SpaceX Dragon Spaceship Preview at the Museum of Science & Industry Tomorrow

Chicago, Illinois – Wednesday, November 30, A.D. 2022 – A SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft will debut at the Kenneth C. Griffin Museum of Science and Industry (M.S.I.) tomorrow afternoon.  The public ceremony will take place from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 1, A.D. 2022 outdoors, on the M.S.I.’s North Portico.  In celebration of the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft’s arrival, the M.S.I. will be free on Thursday. 

This makes it the only chance to see the 80th Christmas Around the World and twenty-seventh Holidays of Light festivals for free.  It will be the last opportunity to see the temporary exhibit The Art of the Brick before it closes and only pay the fee to see it. 

To get free Museum Entry (general admission) tickets, one should click here, select December 1st as the date of one’s visit, choose a time to arrive, select the number of adults and children, and then on the next Webpage one will see the Museum Entry fees will be waived because it is a Special Event Free Day.  There is a limit of six free minors per adult.

“MSI is always at the forefront of showcasing human achievement in science and industry,” stated Chevy Humphrey, President and C.E.O. of the M.S.I.  “And today, as we see the future happening before our eyes in the area of space travel and exploration, there is no better way to propel our mission to inspire the inventive genius in everyone than with the arrival of the SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft.”

Ms. Humphrey added, “This spacecraft is the embodiment of curiosity, wonder, scientific method, hard work, and the American ‘how-to’ spirit.  This represents the future of science and industry now, at MSI.”

Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) is a privately-owned American manufacturer of spacecraft, a spacecraft launcher, and satellite communications company.  The engineer, business magnate, and investor Elon Musk, richest man in the world, is the Chairman of the Board (C.O.B.), Chief Executive Officer (C.E.O.), and Chief Technology Officer (C.T.O.) of SpaceX.  Mr. Tesla founded the company in 2002.  SpaceX is one of several high-technology companies headed by Mr. Musk, the others being Tesla, Neuralink, The Boring Company, and Twitter.

Hawthorne, California-based SpaceX unveiled the Dragon spacecraft in 2006.  A Dragon can carry up to seven passengers into orbit and back to Earth.  In 2020, a Dragon became the first privately owned spacecraft to take astronauts to the International Space Station.  It was the first American spacecraft to fly to the International Space Station since 2011.  [Between 2011 and 2020, N.A.S.A. was dependent on its Russian counterpart to ferry American astronauts and cargo to the I.S.S.]  The Dragon spacecraft that is going to the M.S.I. has flown twice.

Ms. Humphrey stated, “Similar to the arrival of other historic artifacts like the U-505 submarine and the 727 airliner, welcoming the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft to MSI will be a day which will live in the hearts and memories of Chicagoans for generations.”

This ceremony will be the only chance to see the SpaceX Dragon spaceship until it goes on display at the M.S.I.’s Henry Crown Space Center in the spring of 2023.  The M.S.I. compared this event to the arrival of the U-505 in 1954.

“The outdoor ceremony on the Museum’s North Portico patio will feature special guests and serve as centerpiece for a day with space-themed activities inside the Museum,” the M.S.I. stated on Facebook.  “The outdoor event is open to the public, and we’re hosting *FREE MUSEUM ENTRY* to the public for the day.”

Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light opened on Wednesday, November 16, A.D. 2022 and will run through Sunday, January 8, A.D. 2023.  The Art of the Brick, a traveling exhibit that features more than 100 of Nathan Sawaya’s artworks comprised of LEGO® bricks, received a Christmas makeover. [1]   The traveling exhibit opened on Friday, February 10, A.D. 2022 and was supposed to run through Monday, September 5, A.D. 2022 (Labor Day).  However, it has been extended by popular demand through Monday, January 16, A.D. 2023.  On Wednesday, November 16, A.D. 2022, he debuted artworks with the theme the 12 Days of Christmas.

A temporary Mold-A-Rama™ exhibit, Mold-A-Rama™: Molded for the Future, opened 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 occupies the space formerly occupied by the Circus in the East Gallery on the Lower Level of the M.S.I. 

Ticket Prices

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.[2]  Tickets for The Art of the Brick are $14 for adults, $11 for children, and $7 for Members.

Notes on Museum Eateries

The Brain Food Court is closed while it undergoes renovations and will re-open as the Museum Kitchen. That was supposed to occur in December, but has yet to happen. 

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.[3] 

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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END NOTES


[1] This exhibit was not created by The LEGO® Group.  However, The LEGO® Group has recognized Mr. Sawaya as both a LEGO® Master Builder and a LEGO® Certified Professional. 

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

[3] 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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