CHICAGO (CBS) – Kate McGroarty’s month as a resident of the Museum of Science and Industry is coming to an end Thursday.

The Andersonville teacher and Northwestern University theatre program alum has been living in the museum since Oct. 20, and has had occasion to sleep in the U-505 submarine and the hamster wheel in the “YOU! The Experience” exhibit.

She got to play with the miniature books in Colleen Moore’s Fairy Castle, bring fertilized eggs to hatch in the Baby Chick Hatchery.

But on Friday, her assignment comes to an end, as she opens the Christmas Around the World exhibit and continues an MSI tradition that began in 1942.

McGroarty was the winner of a contest over the summer for the opportunity to spend a month working with school groups, attending learning labs and live science demonstrations, and of course, exploring the museum’s every nook and cranny.

Last week, McGroarty said she had a special fondness for the 727 airliner and the museum’s collections department, which she calls “a cross between the greatest attic in America and a playground for history nerds like me.”

And at first, the thought of sleeping aboard the museum’s U-505 submarine gave her the creeps, but she said it ended up being “quite cozy.”

McGroarty has slept in several different locations in the museum, but she has living quarters on the second floor of the museum in which she has spent most of her nights. She refers to it as her “nest.” She spends much of her days in the “cube,” just off of the museum’s rotunda. The rotunda itself is her “living room.”

In winning the contest, McGroarty was also paid $10,000, and received free museum membership for life.

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