Museum of Science & Industry

One of our favorite museums is turning a whopping 80 years old today, and you're invited to the birthday party! The Museum of Science & Industry opened in 1933 during the Century of Progress Exposition. Eight decades later, MSI is one of Chicago's cornerstone cultural institutions and it's the largest science museum in the world. To celebrate the big 8-0, we're looking back on what makes this stronghold in Hyde Park such an important place.

The Beginning

Museum of Science & Industry

Did you know that the Palace of Fine Arts - the Museum of Science and Industry's current building - was constructed for the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893? Since it was made with a brick substructure, it was one of the few "White City" buildings to have survived. In 1911, Julius Rosenwald, a Chicago philanthropist and chairman of Sears, Roebuck and Company, visited Munich's Deutsches Museum with his young son. Rosenwald Jr. enjoyed his visit to the museum so much that his father was inspired to open a science museum in Chicago. On June 19, 1933, the Museum of Science & Industry, founded by Mr. Rosenwald, welcomed children and their families for the very first time.

The Party

Don your party hats and join in on the birthday festivities on Wednesday, June 19. At 9:45 a.m. The amazing Jesse White Tumblers will hit the floor in the Rotunda to jump, flip and twirl in honor of the big day. You'll find birthday activities throughout the day: check out the birthday "cake" made in the Museum's Wanger Family Fab Lab (a state-of-the-art digital fabrication workshop; watch as master LEGO builder Adam Reed Tucker puts the final touches on his model of the Museum; be dazzled as eight amazing chemical reactions - one for each decade of the Museum - are set off; and save room for a birthday cupcake!

After Hours

Museum of Science & Industry

From June 19, 2013 - February 2, 2014 the Museum with be unveiling 80 rarely displayed artifacts from the Museum's extensive collection as part of the 80 AT 80 EXHIBITION. We can't wait to see what the museum reveals from its treasure trove! Many of the items will be revealed for the very first time. Admission to this special exhibit is included in museum entry.  

For more information on the Museum of Science and Industry's special 80th birthday celebration, visit the museums's website at and be sure to friend the MSI on Facebook where starting next week the museum will be sharing stories about rarely displayed artifacts and other fun history facts.  

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