Inclusion and Accessibility - Museum of Science and Industry

The Museum of Science and Industry's building was built for the 1893 World's Fair, and partly as a result has some challenges for inclusion and accessibility.

There are two particularly noteworthy issues at MSI. The first is the lack of elevators. Once you're inside the building itself, there are only two main elevators: in the red stairs, and at the north end (which is at the bottom of the most maps the museum distributes). That often means long distances from an exhibit to an elevator, particularly on the top level, because you have to walk around the outsides of the balconies. And, while all broad areas are accessible, there are several individual exhibits which have limited accessibility. See the museum's exhibit accessibility notes for more details.

The second issue is the regular loud noises from two exhibits in particular. Science Storms has a tesla coil (essentially artificial lightning) fire every 45 minutes, making a loud, long horn-like sound. There is a timer showing how long until coil fires again, but it can't be seen except for directly underneath the coil itself. The Coal Mine also blows a fairly loud whistle at the start of tours. Both sounds can be heard throughout the top two floors, especially in the rotunda, and in the directions towards the two exhibits.

MSI often becomes noisy and hectic. Farm Tech and the Idea Factory are particularly active.

Wheelchairs can be checked out for free from Guest Services in the Entry Hall, though numbers are limited. To reserve a wheelchair in advance, email Coat Check at Guest Services also has noise-reducing headphones and weighted vests which can be checked out for free.

The museum's Sensory Notes page includes a link to a sensory map and communication book that can be very helpful for visitors. There are also a few low-sensory early admission dates each year; upcoming dates are listed on the museum's events page, or you can register for the email list to learn when new dates are added.

Other services can be arranged through the museum, although they ask for a one week advanced notice. Contact information is at the bottom of the museum's accessibility page.