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The Best of Chicago Museum Week 2016

What are you doing October 13 to 23? Here’s where to go, and when.

The Art Institute of Chicago offers several free days during Chicago Museum Week.   Photo: Terrence Antonio James/Chicago Tribune

For eleven edifying days this month, Illinois residents can enjoy discounted rates and select free days at the best that Chicago’s cultural institutions have to offer.

This year’s Chicago Museum Week, running from October 13 to 23, brings together 27 additional museums for a schedule of special events and programming. Now in its second year, we rounded up the best ways to take advantage of this culture-packed week.

Thursday, October 13

FREE ADMISSION: Art Institute of Chicago (5 to 8 p.m.), Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

DO THIS: For naturalists and amateurs alike, the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum offers weekly events like live animal feedings and insect seminars. Channel your inner lepidopterist and witness the museum’s daily butterfly release at 2 p.m (free with admission). And on October 15, get a chance to contribute to ongoing scientific research at the inaugural Citizen Science Fair.

Sunday October 16

FREE ADMISSION: DuSable Museum of African American History, Field Museum

DO THIS: Check out the Drapetomanía exhibition at the DuSable Museum on its final day of showing. Drapetomanía—a reference to a pseudoscientific disease from the nineteenth century—offers a retrospective look at the Grupo Antillano, a mostly forgotten visual arts movement from the late ‘70s that fused African and Cuban aesthetics with the cross-cultural project of Cuban nationalism. 

Monday October 17

FREE ADMISSION: Shedd Aquarium

DO THIS: It’s not free today, but for $4 (this week, offering two-for-one or half-price family admission), see the recently opened Sacred & Secular: Paintings of Stuart Carlson exhibition at the Swedish American Museum in Andersonville. Born in 1938, Stuart Allen Carlson left behind a number of abstract paintings, prints, and drawings in the span of his 42-year life. Catch most his work at this retrospective which runs through the end of November.

Tuesday October 18

FREE ADMISSION: Museum of Contemporary Art, Shedd Aquarium

DO THIS: For an avant-garde musical take on contemporary neuroscience research hear Oakland, California-based cellist Teddy Rankin-Parker perform The Geometry of Thinking at the MCA at 6 p.m (free with admission). While you’re there, take a stroll through the Propeller Group’s exhibition in its last few weeks before it closes on November 13.

Thursday October 20

FREE ADMISSION: Art Institute of Chicago (5 to 8 p.m.), Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

DO THIS: Make your way to the Lincoln Park Zoo (where admission is always free) for Fall Fest. Seasonal highlights include a corn maze, pumpkin patch, tractor ride, and a myth-busting animal chat about bats.

Sunday October 23

FREE ADMISSION: DuSable Museum of African American History

DO THIS: It’s your last day to get $2 off admission at the Field Museum. See the Chinese terracotta warriors and check out the upcoming and much-hyped Tattoo exhibition, which opens October 21. From ancient Egypt to Thomas Edison’s “puncturing pen,” the exhibition promises a wide-ranging and anthropological look at the global phenomenon of getting inked.

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