‘Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes’ Exhibit Opens at MSI

Fans of the Marvel Universe will revel in a new interactive experience dedicated to the comics, the movies and the history of the superheroes that have been created.

Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes opened March 4 to members at the Museum of Science and Industry and will be available to the general public on March 7.

Kids – and their geeked-out parents – will be immersed in the interactivity, which includes lots of “selfie” options plus a chance to virtually fly in Iron Man’s suit (and then take a few practice shots from his hand blaster).

Even if your family has only seen the movies, there’s lots to discover among the more than 300 artifacts, including props and costumes from the flicks.

Timed tickets are required to enter MSI and additional timed reservations are needed to see Marvel. The exhibit will remain at MSI through Oct. 4, 2021.

Here’s what to look for as you check out the two rooms that encompass the display:

One for the ‘gram

Keep your eye out for the chances to line the family up for a photo with a few superheroes.

While you’re waiting to enter at your designated time, look for Thor and the Incredible Hulk in a showdown in the entrance to the Transportation Gallery.

Inside the exhibit, sit with The Thing, pose with Black Panther and preen with Spider-Man. Though entry is limited to monitor the space from being too crowded, families will be asked to wait at a social distance at each “selfie” area, and all are decked with hand sanitizer.

Costumes and props

Fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe can check out the array of costumes and props worn and used in the movies.

Check out costumes from Black Panther, the Avengers movies, Thor: Ragnarok, the various Iron Man versions, Doctor Strange, Captain Marvel, Guardians of the Galaxy and more. The costumes range from the first MCU movie (Iron Man) through Avengers: End Game, which was released in 2019 and include costumes from many of the television series (like Daredevil and Luke Cage). 

From a pumpkin bomb used by the Green Goblin in Spider-Man (2002) to the Eye of Agamotto used in the 2016 movie Doctor Strange, the props range from small to as big as the cane used by Matt Murdock (Daredevil) in the Netflix series. Also, keep your eyes peeled for the Tesseract (Marvel’s The Avengers) and Peter Quill’s Walkman (Guardians of the Galaxy.

Comics and history

The exhibit opens with a look at Marvel Comics No. 1, published in 1939.

In addition to showing off the comic books that started each realm – from the Avengers to the Fantastic Four to the X-Men – fans can learn about the process of creating the comics and how it has changed over the years.

Check out concept art plus how the artists – mostly Jack Kirby, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko – used comics to teach readers about accepting differences and allowing the characters to take on different personas as different people donned the suits.

Know before you go

  • Because of capacity limits, timed tickets are required to enter the museum and the exhibit, so don’t head out to Hyde Park if you don’t already have tickets.
  • Some of the interactive portions of the Marvel exhibit require the use of a stylus pen, which are located at welcome areas around the museum. Make sure you have yours before you enter the exhibit.
  • The Pioneer Zephyr train, which has been closed for renovation since 2019, has reopened as a new experience as the museum reopened March 4. If you’re looking for something to do while waiting for your timed arrival to Marvel, check out the train on the first level.
  • MSI is open Wednesdays-Sundays due to its new cleaning schedule and masks are required at all times (except when eating and drinking) for guests 2 and older.
  • Some of MSI’s high-touch exhibits remain temporarily closed: The Idea Factory, Future Energy Chicago, and tours inside the Coal Mine and inside the U-505 submarine (the U-505 Submarine exhibit remains open).


Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes

March 7-Oct. 24, 2021

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Chicago Parent Editorial Team
Chicago Parent Editorial Team
Since 1984, the Chicago Parent editorial team is trained to be the go-to source for Chicagoland families, offering a rich blend of expert advice, compelling stories, and the top local activities for kids. Renowned for their award-winning content, the team of editors and writers are dedicated to enriching family life by connecting parents with the finest resources and experiences our community has to offer.
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