When visiting our favorite local museums, families have so much to explore in the fields of science, history, arts and culture. There are also some great exhibits which make the trip interesting.

From the Chicago History Museum’s new Great Chicago Fire exhibit to the return of beloved Christmas Around the World at MSI, there’s something for everyone this fall. Check out these new exhibits in Chicago and the suburbs this fall.

Current exhibitions

Photo credit: Sandro Vannini

Frida Kahlo: Timeless

Until September 12, 2021

Frida Kahlo: Timeless is the largest Frida Kahlo exhibit in the Chicago area for over 40 years. It presents a collection of 26 pieces on loan from the Museo Dolores Olmedo as well as a multimedia timeline, more than 100 photographic images of the artist’s life, a children’s area suitable for families and a garden inspired by Frida Kahlo.

Art in the market

Until September 16, 2021

Enjoy a digital art project on Chicago’s Merchandise Mart every night. Current programming includes Footnotes by Wills Glasspiegel and Brandon K. Calhoun, Woven by Spectralina and Frida Kahlo: Timeless by the Cleve Carney Art Museum.

Par Excellence Redux: The Front 9

Until September 26, 2021

This truly playable putt putt course is both artistic and family fun. A tribute to the 1988 Par Excellence exhibit at the School of the Art Institute, is used with the museum’s active COVID-19 protocols and each hole is based on a different collection or theme.

Van Gogh for all

Until September 26, 2021

Van Gogh For All is a pop-up experience that uses modern technology to engage 21st century audiences in 19th century paintings by the world’s most famous artist.

Model railroad garden

Until October 10, 2021

  • Address: Chicago Botanical Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe
  • Cost: $ 8, $ 7 seniors, $ 6 3-12, free 2 and under; -1 $ per price for members

Kids and adults alike love the G-scale trains that run on 18 tracks in front of and through 50 miniature American landmarks. Families will also see more than 5,000 plants and shrubs in the background, including more than 300 varieties. Before you go, download a Railroad Bingo activity card to play during your visit.

Marvel: the universe of superheroes

Until October 24, 2021

Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes celebrates Marvel history with over 300 artifacts, including original comic book pages, sculptures, interactive exhibits, and costumes and props from blockbuster Marvel movies. Guests can examine the origins of iconic characters such as Spider-Man, Black Panther, Hulk, and Captain Marvel and see how they have evolved alongside society over the past 80 years, making these characters a mainstay of pop culture. .

Hide and seek

Until October 31, 2021

Hide from reality and seek out a world of childish wonders. Immerse yourself in a 10,000 square foot pop-up world and lose yourself in immersive ’90s-themed installations designed to make you feel like a kid again.

Immersive Van Gogh

Until November 28, 2021

Take a look at the world’s most iconic impressionist artist, Vincent Van Gogh, in this fully immersive exhibit in Chicago. The US premiere of this exhibition takes visitors to Van Gogh’s most famous masterpieces with large-scale projections that span the entire hall, as well as music, storytelling and socially distant circles. .


Until January 8, 2022

The last time Field Museum guests saw Biomechanics was when the traveling exhibit debuted in Chicago in 2014. A new group of families can explore how animals and humans move while avoiding the forces of gravity, water and predators. Find out how a giraffe’s heart can pump blood down its long neck or how lunar butterflies can “smell” from nearly 7 miles away.

Drawn in Battle: Bill Mauldin and the Art of War

Until May 14, 2022

Families and teens can learn more about cartoonist Bill Mauldin by viewing 125 original drawings, 35 other reproduced images and over 20 original artifacts. Mauldin was an art student in Chicago before joining the front lines of WWII in Europe, then returning to Chicago to join the staff of the Chicago Sun-Times. He won two Pulitzer Prizes for his editorial cartoons.


The Great Fire of 1871, Chicago: The Race for Life on Randolph St. Bridge.

From weather to climate: our changing world

Opening September 12, 2021

Weather to Climate introduces the fundamentals of weather and climate and explains how the two phenomena relate through fun interactions and engaging content. The exhibit links weather to the science behind global climate change and explores how it affects human and animal communities around the world.

Nancy Rubins: our fluid metal friend

Starts September 30, 2021

Artist Nancy Rubins’ latest creation transforms playground equipment, amusement parks and coin-operated rides into art sculptures. Two works from his series Our fluid metal friend will be located on the Bluhm Family Terrace.

Questioners: Read. Question. Think. TO PLAY!

Opening October 1, 2021

Based on the bestselling book series by author Andrea Beaty and illustrator David Roberts, the characters from Questioneers Ada Twist, Scientist; Rosie Revere, engineer; Iggy Peck, architect; and Sofia Valdez, future president, come to life. The interactive exhibit celebrates diversity, creativity, curiosity, bravery and resilience. Kids can fly with Rosie in her Cheez ‘O Copter, wonder about how the world works while sitting in Ada’s thinking chair, build a bridge to save the class with Iggy, and lead a movement with Sofia all. by playing a game at Sofia Citizen Park.

City on fire: Chicago 1871

Opening on October 8, 2021

Learn about the Great Chicago Fire in the 150th anniversary year with an exhibit designed for families. Explore and learn about the impact of the fire on the city and the people who lived there. This family-friendly exhibit features over 100 artifacts from the Chicago History Museum‘s collection, interactive and multimedia items, and personal stories of fire survivors.

Redux par excellence: the back 9

October 13, 2021-Jan. 2, 2022

This truly playable putt putt course is both artistic and family fun. After experiencing The Front 9, return to the Elmhurst Art Museum to enjoy 9 more mini golf courses. The exhibition is a tribute to the 1988 Par Excellence exhibition at the School of the Art Institute.

Rise Up: Stonewall and the LGBTQ Rights Movement

Opening October 17, 2021

Explore the groundbreaking exhibit, Rise Up: Stonewall and the LGBTQ Rights Movement, about the June 1969 raid on the Stonewall Inn that became the flashpoint that sparked the modern gay rights movement in America. The exhibition weaves moving tales from the history of gay rights and the ongoing struggle for civil rights. Rise Up also examines the role of popular culture in influencing and reflecting attitudes towards the LGBTQ community through film, television, sports and music. It presents more than 80 artefacts and interactive kiosks.

Wild color

Starts October 22, 2021

Rooms at the Field Museum will be dedicated to the different colors of the light spectrum and visitors will be able to see how color is displayed in the natural world: gems, minerals, animals that glow under UV light and more. The presentation includes sounds, vibrant visuals and media projections.

Light landscape

Starts November 12, 2021

Participants will bask in the glow of thousands of twinkling lights marching through the Cathedral of Light, listen to the playful choir of singing trees, and be enchanted by new shining moments along the mile-long path.

Christmas around the world

Starts November 17, 2021

  • Address: 5700 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago
  • Cost: Included in the entrance to the museum

This Chicago tradition began in 1942. The museum’s large 45-foot tree takes center stage in the rotunda, surrounded by over 50 small trees decorated by volunteers from Chicago’s ethnic communities to represent their different cultures and traditions. vacation. Stroll through the trees, enjoy the falling “snow” and savor live performances.

Illumination: Tree lights

Starts November 20, 2021

Be surrounded by color as you travel a mile-long paved path amid interactive light effects that showcase the beauty of the trees in winter. You will be impressed and delighted to see new favorites and surprising new sites coming back. Enjoy seasonal music, marvel at captivating and changing lighting designs, and warm up by a crackling fire with a cozy drink or toasted marshmallows for s’mores.

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