in General, Libraries/Info Sci, Ramblings

ALA/Proquest Scholarship Bash

When: Saturday, June 25 2005 08:00 PM
Where: Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago IL
My Role: Attendee
After a little soul searching, I decided to buy a ticket for the ALA/Proquest Scholarship Benefit Bash at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry last night.

$35, a little more than I’d usually spend for such an outing. But it was after the museum closed, some of the pay exhibits were included, I’d heard friends rave about the place, and I wanted to do something touristy while in town.

Good choice on my part! ALA ran shuttles from the convention center, which could have been labeled much more clearly. But they worked, I got there shortly after 8. Proquest was giving out battery powered light-up fans, which were a Godsend. The A/C was severely underpowered for some reason.

Not everything at the museum was included in the $35 price. The U-505 and Bodyworlds cost $5 and $10, respectively. Bash Cash to the rescue!

In order to entice attendees to talk to them, about a half dozen vendor booths were giving out certificates during the day, good for purchases at the museum. I made sure to visit them all early. Even so, one was out by the time I got there. But the other five payed off, and I hopped on the shuttle with $31 in Bash Cash to spend! I don’t want to sound like a bad person – I did sit through the vendor’s presentations and even learned a bunch in the process. So I bought tickets to both extended exhibits with money left over.


U-505 was an amazing experience. I’m a sucker for visiting historical sites and artifacts, especially World War II related, and this one was a whopper: A German U-Boat, in drydock and open for tours. The only one ever captured intact, and which the Enigma code machine was taken from. I’m told the exhibit was majorly renovated over the last year and a half, and the museum did a bang-up job. Immaculately placed light and sound simulates what it was like in the last hours of U-505’s German service, and an elaborate multimedia presentation leads you into the drydock. Picture to the left.

Bodyworlds was likewise impressive, but more as a work of art. The exhibits are all real human bodies, donated to the Dr./artist and posed so you can see the muscles and/or veins in action. Every part of the body was preserved through a process called “Plastination”. They really are amazing pieces of art and science to look at – Andrea was even more in awe of the exhibit than I was, as she’d wanted to see it for ages. They don’t allow pictures to be taken, but check out the exhibit’s web site.

Even after all that, I still had $16 in bash cash to spend! Luckily, it was good in the gift shop. I found two freezie mugs; the kind of thing you put in the freezer before use so it keeps your drink cold.

That left me with a mere $1 remaining. Amazingly, I happened to be in the right place at the right time. A group of women leaving donated their remaining bash cash to me – another $10! I had a couple drinks from the bar, and still had enough left over to help Steven buy a sprite on the way out the door.

Totally worth the $35. Even if it was only 3 hours. I’d love to go back to the museum sometime during normal hours and explore their other, less glamorous exhibits.