Classes at Chicago museums
Learn to become a famous artist, a dolphin trainer or a museum curator.
Who hasn’t dreamed of becoming a famous artist, a dolphin trainer or a museum curator strolling the empty hallways after hours? Alas, the fantasy hasn’t come true for most of us. But, at these museum courses, professionals who are living the dream give you a shot at, sigh, what could have been.
Collections Care at Home and in the Museum
No matter how much Pledge goes into wiping down your tchotchke display, it’s nothing compared to what goes into keeping the immaculate exhibits inside the Adler. Lucky for compulsive dusters, this course will unveil the tricks of the museum trade. Collections manager Devon Pyle-Vowles will discuss the Adler staff’s maintenance of the important collection of astronomical artifacts—rare books, instruments and spaceflight objects. You’ll also learn how you can apply that same TLC when displaying or storing your own collection, whether it’s stamps or a museum-worthy array of shot glasses. Wed 5, 6:30–8:30pm. Adler Planetarium, 1300 S Lake Shore Dr (312-922-7827, adlerplanetarium.org). $25, $15 members.
Trainer for a Day
This weekend, forget Planet Earth episodes and sign up for the real thing. The Shedd Aquarium’s Trainer for a Day program allows participants to swim with belugas, dolphins and sea lions. Pull on rubber boots, sort and cut fish for food pails, and shadow a marine-mammal trainer. Learn how they keep those huge creatures healthy, while you channel your childhood passion for marine biology. Fridays and Saturdays, 8:30am–12:30pm or 1:30–5:30pm. The Shedd Aquarium, 1200 S Lake Shore Dr (312-692-3224, firstname.lastname@example.org). $350, members $300.
Kafka and Kabbalah
You don’t have to be a Jewish-museum curator to know that Franz Kafka was a die-hard fan of Yiddish theater. You can just sign up for this relaxed, four-session minicourse at the Spertus. Dr. Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern, professor of Eastern European Jewish history and culture at Northwestern University, will explore Judaic ideas in Kafka’s short stories, novels and letters. If the class becomes too brainy (oy vey!), you can turn your rapt attention to the included kosher lunch. Mondays, Mon 3–Mar 24, noon–1:30pm. Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies, 610 S Michigan Ave (312-322-1773, spertus.edu/index.php). $150, members $125.
If the closest your artwork has come to museum-style installation is hanging under a magnet on your mom’s fridge, you might be able to change that. At this art class, you’ll start by soaking up inspiration from Lee Bontecou’s mobiles, which hang in the Museum of Contemporary Art. Then twist paper, fabric, wire and other materials to form your own original hanging art. Led by artist Jesse Wyss, this workshop gives you the opportunity to apply your creative side—and elevate your artwork from refrigerator-worthy to innovative apartment decor. Sat 1, 1–4pm. MCA, 220 E Chicago Ave (312-280-2660, mcachicago.org). $45, members $40. Sign up with a friend and receive $5 off.