80th Christmas Around the World festival, as the first was held in 1942, and the twenty-seventh Holidays of Light festival.

As always, the forty-five-foot-tall Grand Tree takes center stage in the M.S.I.’s Grand Rotunda with more than 30,000 red, green, and white twinkling lights and hundreds of ornaments and trimmings.  Volunteers from Chicago’s ethnic communities have decorated over fifty smaller trees to represent their various cultures and holiday traditions. The countries represented in the festival range from Armenia to Wales. [1]

            Holidays of Light, now in its eighteenth year, is a multicultural display of holidays that celebrate light or enlightenment.  The display highlights the traditions of the Chinese New Year, Diwali (a Hindu and Sikh festival), Kwanzaa (celebrated by some African Americans), Ramadan (celebrated by Muslims), Hanukkah (a Jewish holiday), Visakha Puja Day (a Buddhist holiday), and St. Lucia Day (a Swedish Christian holiday).

The Art of the Brick, a traveling exhibit devoted to Nathan Sawaya’s artworks comprised of LEGO® bricks, is getting a Christmas makeover.  On Wednesday, November 16, A.D. 2022, he will debut artworks with the theme the 12 Days of Christmas.

A Mold-A-Rama™ exhibit opened at the on Thursday, November 3, A.D. 2022.  As I mentioned in an article in September about the M.S.I. auctioning off items from the Circus exhibit and Zeph the animatronic burro from All Aboard the Silver Streak (the old Burlington Zephyr exhibit) the Mold-A-Rama™ exhibit, it occupies the space formerly occupied by the Circus in the East Gallery on the Lower Level of the M.S.I.  The exhibit, I now know, is named Mold-A-Rama™: Molded for the Future.   It will be open for approximately a year, through the autumn of 2023.

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As early as 1941, the Museum of Science and Industry (M.S.I.) had a physics demonstration called “The Science Behind Santa,” but the M.S.I. began hanging flags and celebrating Christmas Around the World during World War II in support of the United Nations (then an alliance against the Axis Powers) in 1942.  According to Herman Kogan (1914-1989), a Chicago newspaperman who wrote the first official chronicle of the M.S.I. history, A Continuing Marvel: The Story of the Museum of Science & Industry, Christmas Around the World began at the suggestion of Martha McGrew.  For twenty years, this lady had been the right hand of Major Lenox Lohr (1891-1968), the President of the Museum of Science and Industry from 1940 until his death in 1968.[2] 

In 1942, the Museum of Science and Industry hung the flags of twenty-nine countries from the North Court balcony and Christmas trees were trimmed by Chicago-area members of the ethnic groups represented.[3]  It began with Greek Day on December 11, 1942.[4]  The next year, Miss McGrew received help from Chicago Tribune readers when she wanted to find a white horse for a group of Dutch-Americans from Holland, Michigan mark Sinter Klass Day.[5]  The Dutch called Saint Nicholas “Sint Nikolass,” and Dutch-Americans called him “Sinterklass.”[6]  British colonists turned this into “Santa Claus.”[7]

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Credit: Museum of Science and Industry Caption: This is the promotional video for the 80th annual Christmas Around the World festival and 27th annual Holidays of Light festival at the Museum of Science and Industry.

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Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of children, storm-tossed sailors, prisoners, Greece, Apulia, Sicily, Lorraine, and Russia.  He is important to the Dutch because so many Dutchmen were sailors.  Saint Nicholas was born into a wealthy family in Patara in Lycia, Asia Minor (now Turkey).  At a young age, he became the Bishop of Myra.   He was renowned for his personal sanctity, zealousness, and as a miracle-worker.  According to his hagiography, he performed his first miracle as a child.  This was to calm the sea off the Lycian coast.  Like many of his fellow bishops, Nicholas was imprisoned under Emperor Diocletian, who undertook the last and one of the worst persecutions of Christians in the history of the Roman Empire. However, Nicholas survived and attended the Council of Nicaea in A.D. 325 and denounced Arianism. 

He was famous for his generosity.  His fame as a gift-giver is best illustrated by the tale that ihe provided the dowries for three young women in one impoverished family who might not otherwise have been able to marry because their father could not offer even a single dowry to potential suitors. 

