HYDE PARK — Looking down on the Museum of Science and Industry from the height of a satellite makes it very clear how much of the museum is now buried underground.
The museum at 5700 S. Lake Shore Drive looks palatial sitting in Jackson Park with its broad lawn in the front and the Columbia Basin lapping at the rear. But old timers will remember the view used to look quite different from above.
Many people’s parents may still balk at the idea of going to the museum on a rainy day because they want to see the submarine.
It was as recent as 2004 that the U-505 submarine was exhibited outdoors, not hard for a passing satellite to spot. It was moved indoors to a concrete vault excavated in the lawn in front of the museum.
That lawn, which until 1998 was a parking lot, now hides more of the museum than people realize.
The museum proposed moving all parking underground in 1995 after several unsuccessful attempts in 1962 and 1984 to build additional parking lots in Jackson Park, according to a history of the museum compiled by the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference.
The move underground also brought with it an entirely new underground hall where the Pioneer Zephyr train now rests with other locomotive artifacts.
From above you would never notice any of that if it weren’t for vents and utility ports that mark the general boundaries of some of the museum’s now vast underground space.
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