Working group to reimagine Museum Campus visitor experience

By Kelly Martin - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,
By Kelly Martin - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

A new working group has been organized to develop recommendations to enhance and reimagine the visitor experience of Chicago’s lakefront Museum Campus, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot says.

The campus is a 57-acre crown jewel of Chicago with premier institutions including the Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum, the Adler Planetarium, Soldier Field, and the Lakeside Center of McCormick Place. It also includes a number of parks including the 12th Street Beach, Northerly Island Park, and the Lakefront Trail. The campus is also a top birding destination, one of the nation’s most popular recreational activities.

“The Museum Campus is an integral part of Chicago and a huge contributor to our city’s culture and economy,” Lightfoot said in a Feb. 8 statement. “In order to maximize the benefits of its valuable assets, as well as address larger issues about the campus, recommendations from dedicated and talented community leaders are absolutely necessary. I am excited to convene the Museum Campus Working Group to begin this effort and look forward to working with each of its members to maintain the vitality of our Museum Campus.”

The mayor said in the statement that the working group will provide a set of strategic recommendations to reimagine the Museum Campus experience targeting year-round tourism and activation on the campus.

Richard Price, chairman and CEO of financial services company Mesirow, will lead this working group in developing a set of recommendations by this summer.

“With its history, culture and breadth of indoor and outdoor activities, Museum Campus is one of our great city’s most valuable assets,” Price said.“I am honored to chair the working group established by Mayor Lightfoot to explore its future and ensure that Chicagoans, and visitors from around the world, access and enjoy all that this lakefront destination has to offer for generations to come.”

The Museum Campus Working Group is comprised of Chicago leaders and policymakers with experience in key issue areas to focus on outstanding cultural amenities, recreation and open spaces, athletic facilities, and transit access, and will include the following participants:

  • Richard Price (Chair) – Chairman and CEO, Mesirow
  • Gerald Adelmann (Open Space & Recreation Lead) – President and CEO, Openlands
  • Michelle T. Boone (Cultural Amenities Lead) – President, The Poetry Foundation
  • Martin Cabrera (Athletic Facilites Lead) – CEO, Cabrera Capital 
  • Darlene Hightower (Transit Access Lead) – President & CEO, MPC
  • David Brown – School of Architecture at the University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Bridget Coughlin – President and CEO, Shedd Aquarium
  • Jaime di Paulo – President and CEO, Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
  • Karen Freeman-Wilson – CEO, Chicago Urban League
  • Perri Irmer – CEO of DuSable Museum, President of Museums in the Parks
  • Juanita Irizarry – Executive Director, Friends of the Parks
  • Michelle Larson – President and CEO, Adler Planetarium
  • Jack Lavin – President and CEO, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce
  • David Narefsky – Partner, Mayer Brown
  • Lou Raizin – President, Broadway in Chicago
  • Bob Reiter – President, Chicago Federation of Labor
  • Gary Rozier – Managing Director, Oak Street Real Estate Capital
  • Bonnie Sanchez-Carlson – President, Near South Planning Board
  • Allen Sanderson – Senior Instructional Professor in Economics, University of Chicago
  • Julian Siggers – President and CEO, Field Museum
  • Sam Toia – President and CEO, Illinois Restaurant Association
  • Amanda Williams – Distinguished Visiting Professor, School of the Art Institute Chicago
  • Bob Wislow – Chairman and CEO, Parkside Realty, Inc.



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