As with most saints, his feast day is the anniversary of his death.  In his case, he passed away on December 6, A.D.  343 He was buried in his cathedral church.  His tomb was known to fill up with healing oil.  It was due in part to this oil that his tomb because the subject of pilgrimages.  In 1089, Italian sailors from the city of Bari spirited the bones of Saint Nicholas back to their city and he has been buried ever since in a crypt under the Basilica di San Nicola.  In medieval times, pilgrims came from all over Europe to pray at his shrine.  Today, pilgrims continue to come from all over the world to pray at his tomb, including Russian Orthodox Christians.

His association with gift-giving at Christmas began with the tradition of children leaving their shoes out on the Feast Day of Saint Nicholas and parents filling them overnight with gifts.  The American concept of Santa Claus was shaped by Dr. Clement Clarke Moore, a scholar who wrote “The Night Before Christmas” in 1822 to entertain his own children and friends, one of whom mailed a copy of the poem to a newspaper without attribution.[8]  For years, Professor Moore was reluctant to take credit because he was afraid to do so would damage his reputation as a scholar.[9]   In 1838, he finally asserted authorship.[10]

Originally, Saint Nicholas was appropriately depicted as an ascetic bishop.[11]  Under Moore’s influence, he was depicted as an elf who rode a sleigh drawn by reindeer.[12]  As a pop culture figure, Santa Claus as a character underwent further development thanks to drawings by the cartoonist Thomas Nast in the pages of Harpers Weekly between 1863 and 1886.[13]  In the words of Charles Panati, “These drawings, executed over twenty years, exhibit a gradual evolution in Santa—from the pudgy, diminutive, elf-like creature of Dr. Moore’s immortal poem to the bearded, potbellied, life-size bell ringer familiar on street corners across America today.”[14] Nast depicted him making toys, responding to requests from children, and keeping tykes under watch to ascertain their worthiness to receive gifts.[15] 

Rudolph joined Santa’s team of reindeer in 1939.[16]  That year, a local department store and mail-order retailer, Montgomery Ward, published 2,400,000 copies of a booklet by an in-house copywriter Robert May, his illustrated poem “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” to hand out for free to Christmastime shoppers to give to their children as an incentive to shop at Montgomery Ward.[17] 

In 1988, the M.S.I. augmented Christmas Around the World with the exhibition of thirteen life-size dioramas representing Santa Claus in popular art at different times in European and North American history that has been made by artist-housewife Vanessa PeGan of Lafayette, Indiana over three years.[18]  Two years later, in 1990, the M.S.I. augmented Christmas Around the World with the exhibition Coca-Cola Christmas Collection, which celebrated paintings of Santa Claus the Coca-Cola Company had commissioned from Haddon Sundblom (1899-1976) in 1931 to illustrate advertising. 

If you would like to learn more about Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light, Herman Kogan recounted the story of how and why Major Lohr started Christmas Around the World in A Continuing Marvel: the Story of the Museum of Science and Industry, published by Doubleday in 1973, as did Jay Pridmore in Inventive Genius: The History of the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, published by Museum Books in 1996. Erin Okamoto Protsman wrote two books about Christmas Around the World: Season of Celebrating: A Cookbook From the Museum of Science and Industry’s “Christmas Around the World” and “Holidays of Light” Festivals, published by the M.S.I. in 1997 and Traditions: A Guidebook from the Museum of Science and Industry’s “Christmas Around the World” and “Holidays of Light” Festivals, published by Favorite Recipes Press in 1999.  In former M.S.I. President David Mosena’s “Forward” to Traditions, he explained that in 1994, the M.S.I. added an ancillary exhibit, Holidays of Light, bringing attention to Chinese New Year, Diwali, Hanukkah, Kwanza, Saint Lucia Day, and Shogatsu.[19]

Photos with Santa

Santa Claus will be available on weekends and certain other days between the 16th of November and the 24th of December.  The photo studio is located inside the Holiday Store.  The whole family can pose with Pere Noel to take a souvenir photo. 

There are three photo packages.  Members receive a 10% discount on all packages and upgrades.  For $35, a family can sit with Santa and get two printed 6”x8” photos.  For $50, a family can sit with Santa, get a digital copy and you printed 6”x8” photo.  For $65, a family can sit with Santa, get two printed 6”x8” photos, get a digital copy, and get a festive picture frame.

These activities required separate, time-entry tickets that are available to purchase online.  To get tickets for a photo package online, when you select a date, select an entry time, and click on “Photo with Santa.”  Tickets can also be purchased in person on-site, but availability may be limited.

