What to see at the Museum of Science & Industry in Chicago

When I was visiting family in Chicago for the holidays, I got a chance to check out the Museum of Science and Industry (“MSI”) and in particular, the Henry Crown Space Center. I was born and raised in Chicago and I’ve been to MSI many times when I was younger, but it’s been a few years now. They’ve remodeled and changed exhibits countless times, and I can’t remember having seen the space center before.

Aurora 7 capsule on display from Project Mercury
Aurora 7 capsule (Project Mercury)

Needless to say, it was awesome! There are areas dedicated to each of the major US human spaceflight programs, explaining their purpose. These programs and their stated goals include:

  • Project Mercury (to orbit a manned spacecraft around earth, to investigate humans’ ability to function in space, and to recover both person and spacecraft successfully),
  • Project Gemini (to rendezvous and dock two spacecraft), and
  • Project Apollo (to land men on the moon and return them safely to earth).
Apollo 8 module on display
Apollo 8 module

As pictured here, the exhibit included an actual manned capsule from Mercury and an actual module from Apollo. These were on loan to MSI from the National Air and Space Museum. There’s also a rock on display from the lunar surface. It’s really impressive to see these things in person; mind-blowing when you stop to think about it.

If you want to see more photos, check out my instagram, but I wanted to at least share some highlights from the exhibit on the blog as well. Chicago is renowned for its world-class museums, and MSI doesn’t disappoint.

Apollo lunar landing display
Apollo lunar landing

The space center also had some areas dedicated to modern and future space missions, including info about SpaceX (see picture below), Blue Origin, Virgin Galactic, and other private companies, as well as current NASA projects and plans.

Display model of SpaceX Falcon 9
From the past to the future of spaceflight

I’m enjoying launching model rockets and getting into high power rocketry, but it’s pretty inspiring to see a huge exhibit like this. It gives me motivation to set more rocket-related goals (and crush them) in 2020!