Museum of Science and Industry to Debut Imagining The Museum 
New show demonstrates just how exhibit ideas become a reality. 

Early rendering of a possible layout of the famous Submarine exhibit at Museum of Science and Industry (image courtesy of the Museum of Science and Industry).

One of the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago’s (MSI) newest exhibits, Imagining the Museum, debuts more than 70 never-before-seen illustrations and 3D models to give guests a detailed look at how the museum and its famed exhibits have evolved over its nearly 84-year history. The intriguing exhibit, on display through spring of 2018, includes the original plans for some of the institution’s most popular exhibits such as the Coal Mine, the museum’s very first exhibit; Science Storms, featuring the world’s only 40-foot swirling vortex; and The Great Train Story, which is home to more than 190 buildings custom-built for the miniature display. 

“We’re excited to bring these incredible works out from the archives as they tell an integral part of the museum of Science and Industry’s story,” said Kathleen McCarthy, director of collections and head curator. “The museum has always celebrated creativity and innovation, and we believe that guests will really enjoy seeing this behind-the-scenes process of how the museum has continually evolved, and exploring the cutting-edge technologies displayed over the past 84 years.”

The concepts detailed in Imagining the museum, located in the Rita and John Canning Galleries on the Museum’s Lower Court, date back to the beginning of the museum’s history, from the first exhibit ideas to the permanent exhibits currently open at MSI, including: multiple original illustrations of the Coal Mine, MSI’s very first exhibit, that show the early plans of its construction and design methods that are still in use today; a miniature 3D model of The Great Train Story used by engineers to aid in the construction of the actual exhibit, which follows the journey from Chicago to Seattle along 1,400 feet of railroad track; and vibrant renderings of the museum’s iconic permanent exhibit, Science Storms, that depict how ideas for an exhibition take shape, evolve and ultimately come to life.

Imagining the Museum will run at MSI through the spring of 2018 and is included with museum entry ($18 for adults and $11 for children ages 3-11).