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Free shuttle service available to Chicago museums

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As a way to boost attendance at seven, South Side museums free shuttle bus service will be available every weekend during August.

The “Museum Campus South” transportation service, which is available every 30-minutes on Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m., is collaboration between the DuSable Museum of African American History, 740 E. 56th Place; Museum of Science and Industry, 57th Street and Lake Shore Drive; the Oriental Institute, 1155 E. 58th St; the Smart Museum of Art, 5550 S. Greenwood Ave; the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St; the Renaissance Society, 5811 S. Ellis Ave; and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House, 5757 S. Woodlawn Ave.

However, while initially listed as one of the museums serviced by the program, the Renaissance Society, an independent contemporary art museum on the University of Chicago campus, will not be on the route in August, when it closes for a temporary art installation.

The nonprofit Choose Chicago is funding the $20,000 pilot program, which could be repeated next summer if enough people participate, said David Mosena, president and CEO of the Museum of Science and Industry.

“Ridership will determine its success,” he said.

By connecting the museums it helps link neighborhoods to each other and broadens cultural experiences for Chicago residents, said Carol Adams, president and CEO of the DuSable Museum.

“There’s a whole neighborhood of people who have never visited any of these museums because of a lack of knowledge about them and access to them,” she said. “But by providing free shuttle service it will not only make a way for residents to go to the museum but also educate them as well.”

In addition to the museum, the shuttle buses, provided by Go Airport Express, will also travel twice a day at 10 a.m. and noon to Downtown hotels. John McCarthy, CEO of Go Airport Express, added that at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. the shuttle would travel to Hyde Park and back. Admission to each museum must still be paid but discounts are available to those who use the shuttle service.

Alderman Willie Cochran (20th), whose ward includes the DuSable Museum, said he plans to use the shuttle service himself and encourages everyone to do the same.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for families to visit the magnificent museums available on the South Side,” Cochran said. “All of these museums offer their own cultural experience regardless if you are Black, white or Latino.

Unlike the city’s Museum Campus, which includes the Field Museum and Shedd Aquarium, South Side museums are not located near each other making it less convenient for tourists.

“With the Museum Campus we all know and love, each institution benefits from the proximity to the other. That’s not the case though with South Side museums even though we offer just as much cultural experiences as the ones Downtown,” Adams said. “The purpose of Museum Campus South is for us to take advantage of our proximity as institutions.”

For more information about the program, go online to visitmuseumcampussouth.com.

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