More Chicago area museums open

See an in-person exhibit on Nelson Mandela, Women in the Military, Monet or Marvel Comics.

As the number of COVID cases go down Chicago’s museums have begun inviting visitors back, enticing them with special exhibits.

Safety protocols will be followed including timed tickets and, of course, wearing masks. As an old, once popular ad said, “Don’t leave home without it.”

The Shedd Aquarium and Field Museum opened in January. The Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois Holocaust Museum and Lake County Dunn Museum are opening in February and the Museum of Science and Industry opens in March.


Illinois Holocaust Museum in skokie (Photo courtesy of the IL Holocaust Museum)
Illinois Holocaust Museum in Skokie (Photo courtesy of the IL Holocaust Museum)

Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center

The museum welcomed the public back with free admission on Feb. 3, 2021 and will continue to offer free admission on Wednesday through March. Hours are 9 a.m. -5 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday but tickets must be purchased online ahead of time. See safety procedures.

Current main special exhibition is “Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg” up until about Feb. 20, 2021.

Upcoming special exhibit is “Mandela’s Struggle for Freedom” opening Feb. 20.

For tickets and other information visit ILholocaustmuseum.

The Illinois Holocaust Museum is at 9603 Woods Dr., Skokie, (847) 967-4800.


Art Institute of Chicago (J Jacobs photo)
Art Institute of Chicago (J Jacobs photo)

Art Institute of Chicago

The museum’s blockbuster “Monet and Chicago” seen only as a virtual exhibit after the pandemic closed its doors, is now possible to view in person through June 14, 2021.

The museum reopened Feb. 11 with limited days: Thursday-Monday (closed Tuesday and Wednesday. Member are invited to come from 10 to 11 a.m. and the public from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For tickets and protocols see Visit a Chicago Landmark | The Art Institute of Chicago (

The Art Institute of Chicago is at 111 S. Michigan Ave. and 159 E. Monroe (Modern Wing).


Lake County Dunn Museum (photo by John Weinstein)
Lake County Dunn Museum (photo by John Weinstein)

Bess Bower Dunn Museum

The museum, a Lake County Forest Preserves property, reopens Feb. 13 with online, timed tickets.

“Modifications have been made throughout the galleries and gift shop to minimize touch points and support social distancing,” said Director of Education Nan Buckardt.

Along with displays of Lake County history and artifacts, the museum is currently celebrating Black History Month. Its special exhibit, “Breaking Barriers: Women in the Military,” will be up through June 13, 2021.

Modified hours are 10 am to 3:30 pm, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, with visitation time slots available from 10–11:30 am, 12–1:30 pm, and 2–3:30 pm. The galleries and gift shop will be closed between these time slots for cleaning and disinfecting.

The museum will be open on Presidents Day, Monday, Feb.15 and  then will resume its regular schedule.

“We look forward to welcoming visitors back again to the Dunn Museum,” said Angelo Kyle, president of the Lake County Forest Preserves. “Our priority remains to create a safe environment and provide peace of mind for all our visitors and staff while connecting them with Lake County history and culture.”

For tickets, safety protocols and other information visit Bess Bower Dunn Museum. The museum is  at 1899 W. Winchester Rd., Libertyville, (847) 367 6640.


MSI opens with Marvel Universe exhibit (photo courtesy of Marvel and the Museum of Science and Industry)
MSI opens with Marvel Universe exhibit (photo courtesy of Marvel and the Museum of Science and Industry)

Museum Of Science and Industry

MSI as Chicagoans call the museum, will reopen  with the premiere of “Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes,” when it welcomes members on March 4 and the public on March 7.

A major exhibit, the ” Marvel Universe” will contain more than 300 items ranging from sculptures, interactive displays and costumes to props from Marvel films and original comic book pages.

After opening weekend, MSI will be open Wed -Sun  from 9:30 a.m. to 4.p.m. For tickets, protocols, hours and other information visit MSI status.

The Museum of Science and Industry is at 5700 S. Lake Shore Drive.

Jodie Jacobs

Related Chicago museums opening now and next two months – Chicago Theater and Arts




Three holiday shopping ideas

Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone (expect the leftovers) just about every store and business is advertising Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. But sometimes the deals and gifts get lost in the over abundance of ad noise. So, here are a few places to check out this weekend. (More ideas next week).

The Olive Tap founder Rick Petrocelly (Photo by J Jacobs)
he Olive Tap founder Rick Petrocelly (Photo by J Jacobs)


Black Friday and Small Business Saturday

The Olive Tap in Illinois and Colorado has 15% off most oils and vinegars and 10% off some gift baskets  on Nov. 27-28. The owner and staff are very knowledgeable about flavors, shelf life and go-with foods.

