Chicago’s WNDR-land


Grace Zhang

FINITE/INFINITE. Featuring the Instagram-famous infinity mirror room by artist Yayoi Kusama, the WNDR Museum in Chicago’s West Loop includes colorful and science-themed rooms intended to be Instagram-feed friendly. March is the last chance to see this room before the WNDR Museum closes to make room for “TANGIBLE/INTANGIBLE,” its next exhibit.

Samira Glaeser-Khan, Managing Editor

The doors of Chicago’s WNDR museum open to a large hall filled with whimsical sculptures, wall art, and three-dimensional backgrounds.  An illuminated WNDR sign surrounded by fabric flowers is displayed at the center of the room, on the wall a mural of the sky with benches and balloons. There’s also  an interactive part of the exhibit where you choose a colored bracelet that represents your subconscious mood.

Chicago’s WNDR museum provides immersive, interactive exhibits with science themes. The WNDR museum is an Instagram-friendly pop-up museum attempting to blend art and science. The museum was initially intended to remain in Chicago for a few months as a pop-up, but due to popularity it will be around a while longer, at least through the summer. Tickets are normally sold out days in advance, so make sure to plan ahead for the one-hour visit.

In addition to featuring 20 artists, the WNDR Museum currently features the famous infinity mirror room by artist Yayoi Kusama. It will close for remodeling March 31, which will include new exhibits in all the rooms except the infinity mirror room.

The WNDR museum is made up of a series of linear exhibits, meaning guests are taken from exhibit to exhibit and only allowed a certain amount of time in each room. Despite having a schedule, my visit didn’t feel rushed, and I found that a few minutes is really all you need to look at the exhibit and take selfies. Although the visit doesn’t feel rushed time-wise, the museum may be stressful for claustrophobic people because it is crowded – even on a Sunday afternoon – and because many rooms have low ceilings and dim, blueish fluorescent lights.

The rooms feature colorful and animated backgrounds that look beautiful in photographs. Museum personnel give explanations for the inspiration behind each room. For example, one room features a red jungle-gym inspired by cytoskeleton, network filaments that give tissues structure. Another room features a bright spotlight where visitors can “feel” neutrinos — subatomic particles in the air that we can’t feel. The purpose of the exhibit is to educate the viewer about neutrinos and show how placebo can lead us to imagine sensations.

The museum also has many opportunities to interact with exhibits. Most  rooms have elements that you can touch and move around. One room featured light bulbs that change color when you touch them to a hard surface.

Kusama’s mirror room is the final exhibit, after which there are food and gift opportunities.

If you want an opportunity to immerse yourself in aesthetic backgrounds and take pictures for your Instagram, the WNDR museum is a worthwhile way to spend your evening.