Chicago museums reopen in time for spring break

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Elliot Taylor

The University of Chicago’s Oriental Museum is one of many around the city open for spring break visits.

Julian Ingersoll, Arts Co-Editor

After a long period of closure, Chicago museums are opening their doors to the public for the first time since the pandemic started. They have taken the opportunity of the pandemic to rethink their exhibition ideas and have reopened with exciting attractions that also minimize the risk of spreading the coronavirus. Most museums still require attendees to register beforehand and wear a mask to follow the health and safety guidelines. Here are some that should be on your spring break to-do list:

Art Institute of Chicago:
After its temporary closure, one of the most well renowned art museums in the world, The Art Institute of Chicago, has reopened and is welcoming visitors in-person again. The Art Institute collection is always worth seeing, but they still have special exhibits like “Monet and Chicago” and “Bisa Butler: Portraits,” which will be around into the late summer. As the museum works at 25% capacity to keep visitors safe, the institute will expect visitors to keep six feet away from each other and to order tickets online so as to not hold up a line. Members, children, and teenage Chicago residents may access the museum for free, though some specific exhibits require an additional fee.

Field Museum:
The Field Museum, one of the most well-known Museums in Chicago, reopened on Jan. 23 and has a vast array of exhibits that will keep you occupied for hours including the “Nature Walk,” “Inside Ancient Egypt” and more. Ticket prices change depending on Chicago residency, though all prices are worth the experience that the Field Museum offers. All visitors are required to wear a face mask within the Field Museum, and all of the exhibits that are usually interactive are temporarily closed. The Field Museum is also known for its beautiful museum campus, which makes for a great spring break day trip.

Hyde Park Arts Center:
Hyde Park’s very own Hyde Park Arts Center reopened on Feb. 22, and is showing four exhibits that will be open until the summer. The exhibits include “Cecil McDonald Jr.: Cuts and Beats,” “Ground Floor,” the teen-oriented “Next Window, Please” and, as always, “Kay Rosen: Don’t Look Back.” These exhibits all include Chicago-based art as they help reinforce the artistic visions of Chicago artists. “Our exhibitions help artists through the entire process of making bold work that enrich their careers and spur public discourse on important subjects,” reads the Hyde Park Art Center’s website. All exhibits must be pre-registered and visitors are required to bring masks.

Museum of Contemporary Art:
The Museum of Contemporary Art, which recently reopened March 2, is showcasing eight new exhibits including “The Long Dream,” “Unfinished Business” and “Dependent Objects.” Since their reopening, the museum has upgraded its sanitization protocol to ensure visitor and staff safety. Visitors must order tickets on the MCA website to control occupancy, while personnel stationed within the Museum will answer your COVID questions, too. The MCA has had time set up multiple exhibits online and in-person for months to come.

Museum of Illusions, Chicago:
If you are interested in tricking your senses, the Museum of Illusions will do just that. With over 80 different mind bending exhibits, including the “Ames room,” and “Anti-gravity rooms,” the Museum of Illusions will not disappoint. All tickets will be available online and visitors will be asked to wear a mask as they go through the one-way flow museum that will help diminish contact with other visitors not in your party. It’s safe to say that if you plan to go over spring break, you won’t believe your eyes.

Museum of Science and Industry:
The Museum of Science and Industry, a Chicago favorite, opened March 7 to the general public. The museum features fan favorites including “You: The Experience” and “Farm Tech,” alongside fascinating new exhibitions such as “We can beat the pandemic. Together” and “Marvel: Universe of SuperHeroes.” The first few weeks of reopening have already been sold out due to the buzz around new exhibits, so MSI currently only offers tickets online. If you are planning a family trip to MSI, get your tickets fast!

Oriental Institute:
The University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute has been open since September and still showcases its extensive collection of artifacts from around the Middle East. New exhibits include Middle Eastern contemporary art and an upcoming exhibit on 19th century Iran, “Antoin Sevruguin: Past and Present.” Along with the in-person exhibits, members can even listen in on a lecture from the Professor of Archeology at the University of Chicago David Schloen.