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    Museum of Science and IndustryMuseum of Science and Industry Chicago, Illinois
    One of the nation's best museums is located in the Jackson Park area of Hyde Park in Chicago, Illinois, right next to Lake Michigan and called the Museum of Science and Industry, which is housed in the fabulous 1893 Palace of Fine Arts, it opened with initial help from Sears, Roebuck and company president and philanthropist, Julius Rosenwald in 1933. It is the biggest science museum in the western hemisphere and some of its best features includes a working coal mine exhibit, the first diesel powered streamlined stainless steel passenger train (Pioneer Zephyr), a German submarine (U-505) that was captured during WWII, a NASA spacecraft used in the Apollo 8 mission and a 3500 square foot model railroad. It houses more than 2000 exhibits that are shown in 75 major halls, with numerous significant permanent displays that were already mentioned, as well as a real Boeing 727 jet donated by United Airlines and recreates a flight from San Francisco to Chicago, silent film star and stock market investor Colleen Moore's Fairy Castle can be seen and the Great Train story that has been scaled down to become a model railroad that describes the story of transportation from Seattle to Chicago. There are numerous US Navy warships showcased, a Ju 87 R-2Trop. Stuka divebomber, that is only one of the two left in the world and a Supermarine Spitfire. A new flight simulator for the new F-35 Lightning II is also shown, and include many interactive exhibits. In 2010, it opened a new exhibit called Science Storms that is housed in the Allstate Court and this multi-level display showcases a 40 foot water vapor tornado, an authentic Wimshurst machine constructed by James Wimshurst in the late 19th century, a tsunami tank, Tesla coil and an Omnimax Theater. The museum has become well known for its unique and different permanent exhibits like the walk through model of a human heart and some of the other displays include Yesterday's Mainstreet that is a mock-up of a early 20th century Chicago street with cobblestone street, fire hydrants, old-fashioned light fixtures and numerous shops that are reminiscent of those days.

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    Art Institute of ChicagoArt Institute of Chicago, Illinois
    This art museum occupies a million square feet, in Chicago, Illinois' Grant Park, housing one of the finest collections of post-impressionist and impressionist art in their permanent collections, with excellent holdings in old masters, modern, American art, European and American decorative arts, Asian and contemporary art. It is associated with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and the second biggest art museum in the nation after the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Their outstanding collection spans 5000 years of human expression from many cultures around the globe and houses over 260,000 works of art, with the earliest Japanese prints to the updated American art. Currently, it is more famous for its holdings of impressionist, post-impressionist and American paintings, with over 30 works by Claude Monet alone, that includes six of his Haystacks and a few Water Lilies. There are works by Auguste Renoir, Henri Matisse, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Paul Cezanne, Georges Seurat and Gustave Caillebotte. Non-French paintings of the collections include artists like Vincent van Gogh, Mary Cassatt, Grant Wood's American Gothic and Edward Hopper. Their growing collection of African American art continues to surprise visitors, with outstanding and excellent artists from all media's being exposed. Some of the more famous artists in this genre include, Archibald John Motley, Richmond Barthe and Jacob Lawrence. On the ground floor are the Ryerson and Burnham Libraries, with collections from all aspects of art, although best known for its excellent collection of 18th to the 20th centuries. In 2009, they opened the Modern wing that is the biggest expansion in the history of the museum, designed by Renzo Piano and spanning 264,000 square feet and includes works by Pablo Picasso, Rene Magritte, Frank Lloyd Wright, Henri Matisse, Bruce Goff, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and others.

April 19, 2011