‘Marvel’-ous Museum: Comics exhibit shares super history of publishing giant


Amy Ren

A model of Marvel’s classic character ‘Spiderman’ hangs from the ceiling in the Museum of Science and Industry’s “Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes” exhibit.

Amy Ren, Reporter

Crisp but age-yellowed comics, gently lit by warm lights, hang on the walls of a darkened hallway. At the end is a statue of a superhero, and behind it lurks a costume-covered mannequin.

“Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes” is the Museum of Science and Industry’s new exhibit that delves into the history and making of the Marvel comics and movies, as well various facts about critical artists and superheroes. 

Tickets must be purchased in advance, and as of April 18, they are sold out until June. The two-part exhibit closes Oct. 24.

With original comic book pages, sculptures and many hands-on displays, the interactive exhibit is suitable for all ages. Costumes and props from Marvel’s popular films accompany posters and displays about the origins and histories of iconic characters. Guests can explore how they evolved alongside society over more than 80 years to find their place in modern pop culture.

 Scattered conveniently throughout the exhibit are digital displays for users to further explore with well-chosen videos and images. These displays vary in topic depending on the section of the exhibit, ranging from time-lapses of creators inking comics to profiles on superheroes. 

 Legendary comic book creators like Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko are honored, and the exhibit also looks at how Marvel has been influenced by and responded to historical events and addressed social issues like gender, race, religion and disability. 

MSI has ensured that visiting the Marvel exhibit is fairly safe. Guests are encouraged to not linger after they are done looking at a part of the exhibit, but sometimes it is not possible to stay the recommended 6 feet apart. However, the design of the exhibit facilitates people to go through it in a linear fashion and not double back.

A sign asks museum guests to interact with the exhibit as usual, but to use styluses rather than bare hands as an extra safety measure.

Due to coronavirus restrictions, the daily capacity of the museum is reduced, and all guests, including members, must reserve timed-entry tickets online to enter. Spread throughout the museum are posters reminding to social distance from those not in your group and stations with hand sanitizer. Masks are required, regardless of vaccination status, and the MSI provides disposable styluses to allow guests to interact safely with screens and buttons. 

Parts of the regular museum are open or modified. The Brain Food Court is open and vending machines are available, but food can only be consumed in designated eating areas. Some exhibits and experiences have been modified to encourage physical distancing, increase movement and reduce contact. A few experiences where these measures are not easily possible are closed.

“Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes” is an enjoyable exhibit for people of all ages, regardless of how much knowledge they have about Marvel and comics.