Three Great Museums of Chicago

Chicago has museums which are educational and cultural landmarks. If you are planning a student outing or field trip in Chicago, then these great museums should be on your list of places to visit. Here is a brief guide to three of the most important museums in Chicago.

Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum

On the shores of Lake Michigan, on Chicago’s Museum Campus, the Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum is dedicated to the study of planets, moons, stars, and distant galaxies.

Brief history

Founded in 1930 by Max Adler, this facility was the first planetarium in America. The original 1930’s building remains, but in recent years a new addition, the Sky Pavilion, was added to increase exhibit space. Today, the Museum features one of the largest and most important collections in the world, including more than 2,000 historic astronomical, navigational, and mathematical instruments.

Highlights

Some highlights of the planetarium include exhibits on the Solar System, the Milky Way Galaxy, the history of astronomical discovery, and an exhibit showing how astronomy has affected various cultures. Teachers planning student tours of the Planetarium can take advantage of on-site educational programs and pre-visit lesson plans.

The Art Institute of Chicago

The Art Institute of Chicago houses one of the world’s best art collections. With more than 300,000 works on display, representing over 40 centuries of art, the Institute’s collections include some of the finest and most famous art ever created.

The Art Institute began as the Chicago Academy of Design, founded by a small group of artists in 1866. The first collections included a gift of plaster casts from the French Government. Many other name changes occurred before becoming The Art Institute of Chicago in 1882.

Arts and collections

Art collections include European and American paintings, African and Asian art, architecture, photography, textiles, and sculpture. Some of the individual highlights include masterpieces such as Seurat’s A Sunday on La Grande Jatte–1884, Cassatt’s The Bath, and Wood’s celebrated American Gothic.

The Institute also boasts an impressive collection of works by artists such as Monet, Renoir, Degas, Van Gogh, and many others.

The Institute consists of three levels of exhibits, divided into three buildings. The only connection between the three buildings is Gunsaulus Hall, throughout which arms and armor are prominently displayed.

One especially unique exhibit found at the Art Institute is the display in the Thorne Miniature Rooms. The collection contains 68 rooms that are miniature replications of rooms ranging from the 17th century to the 1930s. The rooms focus on American, European, and Oriental decorative arts, with architectural interiors from the various time periods.

Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio

Another great Chicago landmark is the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio which has been restored and preserved as a museum. It’s a memorial to one of our country’s most influential and innovative architects, Frank Lloyd Wright.

Best known for his Prairie style of architecture, Wright moved away from the detailed ornamental abundance in the Victorian homes of the time and created a style that focused on simplicity and clean lines.

In 1889, Wright borrowed $5,000 from Louis Sullivan to build his Oak Park home. At the time, Wright was working for Sullivan’s architecture firm as a draftsman. Sullivan and Wright parted company in 1893. Wright began his architectural practice in Chicago. In 1898, Wright added the studio onto his home.

Wright moved away from home in 1909 and finally sold the house in 1925. Over the years, the home fell into severe disrepair. It was not until 1974, when the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio Foundation was formed.

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