What are my two favorite words this summer? Reciprocal Admissions! One of the perks of being a Field Museum intern is the ability to get in free to many of the areas museums and other cultural institutions. As part of my Chicago experience, I have made it a personal goal to visit as many museums as possible in order to continue learning about the impact that they have on their communities.
Earlier in the summer I went to programs at the Field Museum of Natural History (obviously), the Art Institute of Chicago, the Shedd Aquarium, and the Adler Planetarium. In the past week I have also visited the Oriental Institute and Museum, the Morton Arboretum, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Below are a few photo highlights from my journeys!
The Oriental Institute and Museum is located on the University of Chicago’s campus. The galleries focus on the history, art, and archaeology of the Ancient Near East
Highlight: bilingual activity guides for younger children helped to facilitate discussion for families. The Hyde Park area is rapidly changing and this attempt to bridge the gap between “traditional” visitors and community members definitely made its mark!
The Morton Arboretum is located in the western suburbs of Chicago. It considers itself a “living” museum and has acres of hiking trails, activity gardens, and trees!
Highlight: the special exhibition Treehouse Tales which included six different play houses made of various trees. Educational panels educate visitors about the different trees. A perfect place to bring children ages 2-10!
Highlight #2: The children’s garden – which included water play areas, exploration spaces, and interactive seed gardens! Pictured here is myself splashing along with the kiddos!
The Museum of Contemporary Art is located in downtown Chicago and boasts rotating exhibitions that cover topics ranging from architecture to abstraction. Pictured here is a gathering space with beautiful views, a create your own skyline interactive for kids, and a seating area with art books available for perusal.
Highlight: a special exhibition about the first fifty pieces that the MCA collected in the 60’s – blank canvases symbolize the artworks that were de-accessioned. I found this to be a great look at museum collections and a teaching moment for the public about why museums keep some pieces and choose not to keep others.