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UPDATED 10/05/11 1:44 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — A digital media analyst from the Uptown neighborhood will become the second person to spend a month as a full-time resident of the Museum of Science and Industry.
Kevin Byrne, 33, was chosen among six finalists. In the second installment of the MSI’s “Month at the Museum” program, he will live in the museum 24 hours a day from Oct. 19 until Nov. 17, and will share his experiences through a blog and social media, the museum said. He will also earn a $10,000 prize.
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The other five finalists — Katie Duff of Frankfort, Dale Fiste of Malden, Ill.; Motoko Maegawa of Grosse Pointe Park, Mich.; Dave Mosher of New York City, and Mike Wilson of Faringdon, England — received gift packages and the surprise of an overnight stay during Byrne’s stay.
Byrne is a native of Roanoke, Va. He works as an analyst for a digital marketing agency, but has also biked across the country by himself, and spent two months in the Virginia mountains studying red-backed salamanders.
Byrne has also trained in the circus arts, and is now training for his sixth marathon for the Make-a-Wish Foundation, the museum said.
In his application essay, he said spending a month at the MSI would remind him to live his life “hands-on and wide-eyed.”
Before Byrne’s name was announced, Museum president Dave Mosena said there will be no shortage of activities for the next Month at the Museum participant.
“Our new roommate will explore all the nooks and crannies at MSI – 14 acres,” he said.
Then, exhibits manager Brett Nicholas did play-by-play as each finalist dipped a torch into a pumpkin. One of the pumpkins had an explosive hydrogen balloon inside.
When Smith’s pumpkin exploded with a bang, he knew he was the winner.
Byrne will have his own private quarters on the uppermost story of the museum, but will be visible to guests in a glass-enclosed room on the main floor.
“I’ll be writing some of my blogs from here, and also greeting some guests from a Plexiglas window,” eh explained.
Last year, Kate McGroarty, teacher and Northwestern University theatre program alum from Andersonville, became the first person to win a “Month at the Museum.”
She did everything from dissecting the eyeball of a cow to attending a fancy fundraising ball in the same day. And she even got to bring in a batch of fertilized eggs that later hatched in the Baby Chick Hatchery.
“There is not a SINGLE day that goes by here for me that feels ‘normal’ or ‘routine,’” she wrote in the blog last fall. “Every single day I get to go to new workshops, meet new people, learn new things, see new parts of the building, laugh at hilarious things people say, observe visitors, try new things… I could go on and on, but you get the idea.”
The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.