New exhibit at Chicago History Museum is magical

Chicago has some great magic places, from magic shops to magic theater. It also has a tremendous history of magicians who have made a name for themselves in the industry, says John Russick, the curator of the new Magic exhibit at the Chicago History Museum.

If you go

  • Chicago History Museum
  • 1601 N. Clark St., Chicago
  • (312) 642-4600
  • Hours: 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday; noon-5 p.m.
  • Admission included with museum price: , seniors and
    students, free kids 12 and younger.

Back in the days when magicians traveled the vaudeville circuits by rail, other magicians followed the trains to the Windy City. “Chicago became a place to establish yourself,” says Russick.

It’s that local history that is portrayed in the new exhibit, created by the museum staff, which remains at the museum until Jan. 6.

The exhibition features storytelling, theater, artifacts from performances, and all the different kinds of apparatus used by magicians. There are interactive areas that let you learn a few of the tricks of the trade, without spoiling too much of the secret of magic.

“There’s a device in the exhibition where you get to make something appear or disappear,” Russick says. “It retains magic’s mystery, but gives some insight into what it takes to be a magician.”

Live performances also will be a big part of the Magic exhibition, as local magicians move throughout the museum putting on impromptu performances.

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