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Established through the kindness of the Sears, Roebuck and Company president and philanthropist Julius Rosenwald, the Museum of Science and Industry is the third largest cultural attraction in Chicago and one of the most popular museums in the United States. Inspired by the Deutsches Museum in Munich, a museum he visited in 1911, Rosenwald motivated his fellow members of Commercial Club of Chicago to initiate the creation of an interactive science museum in the former Palace of Fine Arts and donated $3 million (eventually, more than $5 million) for the palace?s restoration. In 1926, Rosenwald?s vision came into reality and was named Rosenwald Industrial Museum but eventually was changed to the Museum of Science and Industry.

The Museum of Science and Industry is a three story structure with more than 2000 exhibits displayed in about 75 major halls and has a floor area totaling 350,000 square feet. The museum holds permanent exhibits and host temporary and travelling expositions. Among the museum?s major exhibitions are transportation systems including one of the two World War II captured German U-505 submarine, the first manned NASA spacecraft called Apollo 8 Commando Module used to orbit the moon, a real Boeing 727 jet plane contributed by United Airlines, ?Pioneer Zephyr? the first diesel-powered streamlined stainless-steel passenger train, a WWII British single-seat fighter aircraft used by the Royal Air Force named Supermarine Spitfire, the ?999 Empire State Express? steam locomotive, the first vehicle ever to exceed 100 mph and a duplication of the plane used by the Wright Brothers for their first flight. A train related display entitled ?Great Train Story?, a 3,500 square feet replicated railroad, narrates the story of transportation from Seattle to Chicago.

Visitors can also enjoy and learn from science and industrial interactive exhibits and shows such as the emulated 1933 Illinois coal mine, the first exhibit of the museum and is still one of the main attractions located inside the Museum's Central Pavilion which allows people to descend 50 feet into the mine, a flight simulation of the new F-35 Lightning II and the Fab Lab MSI, an interactive lab where members can "build anything". Other themes featured in the museum are petroleum, genetics, the internet, model ships, the navy, space and architecture. The most recent addition to the museum is the creation of Science Storms, in the Allstate Court, that showcases a 40-foot water vapor tornado, tsunami tank, Tesla coil, heliostat system, and an authentic Wimshurst machine, all used to simulate seven natural phenomena: lightning, avalanches, tsunamis, fire, tornadoes, sunlight and gravity.
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