Hello, everyone! Welcome back to the third installment of this blog! I hope my tips for working from home last week were helpful. Even with those tips in my arsenal, I have been going a little stir-crazy working from home, and I am sure you all have been too. Turns out, the limit actually does exist for how much Netflix you can watch before you start swearing off binge-watching for good (although I may be convinced to come back for Tiger King, I’ve heard it’s crazy).
This got me thinking: What better way to remedy stir-craziness than getting out and exploring Chicago? Chicago has a lot of really great attractions, and some of my favorite among those attractions are museums. Now, I’m not asking that you all hop in a car or on a plane (or on a boat?) at once to come explore (although once this is all over, you definitely should). Rather, I’m suggesting you take advantage of some opportunities to explore Chicago museums virtually.
Fortunately, thanks to the internet, exploring virtually is really easy. Google has this really amazing platform called Google Arts & Culture, which allows people to visit different museums (not just in Chicago, but throughout the world) from the comfort of their own homes. It would be impossible to list all of the great places you can visit in this singular post, but here are five great Chicago museums that you should definitely check out:
- Oriental Institute: I’m going to start us off close to home. The Oriental Institute is actually located on UChicago’s campus, and we at the Admissions Office often host our info sessions in its auditorium. If you have any interest in learning about the ancient Near East, this museum is for you. They have some amazing art and archaeological items from several different locations, including ancient Egypt, Persia, and Mesopotamia. This museum is on the smaller side, so it’s definitely a perfect place to visit as part of a day-long trip to UChicago. Also... mummies!!
- National Museum of Mexican Art: Located in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood, this museum is a great place to learn about not only art, but also Mexican culture in general. The museum boasts a 10,000-piece permanent collection, and all the exhibits are truly amazing. This is also a particularly great place to visit in person if you ever get the chance. One of my favorite UChicago memories from my time as an undergrad is attending their annual Día de los Muertos celebration with one of my housemates during my first year.
- Field Museum: This museum is massive. You can learn about a ton of different things, ranging from the culture of various indigenous peoples to Sue the Tyrannosaurus rex to insects. The online offerings are a bit more limited, but there’s still a lot to explore, including an exhibit about Malvina Hoffman, which I will definitely be checking out soon. There’s sure to be something that interests everyone, making it a great family activity. (I should know. I took my whole family to this museum after my graduation, and everyone found something to get excited about.)
- The Art Institute of Chicago: Located downtown, this art museum has a ton of different pieces from all over the world. I am not an artsy person by any means, but I have visited this museum several times—both on my own and for class—and have enjoyed every minute of it. I visited it twice for Spanish courses I took, so I have a particular soft spot for the museum’s Spanish art. The Art Institute’s collection includes such a vast amount of art that turning a corner can make you feel like you’re in a whole new world—or suddenly right in front of a piece you’ve seen many times in textbooks. In addition to Google Arts & Culture, the museum also has some virtual resources on their own website, which you can check out here. And yes, you can still recreate that famous scene from Ferris’ Bueller’s Day Off from a home visit too... ????
- The Shedd Aquarium: This technically isn’t a museum, but I couldn’t resist adding it. The Shedd is definitely a must-see for any visit to Chicago, virtual or otherwise (and who doesn’t love an aquarium?). If you missed it, there’s also this great video of some of the penguins at the aquarium getting the chance to meet some beluga whales. (If you’re in the mood to watch some other aquarium shenanigans, I heartily suggest this video of puppies visiting the Georgia Aquarium. Shout-out to anyone reading from Georgia!)
I don’t know about you, but after a day of visiting museums, I always want to grab food. Chicago has some really awesome pizza, which is a great food for any occasion, whether it be museum visits or otherwise (I’m not going to get into the Chicago-style vs. New York-style pizza debate here because I value my life). And the good news is, you don’t even have to visit Chicago to try it—you can have some deep-dish pizza shipped straight to your door. Two of Chicago’s most beloved pizza places are Lou Malnati’s and Giordano’s, but I’ll let you decide which one to order (again, I value my life, so I will not be stepping into the Lou’s vs. Giordano’s debate either).
I hope you enjoyed this blog entry; I certainly did have fun writing it. I’ll look forward to seeing you all next week! In the meantime, have fun visiting some of Chicago’s great museums—and eating great pizza!