Locations are Long Grove IL, Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs, Co. Covid protocols are observed. Curbside delivery is available. For information visit The Olive Tap.





Cyber Monday

Macy's Chicago (Daniel Boczarski/Getty images photo)
Macy’s Chicago (Daniel Boczarski/Getty images photo)

Maybe you watched  Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Thursday. No, it wasn’t canceled but the crowds had to watch from blocks away or on TV.

If the program’s wonderful floats and entertainment (included a number from “Hamilton” put you in the holiday shopping mood then go to the department store’s cyber Monday deals. They range  from clothes and shoes to stuff for the home. Find them at CyberMondayMacy’sSales.







RBG items at the Illinois Holocaust Museum (JJacobs and IL Holocaust photo)
RBG items at the Illinois Holocaust Museum (JJacobs and IL Holocaust photo)

Hanukah Holiday Gifts

Before Christmas, Dec. 25, and Kwanzaa, Dec. 26, is Hanukah which begins at sunset Dec. 10, 2020. The Illinois Holocaust Museum carries several gift items ranging from RBG stuff to menorahs and books. Visit the museum’s gift shop at IllinoisHolocaustshop.



Jodie Jacobs


Holocaust and modern heroes featured in Take A Stand exhibition


Imagine being able to ask questions of Holocaust survivors not just now while many are in their 80’s, but 10 and 20 years from now after they have died.

Or think about what can happen when no one speaks out against discrimination and injustice.

The new Survivor Stories Theater at the Illinois Holocaust Museum, Skokie
The new Survivor Stories Theater at the Illinois Holocaust Museum, Skokie.

The folks at the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center in Skokie have done more than merely ponder those possibilities and issues.

On Oct. 29, 2017, Take a Stand Center, the museum’s new, three-part permanent exhibition opens to the public.

Visitors can hear 13 Holocaust stories and ask questions of the speakers through  holographic, interactive technology in the Center’s Abe & Ida Cooper Survivor Stories Experience.

In the Goodman Upstanders Gallery, they can listen to the stories of 40 modern heroes who were willing to take a stand for social justice.

Then, inspired by these stories and examples, guests learn how to follow through based on their own convictions at the Take a Stand Lab.

After explaining that survivors telling their stories through holograms grew out of an idea from board member Jim Goodman, Illinois Holocaust Museum CEO Susan Abrams noted that the Shoah Foundation at the University of Southern California had been thinking along the same lines.

Working with Shoah and adding more technical experts, the recording time of each of the survivors in the exhibit was extended to include replies to questions viewers would likely have.  So that after hearing a story the listener is asked, “What do you want to know.”

“The experience is very strong. Custom voice recognition software prompts the answers,” Abrams said. “One of the things we’re doing is helping survivors communicate for generations to come.”

She added, “There is no substitute for human interaction to develop empathy.”

Note: Survivor stories are timed and recommended for ages 11 and older. Click here for reservation.

The Upstander Gallery in the new Take A Stand Center at the Illinois Holocaust Museum.
The Upstander Gallery in the new Take A Stand Center at the Illinois Holocaust Museum.

When moving to modern tales in the internationally-filled Upstanders section, visitors will come across such local heroes as Peace Builder Henry Cervantes at the Chicago-based Peace Exchange that teaches young community leaders to advocate for nonviolence,  Syrian American Medical Society Past President Zaher Sahloul, MD., and Syrian Community Network Founder and Executive Director Suzanne Akras Sahloul.

At the end of another museum exhibit is the sad, important phrase, “Never Again.”

“You’ve heard “Never Again, but never again has not been a reality,” Abrams said.

In the Take a Stand Center is the Take a Stand Lab to help people become engaged. “The third section has tools for change so that an individual, a school an organization can learn to advocate,” she said.

Pointing out that people often ask what one person could do, Abrams said, “This section answers that question, what can you do.”

Tools include how to learn about legislation or petitions and how write to a legislator and how else to act on an issue whether it’s civil rights, social rights or economic rights.

Visitors can take an action tool kit home. To learn more visit tools.

To prove that reaching out and doing something can make a difference, the Lab includes examples of success.

“We want the exhibition to move people from knowledge and inspiration to taking action,” Abrams said.

With a nod to a recent resurgence in activism, she said, “The exhibit is timeless and very timely.”

DETAILS: The Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center is at 9603 Woods Dr., Skokie, just west of the Old Orchard shopping center. For more information call (847) 967-4800 and visit IL Holocaust Museum.