City announces first Museum Week


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The Art Institute of Chicago is free for Illinois residents on Thursdays from 5:00–8:00 p.m.


Chicago is known for its food and music festivals, but a new weeklong event will add to everything else  the city has to offer.

Museums in the Park, a coalition of Chicago museums that raises awareness of the collections and assets of its members, will host Chicago’s first Museum Week Oct. 1–7, featuring a wide variety of free museum-based events, shows and activities.

The Adler Planetarium, Art Institute of Chicago History Museum, DuSable Museum of African American History, Field Museum, Lincoln Park Zoo, Museum of Contemporary Art Museum of Science and Industry National Museum of Mexican Art, National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum and the Shedd Aquarium are scheduled to participate.

“Museum Week is a chance to rediscover Chicago’s most  iconic institutions that connect us with exceptional collections of art, culture, history, science, animals and nature,” said Museums in the Park President Gary T. Johnson in the Sept. 9 Chicago History museum statement. 

“We want people to explore places that are new to them or visit old favorites. Chicago has a wealth of cultural institutions, and Museum Week provides extra incentives and opportunities to visit them,” he said in the release. 

Barbara Engelskirchen, chief development officer of the National Museum of Mexican Art, said she hopes Museum Week will boost awareness of the museum, located in Pilsen .“We are a small museum but a great neighborhood gem,” Engelskirchen said. 

Suburban resident Paula Kavchak, who was visiting the Art Institute, said she thinks Museum Week is a great way to encourage people to visit  the museums.

“Museums should be accessible to anybody, and Museum Week will make them more accessible to people,” Kavchak said.

The National Museum of Mexican Art will unveil  its annual Day of the Dead exhibit during the week-long celebration, Engelskirchen  said.

“It’s the biggest Day of the Dead exhibition in the United States,” she said.

Visitors can participate in a “How to Build a Rocket” workshop at the Adler Planetarium, and The DuSable Museum will open a new exhibit titled “Freedom, Resistance and the Journey Towards Equality” while the Lincoln Park Zoo will kick off its annual Fall Fest.  

“[The week is] a way to showcase the rich heritage the City of Chicago has invested into our museum,” said Billy Ocasio, CEO of the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture in Humboldt Park.

Ocasio’s institution will host an opening exhibition with artist Oscar Luis Martinez and offer workshops for high school and elementary school students. It will also host its second annual fundraising  gala called “RAICES: A Celebration of Our Roots.”

“I would really like people to recognize the hidden gems that they have in the City of Chicago,” Ocasio said.

All the participating museums will feature free admission, and most will offer discounts on memberships and purchases.