Figure 1 Credit: Heidi Peters, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: This is the Grand Tree for 2021 Christmas Around the World. The banners in the Grand Rotunda last year reflected the theme The Golden Age of Travel, which drew attention to renovations in the exhibits Take Flight (which features the 727) and The Pioneer Zephyr.  The latter replaced All Aboard the Silver Streak, which had closed in 2019 so the Burlington Zephyr (also known as the Pioneer Zephyr) could be refurbished and the exhibit hall could under remodeling.   

Figure 2 Credit: Heidi Peters, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: Here, we see the Grand Tree being decorated for 2021 Christmas Around the World.

Figure 3 Seán M. O’Connor Caption: The Chicago Sinfonietta provided the string quartet that played live music to entertain the staff, volunteers, children, teachers, parents, and journalists who participated in, attended, or reported on the Grand Tree Lighting Ceremony on Thursday, November 14, A.D. 2019.

Figure 4 Credit: Seán M. O’Connor Caption: For 2019 Christmas Around the World, this Italian crèche was located on the Main Floor, near the Red Stairs and the Holiday Shop, at the Museum of Science and Industry.

Figure 5 Credit: Seán M. O’Connor Caption: This Christmas tree in the Museum of Science and Industry’s North Court, on display as part of Christmas Around the World, as seen on Thursday, November 14, 2019, represented SocialWorks.

Figure 6 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 festival. This is how the Grand Rotunda looked when the Grand Tree’s twinkling lights came on at the Grand Tree Lighting Ceremony on Thursday, November 14, A.D. 2019.

Figure 7 Credit: Seán M. O’Connor Caption: This Visakha Puja Day display case in Rosenwald Court (North Court) was part of the 2019 Holidays of Light festival at the Museum of Science and Industry.

Figure 8 Credit: Seán M. O’Connor Caption: This is how the Grand Tree and standard-sized Christmas trees in the Grand Rotunda looked during the opening ceremony for Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light as the artificial snow began to fall on Thursday, November 15, A.D. 2018. 

Figure 9 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, A.D. 2018.

Figure 10 Credit: Museum of Science and Industry Caption: This is the front cover of the Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light 2018 Exhibit Guide.

Figure 11 Credit: Museum of Science and Industry Caption: This was the back cover of the Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light 2018 Exhibit Guide.  The Museum of Science and Industry was also celebrating the Fiftieth Anniversary of N.A.S.A.’s Apollo 8 mission.

Figure 12 Credit: Seán M. O’Connor Caption: This is how the Burlington Zephyr, also known as the Pioneer Zephyr, is decorated for Christmas Around the World, as seen before the opening ceremony for Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light on Thursday, November 15, A.D. 2018.

Figure 13 Credit: Seán M. O’Connor Caption: This is the Egypt Christmas tree as seen in 2018. The Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, an Oriental Orthodox church, is one of the oldest Christian communities in the world.  The Patriarch of Alexandria, also known as the Pope of Alexandria, heads a church founded by Saint Mark the Evangelist.  There are between 18,000,000 and 22,000,000 Coptic Christians today.

Figure 14 Credit: Seán M. O’Connor Caption: This is the Eire or Republic of Ireland Christmas tree (flanked by the Belize Christmas tree to the left and the China Christmas tree to the right). Saint Patrick was a Romanized Briton who was enslaved by Irishmen who made him a shepherd.  He had been an irreligious youth but turned to the consolation of religion in his solitude.  After his escape, he went to Roman Gaul (which more or less corresponds with modern France), where he became a priest and a missionary bishop with a mandate to return to Ireland (which the Romans had called Hibernia).  There were very few Christians in Ireland when Saint Patrick returned to the island, and there were no cities in which to plant new bishoprics, so he focused on spreading Egyptian style monasticism. 

Figure 15 Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: This is how the Grand Tree looked at the Museum of Science and Industry’s 2017 Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light.  Mr. Spector took this picture on January 6, A.D. 2018.

Figure 16 Credit: S.M. O’Connor Caption: In 2017, the Museum of Science and Industry celebrated the 75th Christmas Around the World.  Two parts of the eastern wall of the Lower Court, seen here on Thursday, November 16, A.D. 2017, were devoted to the history of Christmas Around the World.

