When I was a kid, I hated museums. They were boring. Just a bunch of arrowheads, and woven baskets in glass cases. If you were lucky they might have a few mannequins dressed up or something. As I said, I hated museums. That was until I went to the Chicago Museum Of Science And Industry in Chicago, IL.
In my senior year of high school, I won first place in the data processing event in Washington state in FBLA (Future Business Leaders Of America). I had earned the chance to go to the national competition in Chicago.
First of all, flying to Chicago on a DC-10 was my first time ever flying. I was the only person going from my school, so I travelled with students from another school that had a bunch of people going. It was absolute blast!
Among the things we did in Chicago were go to the top of the Sears tower (at night on the 4th of July), visiting the Field Museum, and visiting the Chicago Museum Of Science And Industry.
The Chicago Museum Of Science And Industry was like museum that I had ever been to. Instead of a bunch of junk that someone dug up, it was filled with cool technology stuff. There was interactive stuff. There was hands-on stuff. I remember one display where you could push a botton, and it would separate water in to oxygen and hydrogen. Then you could push another button, and it would trigger a spark which would ignite the hydrogen with a loud pop, and turn the hydrogen and oxygen back into water.
One of the big exhibits was a working coal mine. I am not totally positive this was there on my first visit. I know at least that it was there the second time I went. A lot of people seemed to like this exhibit, but I didn’t really get into it.
My favorite exhibit was the going through a U-Boat. They have an actual German submarine, the U-505 in the museum, that you can walk through. This was the coolest part of the museum for me. Years later I was reading Shadow Divers by Robert Kurson. This is a great book, and is a true story. The book was about some scuba divers that find a sunken U-Boat off the coast of New Jersey. One of the divers travels to the Chicago Museum Of Science And Industry, to walk through the U-505 so he could see what the inside of a U-Boat looked like. That way when he was diving into the sunken submarine, he would know the layout. The book described the walk through the U-Boat, and I flashed back to Chicago 1981, an my visit to the Chicago Museum Of Science And Industry. I could remembered my own walk through the German U-Boat.
This place was great! If you ever get to Chicago, you should visit the Chicago Museum Of Science And Industry!