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Why the iconic Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago is changing its name

The Museum of Science and Industry will offer a free day this weekend as part of the celebration

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One of Chicago's most iconic museums will officially have a new name starting next week.

"For nearly a century, our museum has celebrated the power of science and industry," a Facebook post from the Museum of Science and Industry said. "As we march toward the next 100 years, we embark on our next chapter."

Beginning May 19, Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry will be known as the Griffin Museum of Science and Industry, the museum said. As part of the launch, the museum will be offering free admission to all guests Sunday.

Why the Museum of Science and Industry is changing its name

The name change was first announced in 2019 after a record $125 million donation from Chicago billionaire Ken Griffin.

The museum, famously located within the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition's former Palace of Fine Arts building, said the move aimed to recognize "the largest single gift in the museum’s history."

But they were "building towards a time when the outside of our Museum reflects the progress we've made on the inside" before officially changing their name. 

"Today, we're excited to reveal the next step in our evolution as the Griffin Museum of Science and Industry," the museum's website reads.

Griffin, founder and chief executive officer of Citadel, described the museum as "one of the most important institutions of science in the world."

"I am honored to support MSI’s mission to inspire the next generation of scientific exploration and innovation," Griffin said in a statement. 

Officials said a majority of the money will be used for "securing the museum’s long-term future" and support plans "to create the Pixel Studio, a state-of-the-art digital gallery and performance space that will be the only experience of its kind in North America."

As part of their new identity, the museum also revealed a new logo and experiences. Among them, is a new Griffin Studio, "a one-of-a-kind immersive digital gallery" with a premier exhibit dubbed Notes to Neurons, "an exploration of the bond between music and emotions."

The new logo "features a modern twist on the iconic cube—now with softer edges, symbolizing our commitment to inclusivity and accessibility for all."

"As we re-emerge as the Griffin Museum of Science and Industry, we're moving forward with great purpose and respect for our history—challenging ourselves to progress, to modernize, to innovate, and to place our visitors and community at the center of all that we do," the museum wrote on its website.

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