From Robert Feder (formerly of the Chicago Sun-Times), blogger and columnist for Time Out Chicago:
Installation of a spectacular 17-foot neon-and-steel sculpture (picture on link above) this week will mark completion of basic construction for Chicago’s new Museum of Broadcast Communications. Embedded with 36 video monitors displaying classic TV images and a wide array of vintage media technical equipment, the tower will serve as a 24-hour beacon to passersby from atop the grand staircase of the museum at the southwest corner of State and Kinzie Streets in the River North neighborhood.
Commissioned by the museum, the sculpture was designed by Cincinnati artist Mark Patsfall, longtime associate of the late Nam June Paik, the legendary media artist. It weighs 1,200 pounds and will sit on a 5-foot-by-5-foot base.
“Patsfall’s sculpture will be an homage to the men and women who work behind the scenes in broadcasting to bring images and sounds to our homes and now to our cell phones,” said Bruce DuMont, founder and president of the museum. “It will underscore that the new MBC is an institution with a renewed perspective on the power of personalities and content in an age of ever-advancing technology.”
While there are no plans to celebrate completion of the building’s core and shell portion Saturday, the fact that the four-story structure is close to being finished at all is something of a miracle.
For four years, construction stalled on the half-built project while the museum waited in vain for the Blagojevich administration to fulfill a promise of millions of dollars in state funding. Work finally resumed in last June, thanks to a $6 million grant from the Quinn administration.
The museum still needs an additional infusion of capital to complete interior spaces and build exhibits before it can open its doors by the end of this year. But DuMont has surmounted bigger obstacles in realizing his $24 million dream of a shrine to the history of television and radio. So few are betting against the veteran broadcaster seeing the project through to opening day.
“The MBC is a museum of historic preservation and environment conservation, and we thank state leaders for their vision in creating this world class museum for Chicago and its visitors,” DuMont said in a statement Monday.
As a bonus, the building is so environmentally friendly that its State Street façade will include a wall of specially treated glass that protects birds.
That's right--you read it here first, an actual building where birds will not interfere when visitors and tourists are inside the building.
Realizing it has been a few years since I last wrote about things, it will be really cool to check it out once everything is finally online.
You can access some of the archives, but there are plans to digitize the entire collection of Chicago and some American TV shows, news programs, reality shows, and yes, some vintage commercials.
E-memberships can be purchased for $15, and it includes a paper ballot for annual elections in the Radio Hall of Fame. You can find out more details at the fully revamped MBC home on the Web, http://www.museum.tv