Two years ago, Pastry Chef Chris and I visited Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry and I blogged that the most modern technology in the place was the Dyson hand dryer in the men’s room. In March, museum staff read that post–and invited me on a private tour of MSI’s jaw-dropping new Science Storms exhibit 24 hours before opening day. It’s amazing how easily a 40-foot man-made tornado can sway my opinion.
Over the Memorial Day break, I scoured the Chicagosphere for evidence that a balanced opinion of the the Art Institute of Chicago’s newly opened Modern Wing might exist somewhere on a website written in a ZIP Code beginning with 606. Fat chance.
Attempting to recover from the prancing and pawing of rooftop hooves, I decided to spend a post-Christmas morning at the Art Institute of Chicago. Even before I checked my coat, I knew my visit would leave a mixed impression on me. As always, I expected to exit with an uplifted imagination but somewhat disappointed expectations.
On Friday, I was given unfettered access to interview the administrative staff of the Chicago Children’s Museum. I wanted to learn about the museum’s civic importance, programs, and reputation–all things Chicago dailies have ignored in their ongoing coverage of the controversy surrounding the museum’s proposed move from Navy Pier to Grant Park.
(Photo: Seventy-five years folks. Can we dust the exhibits now?)
The folks at the Adler Planetarium are surely mad. According to their visitor map, the septuagenarian hemisphere on the lake is aiming to be the nation’s premiere institution for helping common folk learn about astronomical science. Whatever Adler executive signed off on that aspirational announcement must think that 1990s interactive computer technology still packs them in. It doesn’t. (Adler chair Frank Clark and president Paul Knappenberger, why do I suspect your office computers are still beige?)