Figure 17 Credit: S.M. O’Connor Caption: These are (from left to right) the Lebanon Tree, the Germany Tree, and the India Tree in Rosenwald Court (North Court), as seen on Thursday, November 16, A.D. 2017. 

Figure 18 Credit: S.M. O’Connor Caption: This is the Assyrian Tree, as seen on Thursday, November 16, A.D. 2017. That year, for the first time, there were Christmas trees representing Assyrians, Australians, and Nigerians.  Modern Assyrian Christians are direct descendants of the ancient Assyrians who established two empires in Mesopotamia.  They can be found in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Iran and are sometimes called Syriac Christians and Chaldean Catholics. 

Figure 19 Credit: S.M. O’Connor Caption: This is Elizabeth Rivera, a schoolteacher, who oversaw the decoration of the Puerto Rican Christmas Tree.  Her family band also performed songs at a special event at the Museum of Science and Industry on Thursday, November 16, A.D. 2017. She and her family assumed responsibility for decoration of the Puerto Rico Christmas Tree from Rosa Amaro, who had decorated it with her family for twenty-three years.

Figure 20 Credit: S.M. O’Connor Caption: This is Swedish volunteer Anna-Maria Adair with the Saint Lucia Day display stand from Holidays of Light, as seen on Thursday, November 17, A.D. 2017.  She is a second-generation Christmas Around the World volunteer who showed me a newspaper clipping from 1964 in her scrapbook that included a picture of her at the M.S.I. as a little girl.

Grand Christmas Tree @ the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago

Figure 21 Credit: J.B. Spector Caption: This is the Grand Tree and Grand Rotunda as decorated for 2016 Christmas Around the World.

Figure 22 Credit: Kasumi Chow Caption: This is the Grand Tree from the other side of the Grand Rotunda as decorated for 2016 Christmas Around the World.

Figure 23 Credit: Museum of Science and Industry Caption: This is the Grand Tree and Grand Rotunda as decorated for 2015 Christmas Around the World.

Figure 24 Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: Visitors like these children seen on November 21, A.D. 2015 can enjoy indoor snowfall every half hour.

Christmas Around the World @ the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago

Figure 25 Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: Christmas Around the World had a Disney theme two years in a row, but the color scheme changed from red to blue.The Grand Tree is seen here on November 14, A.D. 2014.

Christmas Around the World @ the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago

Figure 26 Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: Local Chicago families who want to honor their children adopted in Russia decorate the Russian Christmas Tree every year.  We see two of the Russian children decorating the Russia Tree here on November 13, A.D. 2014.  The ornaments include Russian nesting dolls, pinecones, and dolls dressed in traditional Russian clothing.

Christmas Around the World @ the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago

Figure 27 Photo Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: Volunteers, dressed in traditional Ecuadorian clothing, decorate the Ecuadorian Christmas Tree on November 13, A.D. 2014.

Figure 28 Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: On November 5, A.D. 2014, a volunteer decorates the Norwegian Christmas Tree which is adorned with handmade ornaments that feature traditional Norwegian art of rosemaling as well as yard depictions of Nisse, similar to Santa Claus.

Christmas Around The World @ The Museum of Science and Industry

Figure 29 Credit: J. B. Spector Caption: The Grand Tree, seen here on November 13, A.D. 2013, was decked with more than 30,000 lights and hundreds of Disney-inspired ornaments.  That year, the theme was inspired by D23: The Official Disney Fan Club’s temporary exhibit Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives, which the Museum of Science and Industry displayed from Wednesday, October 16, A.D. 2013 to Sunday, January 4, A.D. 2015.

Figure 30 Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: This is the Grand Tree, as seen here on December 2, A.D. 2009, from the Museum of Science and Industry’s annual festival Christmas Around the World, is decorated with 30,000 lights.

Figure 31 Credit Dick Lieber Caption: Mr. Lieber is a former employee of the Museum of Science and Industry.  Here, we see the Living Periodic Table of Elements in the Grand Rotunda being surrounded by Christmas trees during the setup for Christmas Around the World circa 1967. For decades, the Museum of Science and Industry used the profile of the Living Periodic Table of Elements as its emblem.

Figure 32 Credit: Museum of Science and Industry Caption: In this undated photo, we see a Christmas Around the World display with a Christmas tree flanked by flags.  This display seems to be at the southern end of the Grand Rotunda, between the Living Periodic Table of Elements, which stood at the center of the Grand Rotunda for decades, and the Coal Mine in the Southern Court.

