Best Museum Exhibits To See This Fall In Chicago

September 17, 2012 6:00 AM

(credit: John G. Shedd Aquarium)

By Megan Horst-Hatch

Ever wondered how Charles Schulz started his “Peanuts” comic strip or how sea jellies can survive? You won’t need to travel far to find your answer. Through special exhibits, Chicago’s museums, cultural institutions and galleries can shine the light on a particular mammal, work of art or period of history for visitors to explore. The following exhibits are on display this fall.

jellies shedd1 Best Museum Exhibits To See This Fall In Chicago

(credit: John G. Shedd Aquarium)

John G. Shedd Aquarium
1200 S Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60605
(312) 939-2438

Dates: Now through 2013

What is 95 percent water and features venomous stinging cells? If you answered “sea jellies,” you’re correct. Visitors to the Shedd Aquarium’s “Jellies” exhibit can get up close and see jellies on display. The exhibit allows visitors to explore how sea jellies have survived for millions of years without brains or blood. The exhibit, which launched last spring and extends through 2013, features a rotation of sea jellies on display, including the Atlantic sea nettle, blue blubber jelly and egg yolk jelly.

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“Extreme Mammals”
The Field Museum
1400 S Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60605
(312) 922-9410

Dates: Now through January 6, 2013

Quick! Can you name the biggest, fastest or tallest animal? “Extreme Mammals” at the Field Museum will help you answer those questions and more. Visitors can see specimens, fossils, skeletons and reconstructions of these extreme mammals, including the Indricotherium, a koala and a spectacle bear. Visitors can also explore a large-scale diorama of Ellesmere Island as it was 50 million years ago. Both ancient and modern mammals are featured in this exhibit.

 Best Museum Exhibits To See This Fall In Chicago


“Vivian Maier’s Chicago”
Chicago History Museum
1601 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60614
(312) 642-4600

Dates: Now through fall of 2012

Through Vivian Maier’s camera lens, explore Chicago’s people and neighborhoods in the 1960s and 1970s in the exhibit “Vivian Maier’s Chicago.” The exhibit, which opened September 8, features photographs taken by the nanny-turned-street-photographer presented on a larger-than-life scale. The widely-traveled, New York-born Maier concentrated on taking slice-of-life photographs, including those of people walking and shopping.

Related: Best Up-And-Coming Artists In Chicago

 Best Museum Exhibits To See This Fall In Chicago


“The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”
Kohl Children’s Museum
2100 Patriot Blvd
Glenview, IL 60026
(847) 832-6600

Dates: September 24, 2012 through January 2, 2013

Get ready to tap your ruby slippers and explore an exhibit that’s no place like home. “The Wonderful World of Oz,” based on L. Frank Baum’s Oz books, features hands-on displays about tornados, brain “twisters” and an oversized pair of sparkly red shoes for guests to try. Larger-than-life pop-up books are on display at the exhibit as well, which was developed by the Great Explorations Children’s Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida.

 Best Museum Exhibits To See This Fall In Chicago


“Birds in Ancient Egypt”
The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago
1155 E 58th St
Chicago, IL  60637
(773) 702-9514

Dates: October 15, 2012 through July 28, 2013

Travel back in time to the days of ancient Egypt with the Oriental Institute’s upcoming exhibit “Birds in Ancient Egypt.” The exhibit features bird songs and videos showcasing what life was like in ancient Egypt while exploring the role and importance of birds during that time. This exhibit also includes little-seen objects from the collections of the Oriental Institute, the Field Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Brooklyn Museum.

 Best Museum Exhibits To See This Fall In Chicago


“Charlie Brown and the Great Exhibit”
Museum of Science and Industry
5700 S Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60637
(773) 684-1414

Dates: October 25, 2012 through February 18, 2013

Through “Charlie Brown and the Great Exhibit,” visitors can see how Charles Schulz created the “Peanuts” gang, including such characters as Snoopy, Charlie Brown and Lucy. Memorabilia and original cartoons are part of the exhibit, which allows visitors to see how “Peanuts” evolved to become an iconic comic strip that would be published in more than 2,600 newspapers in 75 countries at the time of Schulz’s retirement. Visitors can also see Schulz’s studio recreated for the exhibit.

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Megan Horst-Hatch is a mother, runner, baker, gardener, knitter, and other words that end in “-er.” She loves nothing more than a great cupcake, and writes at I’m a Trader Joe’s Fan. Her work can be found at

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