I have a delusional fantasy of moving to, and living in, Chicago. Not the Chicago of the influential book There Are No Children Here. No, I dream of living in a safer version of Chicago, but this post is not about social justice, so back to me.
In the ideal version of the scenario in my mind, I am in my 50s and have enough disposable income to get memberships into all of my favorite museums.
When I tell people in places like Las Vegas and Yosemite National Park that I am from the Hoosier state, they picture one of the following:
– James Dean’s previously-blogged grave, if they have ever been there
– vast fields of corn interrupted by quaint little towns filled with citizens who vote for previously-blogged state slogans like “Honest to Goodness”
– cars going around and around on a track
– fraternity parties at one or both of our major well-known state universities
It’s true. My home state has all of these things. It is also true that whether it was high school or college or beyond, most people I’ve met who grew up here enjoyed field trips to Chicago, especially for the museums. At least one, and sometimes only one.
For me, field trips to Chicago were AT LEAST annual. Of course, I took many more field trips to Chicago as a high school student, when with a now-estranged friend I would skip school, ride the commuter train (Northwest Indiana Commuter Transportation District’s South Shore) downtown, and go to…the museums.
Above is a photo of the Gary stop taken whilst I was on the EASTbound train, but that’s a subject for a different post.
The Art Institute of Chicago had a restaurant listed on the Today Show’s list of the best museum restaurants in America. I cannot tell you how many photos I have taken of the lions out front, especially when they are wearing their Christmas wreaths.
The Museum of Science and Industry is the only building remaining (save ticket booths unearthed from neighbors’ yards) from the 1893 World’s Fair, and TripAdvisor calls it one of the top 25 museums in the U.S. (I got this information from the museum’s press page.)
Speaking of the Fair, until September 7th, the Field Museum is having an exhibit on the subject. I have been to this exhibit (see below photo as proof). I also attended an exhibit on bioluminescence there last November.
I’m sure the Planetarium and Aquarium are great, too, but…I haven’t visited either of those in the past 20 years.
There are also numerous museums hidden away from the “Museum Campus” South Shore stop.
So, you can see that my dream born of a life along the state border is not entirely unattainable. I will do it, but it won’t be soon. And that’s okay. Museums, like cities themselves and their populations, evolve and grow and change. I’m looking forward to it.