Member Holiday Mornings

The Member Holiday Mornings will be from 8:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. on two dates: Saturday, December 3, A.D. 2022 and Saturday, December 17, A.D. 2022.  This event is free for Members, but they must make reservations.

This is an opportunity to see the Christmas trees and other displays with fewer visitors. Festive treats will be served.

Between 8:00 a.m. and 9:30 a.m., group photos with Santa are complimentary. Tickets for photos with Santa are available on-site on a first-come, first-served basis. The whole Museum will be free to explore the rest of the day, but Members who want to take in the whole place should reserve tickets early for The Art of the Brick and other events that require tickets.

Member Holiday Evenings

The Member Holiday Evenings will be from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on two dates: Thursday, December 1, A.D. 2022 and Wednesday, December 14, A.D. 2022. This event is free for Members, but they must make reservations. Please note that the second date is exclusively for Members at the Annual Fund level.

This is an opportunity to see the Christmas trees and other displays with fewer visitors. Festive treats will be served.

Group photos with Santa are complimentary. Tickets for photos with Santa are available on-site on a first-come, first-served basis.


Open Hours

The M.S.I. is open most days from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., but it is open later during summertime and Christmastime, and other busy periods.  It is closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day/the First Day of Christmas. 

This month, it will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, November 23, A.D. 2022; closed on Thursday, November 24, A.D. 2022; and open from Friday, November 25, A.D. 2022 through Sunday, November 27, A.D. 2022.  Next month, it will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 3, A.D. 2022 and Sunday, December 4, A.D. 2022; Saturday, December 10, A.D. 2022 and Sunday, December 11, A.D. 2022; and Saturday, December 17, A.D. 2022 through Friday, December 23, A.D. 2022.  It will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 on Saturday, December 24, A.D. 2022 (Christmas Eve) and closed on Sunday, December 25, A.D. 2022 (Christmas Day).  It will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. from Monday, December 26, A.D. 2022 through Friday, December 30, A.D. 2022 (the 2nd through 6th Days of Christmas).  It will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 31, A.D. 2022 (New Year’s Eve/ the 7th Day of Christmas). 

Please note that it will open late, at 11:00 a.m., on Sunday, January 1, A.D. 2022 (New Year’s Day/the 8th Day of Christmas) and stay open until 5:30 p.m.  It will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. from Monday, January 2, A.D. 2023 to Saturday, January 7, A.D. 2023, as well as on Saturday, January 16, A.D. 2023.

Ticket Prices

Museum Entry (general admission) tickets are $21.95 for adults and $12.95 for children (three-to-eleven), and free for Museum Members.  This covers the Mold-A-Rama™ exhibit and most permanent exhibits, including the Zephyr, Science Storms, You! The Experience, the Ships Gallery, Colleen Moore’s Fairy Castle, The Great Train Story, Numbers in Nature: A Mirror Maze, and walking around (but not through) the U-505.  Museum Entry also covers Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light.

Tickets for Giant Dome Theater movies are $12 for adults and $9 for children, and free or discounted for Members.  The same is true for Coal Mine Tours, Fab Lab workshops, and Dissect an Eye workshops in the Education Lab.  For the U-505 On-Board Tour, tickets are $18 for adults, $14 for children, $17 for Adult Members, and $13 for Child Members.[20]

The Art of the Brick has been extended by popular demand through January 16, A.D. 2023.  Tickets for this traveling exhibit are $14 for adults, $11 for children, and $7 for Members.

Notes on Museum Eateries

The Brain Food Court is closed while it undergos renovations and will re-open as the Museum Kitchen in December.  Meanwhile, a coffee and doughnut shop, Stan’s Donuts & Coffee, has opened. It replaced the Museum Café (a coffee shop that also sold sandwiches) in the Lower Court, on the Lower Level (ground floor), in the Central Pavilion.

A new restaurant I mentioned last year, the Museum Parke Café, with outdoor seating in Beaver Park, on the Lower Level, between the Henry Crown Space Center and the East Pavilion, is closed it is safe to assume because Chicago winters do not permit outdoor dining.  It has been replaced by One Small Snack, a takeout café in the southeast corner of the Henry Crown Space Center.[21]


Finnigan’s Sandwich Shoppe (a rebranding of Finnegan’s Ice Cream Parlor), off Yesterday’s Main Street, on the Main Level, in the Central Pavilion, also seems to be temporarily closed.  I did not see it being marked off as undergoing renovations on the current floor plan, but I surmise that it is closed because I do not see hours listed for it posted on the M.S.I.’s Website and nor is it mentioned on the list of restaurants and shops on the Website.

