By DASCHELL M. PHILLIPS
A group of cultural institutions on the South Side have launched a campaign to bring more tourists and local visitors here.
Declaring August “Museum Month,” six South Side institutions — including the Museum of Science and Industry, DuSable Museum of African American History, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House, Oriental Institute Museum, Smart Museum of Art and the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts — have launched a program called “Museum Campus South.” In partnership with Choose Chicago, the University of Chicago Office of Civic Engagement, the South East Chicago Commission and Go Airport Express, Museum Campus South will provide free shuttle services by Go Airport Express bus to all of the partnering cultural campuses.
The pilot program will take place on weekend through the month of August. The shuttles will run about every 30 minutes from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and from noon to 4 p.m. on Sundays.
“The idea is to have ease of movement from one place to the next so that visitors can take full advantage of their time here,” said Carol Adams, president of DuSable Museum, during a press conference Thursday morning.
Other attendees included a representative from each cultural institution, partnering organizations and Alds. Leslie Hairston (5th) and Willie Cochran (20th).
Carol Adams said during the pilot phase the institutions will survey their guests to see if the program should be extended.
“We plan to survey visitors and ask them about the usability, if it was convenient, would they use it again, would they tell their friends,” Carol Adams said.
Julie Burros, director of cultural planning at the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, said Museum Campus South fulfills one of the plans goals to maintain vibrant cultural districts citywide.
Larry Zbikowski, deputy provost for the arts at University of Chicago, said the university is excited to be involved with taking jewels of the area and linking them through this initiative.
“The university is excited to be involved with trying to reach out to community and visitors from all around the country,” Zbikowski said.
Celeste Adams, president and CEO of the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust, said this is not the first time the museums on the South Side have worked together to promote cultural events in the area but that it has unique characteristics.
“We’ve had one-on-one partnerships in the past but this is the first time we are all working together,” Celeste Adams said. “Chicago is a living museum with all its grand and diverse destinations. We are glad to be working with Museum Campus South.”
John McCarthy, vice chairman and president of Go Airport Express, said that in addition to shuttles around the participating campuses there will also be shuttles from downtown hotels that will bring visitors to the institutions.
Carol Adams said the Museum Campus South launch costs about $20,000 so far. The group has a website, banners, ads and magnetic signs for shuttles.
Wendy Walker Williams, executive director of the South East Chicago Commission (SECC), said arts and culture and economic development organizations will work hand in hand with this initiative.
“The SECC will do everything it can to make sure this route receives as much attention as possible,” Walker Williams said.
Entry fees to each institution will remain the same during the pilot, however participants will receive special discounts in the gift shops at each location.
Visit museumcampussouth.org for more information.