Museum of Science and Industry: DaVinci, Subs, and More!

Will Making Candy

Originally uploaded by steven_d_krause.

This is the first of what I expect will be two posts today on July 4 (I’m sure I’ll have picts and commentary from the famous Ypsi July 4 parade later on this morning), this first post about our recent adventures at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry. Very cool, though I have to say that the purposefully dim lighting throughout most of the museum spaces means that some of my photos here are a bit suspect.

I recall going to this museum when I was a kid about Will’s age; I believe it was part of a Cub Scout trip when I lived in Davenport, IA, one where we left early in the morning on a bus, did the museum, and then came back late in the day. Much was the same, and much was different, at least based on my fuzzy memory.

For this particular trip, I planned it all over the phone and bought us a fistful of tickets for the various special exhibits. We started with the special Leonardo da Vinci Exhibit, which was one of the things that I for one really wanted to see. It did not disappoint, though as I think about it now, it is interesting how it didn’t really involve a whole lot of “original” da Vinci stuff– just one page from his famous notebooks, and that was kind of off to the side.

Most of the exhibit was of models of things that da Vinci either invented or imagined, like this model of a parachute:

da Vinci parachute

Much of the exhibit involved things that you could make work, like this thing Will is bonking:

da Vinci thing

And much of it was kind of “audience participation,” like this bridge that Will helped build:

Will building bridge

The museum still has an enormous model train set-up; here’s just one small piece:


Then there was this train with model John Deere tractors I thought was pretty cool:

Deere train

We saw an exhibit on frogs that involved a pretty neat virtual disection tool, which naturally brought back memories for Annette and me on disecting the real thing:

Frog disection

We saw this kind of cool Omnimax movie about ancient Greece, but that was probably a mistake because we ended up running out of time and didn’t have time to go through the coal mine (I guess that’ll be next time). We did get to see the U-505 submarine, which is indeed a real German sub (think Das Boot) captured during World War II. When I was a kid, they had this thing parked outside; but now it’s in a new and spiffy inside facility. Sadly, it was pretty dim in there and they wouldn’t let you take pictures inside the sub (there is this virtual tour of the inside available on the web). Here’s a shot of the sub looking down the bow from the observation deck above the exhibit:

Sub 1

And here’s one along the side where you go in for the tour:

Sub 2

There was a whole bunch of other stuff too, and plenty of things to justify a return trip, but I’ll leave you with this weird picture of a Side Show diorama:

Weird Side Show

This thing was inside a case, about the size of a large dining room table, and it moved around and such. I think it’s one of those exhibits from the past that someone at the museum just couldn’t throw away.

Oh yeah– the picture at the top of Will making candy, which was one of the highlights for him, was in the gift shop. We bought him a token, he was able to select his flavors, and the machine pressed the powder into little sweet-tart-type candies.

One thought on “Museum of Science and Industry: DaVinci, Subs, and More!”

  1. Steve,

    Glad you enjoyed the Museum and the U-505 exhibit. The staff at MSI should be congratulated for preserving and displying the U-505. If you would like to learn more about the POW’s from the U-505 and their unusual interaction with their guards while at Camp Ruston, Louisiana, go to . I am the author and think in light of your trip to the U-505, you may enjoy learning more!

    Warmest Regards,


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