There are some vending machines located in the Lower Court and there remains a limited amount of seating in the Lower Court.  Visitors who bring their own lunches can eat them in the Lower Court and in a designated area outside the Ships Gallery.

When I wrote about the opening of The Art of the Brick, The Idea Factory, an interactive attraction that is popular with young children, located near Farm Tech, in the Central Pavilion on the Lower Level (ground floor) was closed.  It is now open. The Science Theater, located near Colleen Moore’s Fairy Castle at the south end of the Central Pavilion on the Lower Level, seems to be closed.

The Museum of Science and Industry is sometimes stylized as the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago and as the Museum of Science + Industry, Chicago.  One of the Museums in the Park, it is situated in the northeast corner of the Chicago Park District’s Jackson Park in East Hyde Park, a neighborhood along the shoreline in the Hyde Park Community Area on the South Side of Chicago. The Museum of Science and Industry is housed in the Palace of Fine Arts, the last pavilion left standing in Jackson Park from Chicago’s first World’s Fair, the World’s Columbian Exposition (1893).

It sits at the southwest corner of 57th Drive and DuSable Lake Shore Drive.  [In 2020, the Chicago City Council voted to tack DuSable in front of Lake Shore Drive.]  One southbound lane of DuSable Lake Shore Drive is closed from 57th Drive to Hayes Drive due to roadway work related to the construction of the Obama Presidential Center.

The address is 5700 South DuSable Lake Shore Drive.  The phone number is (773) 684-1414. The Website is https://www.msichicago.org/.

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[1] Of course, the Christmas tree is very much a European (specifically German) thing.  There are many parts of the world where Christians have no tradition of bringing pine trees into their homes at Christmastime.  People come to the U.S.A. generally and Chicago specifically from all over the world and adopt a tradition that came to the U.S. directly from Germany or indirectly by way of England (where the Hanoverian kings brought the tradition).  In many cases, when Chicago area residents decorate Christmas trees to represent their ethnic groups or homelands for Christmas Around the World the decorations we see on representative trees would be displayed in other ways in the countries concerned.

[2] Martha McGrew became Major Lohr’s assistant in 1922, while he was still Captain Lohr.  At the time, he was publisher of The Military Engineer, a bi-monthly publication of the Society of American Military Engineers, and advertised he needed a civilian assistant.  She was a coed who sold insurance to put herself through college.  In 1929, Major Lohr resigned his commission rather than accept a post in Alaska and she went with him to Chicago.  General Charles Gates Dawes (1865-1951), a financier, former Vice President of the U.S.A., and Nobel Peace Prize Winner, had given Lohr a grand alternative, to help organize Chicago’s second World’s Fair, A Century of Progress (1933-34).  Lohr became Vice President and General Manager of A Century of Progress Corporation, where he worked for Rufus Dawes (1867-1940), a banker and younger brother of General Dawes.  [From 1934 until his death, Rufus Dawes was simultaneously President of A Century of Progress Corporation and the Museum of Science and Industry.]  Miss McGrew went with Major Lohr to New York City, where he served as President & Director of N.B.C. from 1935 to 1940, and then returned with him to Chicago when he succeeded his mentor as President of the Museum of Science and Industry.

[3] Herman Kogan, A Continuing Marvel: The Story of the Museum of Science & Industry. Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company (1973), p. 111

[4] Kogan, p. 111

[5] Kogan, pages 111 & 112

[6] Charles Panati, Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things. New York: Harper & Row, Publishers (1987), p. 73

[7] Ibid

[8] Panati, p. 73

[9] Panati, p. 74

[10] Ibid

[11] Ibid

[12] Panati, pages 73 and 74

[13] Panati, p. 74

[14] Ibid

[15] Ibid

[16] Panati, p. 75

[17] Panati, p. 75

[18] “Santa Artistry,” Progress, November/December, 1988, p. 4

[19] Protsman, p. 5

[20] Previously, under COVID-19 restrictions, visitors could walk around her in the U-505 exhibit hall, but not through her.

[21] Why, yes, the café is a reference to Neil Armstrong’s quote, “One small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.”

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