Expand your horizons at these five museums' creative new exhibits

 
By Samantha Nelson
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 9/26/2016 12:43 PM
hello
  • Kids explore the car wash at Kohl Children's Museum's new "SpotHero Car Garage" exhibit.

    Kids explore the car wash at Kohl Children's Museum's new "SpotHero Car Garage" exhibit. Courtesy of Kohl Children's Museum

  • Lewis deSoto's "Paranirvana (Self-portrait)" 2012 is part of the "Blow Up: Inflatable Contemporary Art" exhibit at the Elmhurst Art Museum.

    Lewis deSoto's "Paranirvana (Self-portrait)" 2012 is part of the "Blow Up: Inflatable Contemporary Art" exhibit at the Elmhurst Art Museum. courtesy of Chandra Cerrito Contemporary, Oakland, Calif.

  • Fly like a bird at the Museum of Science and Industry's new "Above and Beyond" exhibit, where visitors can experience a flying simulation with motion-sensing technology.

    Fly like a bird at the Museum of Science and Industry's new "Above and Beyond" exhibit, where visitors can experience a flying simulation with motion-sensing technology. courtesy of the Museum of Science and Industry

  • Design and test a supersonic fighter jet to face off in a virtual high-speed flying competition at the Museum of Science and Industry's new "Above and Beyond" exhibit.

    Design and test a supersonic fighter jet to face off in a virtual high-speed flying competition at the Museum of Science and Industry's new "Above and Beyond" exhibit. courtesy of the Museum of Science and Industry

  • Kids can get behind the driver's seat at Kohl Children's Museum's new "SpotHero Car Garage" exhibit.

    Kids can get behind the driver's seat at Kohl Children's Museum's new "SpotHero Car Garage" exhibit. Courtesy of Kohl Children's Museum

Fall is here, bringing with it cooler and more unpredictable weather. Luckily these five local museums are helping ease the transition with new exhibits to give you ways to spend the day indoors.

'SpotHero Car Garage'

Kohl Children's Museum, 2100 Patriot Blvd., Glenview, (847) 832-6600, kohlchildrensmuseum.org/

Hours: 9:30 a.m. to noon Monday, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday

Admission: $12; $11 for seniors

This month, the museum debuted "SpotHero Car Garage," a new version of its permanent "Car Care" exhibit. It not only keeps some of the most popular elements of the original, such as a car wash, pretend car and car ramp, but also adds space for kids to design and test their own cars. Or kids can take on the role of mechanic by checking a vehicle's engine and tires. The new exhibit has extra play cars so kids don't have to wait as long for a turn. Plus, the added components reinforce the museum's focus on science and technology and teaching kids to work together through pretend play.

"The car exhibit was very, very popular," said Stephanie Bynum, vice president of programs for Kohl Children's Museum. "(It's) the first exhibit that you see when you come into the museum, and it was a good time to give it a facelift and add some improvements to it,"

From Wednesday, Sept. 28, to Dec. 30, kids can also visit "Animal Secrets," an exhibit developed by the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry that lets them pretend to be naturalists. They can explore woodlands, a meadow, a stream and a cave, all while learning about the animals that live there such as bats, bears, deer and chipmunks.

Kohl Children's Museum has added extra play cars to its new "SpotHero Car Garage" exhibit so more kids can get in on the action at once.
Kohl Children's Museum has added extra play cars to its new "SpotHero Car Garage" exhibit so more kids can get in on the action at once. - Courtesy of Kohl Children's Museum

"It's a very immersive environment that really lets children connect with nature at a time of year when it's harder to connect with nature as the weather gets colder," Bynum said. "It actually is a great exhibit in the Midwest because there are animals the children will recognize as they're out on nature hikes."

The Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center's new exhibit, "Women Hold Up Half the Sky," highlights the struggles women face in other countries and at home. Here, women enrolled in Women for Women International's programs in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo try to better their situation.
The Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center's new exhibit, "Women Hold Up Half the Sky," highlights the struggles women face in other countries and at home. Here, women enrolled in Women for Women International's programs in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo try to better their situation. - Courtesy of Les Stone
'Women Hold Up Half the Sky'

Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center, 9603 Woods Drive, Skokie, (847) 967-4800, ilholocaustmuseum.org/

Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Wednesday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, from Sunday, Sept. 25, to Jan. 22

Admission: $12; $8 for seniors and students; $6 for kids 5-11

Based on the book "Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide" by Pulitzer Prize-winning authors Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, the exhibit "Women Hold Up Half the Sky" (co-presented by YWCA Evanston/North Shore) explores the challenges women face in the developing world and close to home. Focusing on maternal mortality, sex-trafficking and gender-based violence, the exhibit shares stories of women from around the world. It also highlights the organizations and people who are working to help them such as a victim of human trafficking who became one of the board members of the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation.

"One of our driving principles is that we want to educate people about the lessons of the Holocaust and how they relate to the present day," said Shoshana Buchholz-Miller, vice president of education and exhibitions for the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center. "We want to shine a light on issues of oppression and inequality and atrocity and genocide in other places. We want to focus on women and girls and the inequity they experience, and how we, as a society, benefit when they have more opportunity."

