Wednesday, July 21, 2010

30 nights at the museum

The Museum of Science and Industry has recently created a contest in which one lucky person will get to live in the museum for a month. And when I say live I mean actually live there. They will give you a cot and everything. As a Chicagoan I feel that it is my right to have this opportunity even if explaining what I am doing to my employer and / or fiancĂ© would be a rather awkward conversation. “Why the hell do you want to live in a museum?” “Duh. It has a working coal mine. Why else would I want to live there.” Anyway, here is a list of what I would do if given a chance to spend a month at the Museum of Science and Industry.

(Note: I haven’t been there in ages so some of the exhibits I refer to may no longer exist in their original form.)

1) Operate the trains in the train station layout: In something that never quite made sense in a museum MSI had the largest model train set that I have ever seen. You literally needed to go up to the balcony to get a full sense of the scale of this thing. Now when I was younger it was in a bit of disrepair and you had to search to find the one train that was actually running. Apparently it is now repaired and has been made even more awesome. I want a chance behind the controls.

2) Spend a night with the cadaver slices: The timeline that MSI has given means that you will get to spend Halloween night there. I can think of no more frightening thing than to set up a cot with the cadaver slices and sleep there. For those of you who don’t know about this exhibit that scared the daylights out of me as a kid off in a corner of the museum there were these sections of metal frames set up much in the same way that the poster selection is at a Spencer Gifts. However, instead of pictures of women in bikinis you have a cadaver that has been sliced into two inch segments lengthwise and every slide is another two inches of the body. Freaked the hell out of me when I was 10 and would freak the hell out of me now.

3) A night with the baby chicks: Well, it can’t all be gore. In the food section of the museum (which had the awesome rotating plates of food where you got to select a meal and find out how unhealthy it was) you had the chick hatchery. A very neat place where you got to watch baby chicks make their way out of eggs knowing that they will eventually become your dinner. Would be neat to spend time with them.

4) Stage an Al Capone style shootout in Yesterday’s Main Street: This was always a neat part of the museum because it was uncrowded, air conditioned, and you could get ice cream there. It is made to look like early 20th century Chicago and therefore looks like the backdrop to every gangster film that you have ever seen. So what could be better than inviting a bunch of your friends over with toy guns and recreating some of the great mob battles?

5) Place G.I. Joe figures in the Fairy Castle: In another one of those exhibits that never quite made sense there is what is for all intensive purposes a giant dollhouse in the museum. I don’t know what it has to do with science or industry but it is always a popular place to go. I would have to spend some time rearranging the Castle and dropping in a few action figures of my own. I think the exhibit would be greatly improved through the addition of Boba Fett and Snake Eyes.

6) Climb down the staircase on the Apollo 11 mock up: This may be one of my favorite things in the museum. They have the actual training lander for the Apollo 11 mission. This means that it is an exact replica of what Neil Armstrong walked down 41 years ago. Given that I can’t go to the moon at the moment this would be the next best thing.

7) Bring back to walk through heart: What do you mean they got rid of the walk through heart? I don’t care if it is now a 13 foot tall 3D animation. I want the walk through heart back. It may not have taught you anything but you got to walk through a freaking heart.

Help me out Chicagoans. What would you want to do given free reign?

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