The fall and winter seasons bring a number of unique shows and exhibits to Chicago's museums. Here are just a few of the current and upcoming must-see exhibitions for residents and visitors to enjoy.
David Bowie Is
The first retrospective of the extraordinary career of David Bowie. More than 400 objects – including handwritten lyrics, original costumes, photography, album artwork and rare performance material – are brought together to showcase the artist's evolution throughout the years.
Race: Are We So Different
The first national exhibition that tells the story of race from the biological, cultural and historical point of view. Explore how the idea of "race" has evolved over the years through this inspiring exhibit.
An exhibit surveying Chicago's rich urban history investigates five Chicagoisms that have had a far-reaching influence on contemporary architecture and urban design.
Heaven and Earth: Art of Byzantium from Greek Collections
Explore the early Christian and Byzantine eras through this rich collection of artistic holdings from Greece: a series of 62 pieces, ranging from gilded mosaics to liturgical textiles and detailed manuscripts to personal adornments.
focus: Lucy McKenzie
Examine the distinctive style and technique of Scottish-born, Belgium-based artist Lucy McKenzie in her largest exhibition in the United States to date. The Abbott Galleries will be transformed into a dynamic expo hall with 12 new paintings made just for the show and a video installation that breaks new ground for the artist.
The Machine Inside: Biomechanics
Discover how living things survive and move at this interactive exhibit, where you can investigate the marvels of natural engineering.
Vodou: Sacred Powers of Haiti
Vodou evokes images of pin-stuck dolls and evil spirits. But the concept holds an important spiritual and social force in Haiti. This exhibit examines how Vodou reflects Haitian culture, and is a means to honor the spirit of resistance that sustained the country through hardship. Experience a ritual possession ceremony and look into the workroom of a Vodou secret society.
Explore nine decades of the Walt Disney Company's history and artifacts at this exhibition celebrating the organization's imagination, innovation and entertainment.
Numbers in Nature: A Mirror Maze
Discover the facinating patterns that occur in nature in this new permanent exhibit. Watch animated graphics and impressive imagery that uncovers mathematical sequences, and explore the 1,800-square-foot mirror maze to find the secret room within. The gallery of interactives offers displays and stations where you can see even more natural arrangements and ratios hidden in music, art and architecture.
Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light
Celebrate the holiday season with this annual cultural celebration, showcasing a spectacular 45-foot Grand Tree, encompassed by 50 beautifully decorated trees representing Chicago’s diverse ethnic communities and their holiday traditions. From traditional song and dance routines to festive choral performances, this exhibit celebrates the city’s many voices.
Hop aboard the Space Express, the first deep space tour company, for an out-of-this-world experience. Destination Solar System takes you to solar flares on the sun to liquid methane lakes on Saturn's moon, Titan. This tour takes you to the hottest and coldest, stormiest and most spectacular spots in the Solar System. The 1968 Exhibit
This extraordinary year comes alive in this vivid exhibit, documenting a pivotal time in America's history. View stories told by Vietnam vets and hear broadcasts from Tom Brokaw. Reminisce with music, fashion and household items that transport you back. You can also learn about Chicago's role in the conflicts of 1968, as it was the site of the Democratic National Convention.
A chic display of ensembles from the museum's permanent collection explores the development of North Michigan Avenue into one of the most elite, upscale fashion destinations in the country. The outfits tell the story of the growth of this fashionable district, while also showcasing styles of the past and the trendy people who wore them.
Rito y Recuerdo: Day of the Dead
Celebrate and honor the lives of those who have passed away this year during this annual tradition of Mexico, as more than 60 artists pay homage to their ancestors and loved ones through altars, burial mound offerings, popular art and colorful installations in this moving exhibit.
Spirits of the Passage
As the first exhibition of its kind, this comprehensive exhibit examines the entire history of the Transatlantic Slave Trade, from the 16th through 19th centuries. The 4,000-square-foot exhibition is in conjunction with the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation and features more than 150 historical objects, such as authentic slave ship artifacts, vibrant cultural objects from West Africa, maps, illustrations and conversation-starting informative panels.
For more current and upcoming exhibits at Chicago's museums, check out the events calendar.