Saima Muhammad's daughter Javaria is in school and ranked first in her class. Her father, once disdainful of girls, now says, "Girls are just as good as boys." Learn more about challenges women face in the developing world in the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center's new exhibit, "Women Hold Up Half the Sky."
Saima Muhammad's daughter Javaria is in school and ranked first in her class. Her father, once disdainful of girls, now says, "Girls are just as good as boys." Learn more about challenges women face in the developing world in the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center's new exhibit, "Women Hold Up Half the Sky." - Courtesy of Nicholas D. Kristof

The exhibit also provides opportunities for visitors to make a difference. It can be by sending postcards to their senator about legislation supporting victims of domestic violence, sharing what they've learned on social media, and giving money or time to help local organizations.

"We really want people to look at this as an opportunity to be inspired to take action," Buchholz-Miller said.

Elmhurst Art Museum's "Blow Up: Inflatable Contemporary Art" features artist Claire Ashley's "Thing Two."
Elmhurst Art Museum's "Blow Up: Inflatable Contemporary Art" features artist Claire Ashley's "Thing Two." - Courtesy of Galleri Urbane Marfa + Dallas, Texas
'Blow Up: Inflatable Contemporary Art'

Elmhurst Art Museum, 150 Cottage Hill Ave., Elmhurst, (630) 834-0202, elmhurstartmuseum.org/

Hours: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and Sunday; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, now through Nov. 27

Admission: $8; $7 for seniors; free for students and kids younger than 18

See the Midwest premiere of "Blow Up: Inflatable Contemporary Art," which came to Elmhurst from California's Bedford Gallery. The exhibit shows how using air allows artists to create huge sculptures like Lewis deSoto's nearly 30-foot-long and 6.5-foot-tall self-portrait "Paranirvana" and Patrick Flibotte's 18-foot-tall superheroes. There will even be a life-size white elephant on display in the Mies van der Rohe McCormick House.

"These are things that you could not explore three dimensionally with any other media," said Elmhurst Art Museum executive director Jenny Gibbs. "If you did it, it would be impossible to move it."

Billie G. Lynn's "White Elephant 1" makes an impression at Elmhurst Art Museum's "Blow Up: Inflatable Contemporary Art" exhibit.
Billie G. Lynn's "White Elephant 1" makes an impression at Elmhurst Art Museum's "Blow Up: Inflatable Contemporary Art" exhibit. - Courtesy of the Elmhurst Art Museum

The local version of the exhibit boasts an expanded version of Oak Park artist and School of the Art Institute of Chicago adjunct professor Claire Ashley's installation, with one of the museum's three galleries devoted to her work.

"When people think of inflatables, you think of mass-produced vinyl, but she sews hers and they're made of children's backpacks," Gibbs said. "And she's a painter, so I think of these as her 3-D paintings. She's been on my radar for a while, so I'm really happy to have a chance to work with her."

The Museum of Science and Industry's new interactive "Above and Beyond" exhibit allows visitors to explore innovations in aerospace technology.
The Museum of Science and Industry's new interactive "Above and Beyond" exhibit allows visitors to explore innovations in aerospace technology. - courtesy of the Museum of Science and Industry
'Above and Beyond'

Museum of Science and Industry, 5700 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, (773) 684-1414, msichicago.org/

Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily Oct. 4 to Jan. 8

Admission: $18; $11 for kids 3-11

Fly like a bird. Or just learn to appreciate the science behind flight at the museum's new interactive "Above and Beyond" exhibit. Presented by Boeing in honor of its 100th anniversary, the exhibit starts by sharing the technology that allowed for the first powered flights. It then explores new innovations and research in aviation and aerospace, from motion-sensing technology that simulates the flight of a flock of birds to an elevator that can take people from Earth to the edge of space. Visitors can create and race their own supersonic fighter jets and learn about ways to fly faster and higher. The exhibit also features a mosaic created by Chicago teens depicting the city's skyline and the past, present and future of Boeing aircraft.

'Drawing on Tradition' and 'Full Circle'

The Field Museum, 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, (312) 922-9410, fieldmuseum.org/

Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily Oct. 29 to Jan. 13

Admission: $29; $25 for students and seniors; $20 for kids

The Field Museum has thousands of artifacts in its permanent Native American galleries. Soon, visitors can view the work of two contemporary Native American artists in the exhibits "Drawing on Tradition: Kanza Artist Chris Pappan" and "Full Circle/Omani Wakan: Lakota Artist Rhonda Holy Bear." Pappan provides a modern version of the ledgers Native American artists drew on in the 19th century when the buffalo hide they traditionally used for art became scarce. Some of his portrait work has also been made into decals that will be added to display cases within the museum's Native American hall. Meanwhile, Holy Bear uses intricately carved and beaded figures to depict 19th-century Plains life. Her work will be displayed alongside objects from the museum's collection that inspired her.

Article Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.