Museum Campus South Initiative To Link Local Museums, Encourage Exploration
By Marielle Shaw in Arts & Entertainment on Aug 6, 2014 9:10PM
Photo credit: John Lodder
Location, location location. It’s pretty sweet that in a city full of traffic headaches, construction and a myriad of summer festivals that can make getting around difficult, some of the city’s main attractions are grouped so closely together. Museum Campus is one of our favorite places, giving us access to gorgeous views of the lake and the opportunity to peruse the Field Museum, Adler Planetarium, or the Shedd with very little fuss (once getting off of Lake Shore Drive, of course). Proximity promotes exploration, whether visitors try to marathon their way through all three in a day or know where to come back to explore more later.
This is the impetus behind the recently announced South Museum Campus initiative. It made its debut on the pages of 2012’s Cultural Plan, when Carol Adams, DuSable Museum of African American History’ president, noted that even though the South Side museums surrounding her couldn’t “see” each other, the area was still a museum corridor. The goal she and others in the area are working on with this plan is to connect the major institutions on the city’s South Side in a way that encourages people to experience more than just one place, and makes it easier for them to go between the locations.
Involved institutions include the DuSable Museum of African American History, the Oriental Institute Museum, the Frederick C. Robie House, The Smart Museum of Art, The Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, the Renaissance Society and the Museum of Science and Industry. David Mosena, the president and CEO of MSI, hopes the effort will draw “large-scale attention” to what he calls a “wonderful mix of culture and attractions in this neighborhood.”
One of the main connecting “links” for this initiative is the addition of an airport-style shuttle van, which will run every 30 minutes on Fridays and Saturdays between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., and noon to 4 p.m. on Sundays this August. The only museum which will not be on the van’s route during this time will be the Renaissance Society, as it will be setting up for an art installation. Choose Chicago, a donor for the program, will also provide free rides from downtown hotels to Museum Campus South, which visitors can get more information on at AirportExpress.com.
More information on the program, which is still in its testing phase, can be found on the newly launched website. If all goes well, there’s even talk of trading airport vans for trolleys. We’re museum junkies here at Chicagoist, and we hope this test proves successful and brings more attention to deserving institutions, and a closer look at the culture offered in the area.