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Senior savors special tour of Museum of Science and Industry


Aidan Brennan (right) looks at an exhibit during his tour of the Museum of Science and Industry. 

By Beth Murphy, Director of Marketing Communications

A unique opportunity available each year to Scecina students is a two-day behind-the-scenes tour of the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, thanks to a partnership between Scecina and the museum. 

For someone who previously has visited the museum, it’s still a great time because the tour goes places in the museum which the public never sees. 

For someone who’s never been to the museum or to Chicago, it’s an even more awesome field trip. That describes the experience of senior Aidan Brennan

Aidan loved that the tour was one-on-one with an enthusiastic museum employee. “They catered to pretty much everything that piqued my interest,” said Aidan, who went to Nativity Catholic School. He submitted an essay to win a chance to go on the field trip.

Aidan was “very inquisitive, and seemed to enjoy it a lot,” said Scecina science department chair Sarah Smith, who attended the second day with Aidan. “He was like a sponge.” 

As a teacher, Mrs. Smith believes one of the best facets of the MSI-Scecina experience is the chance to show kids the variety of jobs in the sciences that people can choose. 

“The museum employees,” she said, “are really excited about their jobs and obviously enjoy what they’re doing. And the kids can see that there are jobs in science that aren’t just about sitting in a lab with a petri dish.” 

Aidan took a general tour of the museum on the first day, when he really enjoyed the U-505 exhibit and learned some history as well as science. The U-505 from World War II is the only German submarine in the United States. He watched two films in the MSI’s five-story domed theater, “Dream Big,” about the human ingenuity behind marvels big and small, and “Great White Shark.” 

On the second day, he watched museum employees help elementary school students learn basic mechanics using levers and pulleys. 

His favorite exhibit was “Extreme Ice.” American photographer James Balog has traveled with his team to remote regions of the world to capture images of our planet’s rapidly disappearing glaciers. “You could watch time-elapse video and see the effects on the ice caps,” said Aidan. In the “Dream It! Design It! Fab It!” exhibit, he saw how 3-D printing worked. He really went behind-the-scenes to talk with an employees who sets up the exhibits and also toured the warehouse full of artifacts that have been or will be used in exhibits. 

The two days were full of discovery and fun for Aidan. 

“They really pack a lot in,” said Mrs. Smith. 

Scecina’s partnership with MSI is facilitated by alumnus Jim Drury ’60, a member of the MSI Board of Trustees and chairman and CEO of James Drury Partners in Chicago. A stipend for travel and food is available for students who make the trip. 

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