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More People Visiting Museums, Accidentally Learning

By Alicia Dorr in Arts & Entertainment on Jan 22, 2007 8:02PM

300px-John_G_Shedd_Aquarium_Chicago_040724.jpgWith the second Body Worlds exhibit expected to attract the same droves of visitors to the Museum of Science and Industry as the first installment did, everybody seems to be noticing something — museums are cool. And because museums are cool, people brought attendance to them in Chicago up 6 percent from 2005 to 2006.

The ten largest museums in Chicago recorded 8.75 million more visitors over the year. The obvious winner was the King Tut Museum, of course, with a 60 percent increase. The Shedd Aquarium had big lizards, but it attracted more visitors, too.

The Museum of Science and Industry will probably smoke both of them next year, however; this time around it saw a drop in visitors of a horribly embarassing 24 percent, but it was attributed to the loss of the bubble the first Body Worlds provided the year before (which they will probably have again this year). No one wanted to go to the Art Institute of Chicago, either, which they claimed was due to a lack in blockbuster exhibits but we attribute to the elimination of the "pay what you can" rule.

We are pretty excited about the exhibits going up so far this year, and recommend that everyone try to check some out — especially the lesser known ones. We also think that the Shedd is the best place in Chicago to go on a date, going to the Adler Planetarium is like riding in a car on a hot day with the windows rolled up, Body Worlds 2 is well worth the fee, and the Museum of Contemporary Art is a great place to pretend to be a snob while making fun of art you don't understand. Discuss.

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