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A protest outside Garrick Theater c. 1960 (Richard Nickel / Art Institute of Chicago)

Rescued ruins and a virtual tour of a lost masterpiece of Chicago architecture — we speak with the city’s cultural historian and a noted artist who were part of a team exploring a long-lost theater and more.

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The Neon and Light Museum just opened at 325 W. Huron St. in River North. (WTTW News)

Neon combines craftsmanship with design and a bit of science. We visit the Neon and Light Museum in River North to find out if it’s truly lit.

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Frank King created the masterpiece “Gasoline Alley,” which captured the ineffable passage of life in an impermanent medium, its characters aging at the same rate as its readers, many of them based on King’s own family. His best work focused on the quiet, tender and poignant moments of life, especially those between parents and children. (Courtesy Chicago Cultural Center)

We check out a new show at the Chicago Cultural Center that makes the case that the comic strip was born and raised in Chicago. Our tour guides? Artist Chris Ware and cultural historian Tim Samuelson.

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The latest rendering of the Obama Presidential Center tower. (Courtesy of Obama Foundation)

A coalition of 16 Chicago museums and cultural institutions has weighed in on the ongoing battle over the Obama Presidential Center, coming down firmly on the side of the center versus those who would block its construction in historic Jackson Park.

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Mojina Jinuna Mote, holding a photo of herself taken in 1947. Mote’s story is part of a new exhibit on the Marshall Islands at the Field Museum. (Courtesy of the Field Museum)

A photo snapped by a Field Museum anthropologist in 1947 was labeled “schoolgirl” for 72 years. That student now has a name, and her story is part of a new exhibit about the Marshall Islands. 

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Installation view, Chicago Comics: 1960s to Now is on exhibition June 19 – Oct. 3, 2021. (Credit Nathan Keay /  MCA Chicago)

Artists who used to be on the comics page have now earned a place in museums. A new exhibition makes the case that Chicago has long been a magnet for creative cartooning. We visit “Chicago Comics: 1960s to Now” at the Museum of Contemporary Art.

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The Nature Museum will reopen July 8. (Courtesy of Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum / Facebook)

Though many Chicagoans found refuge in nature during the pandemic, the physical Nature Museum in Lincoln Park has been shuttered since spring 2020. 

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Mexican painter Carmen Chami's work is featured at the National Museum of Mexican Art (Courtesy NMMA)

When it reopens its doors July 1, the National Museum of Mexican Art will be kicking off operations with a major financial boost after it received an $8 million donation from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott.

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Kehinde Wiley. “Barack Obama,” 2018. Oil on canvas. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.

A portrait is a traditional way of commemorating a presidency. But the former president and first lady made a statement by choosing distinctive contemporary artists. This week, Chicago becomes the first city to host The Obama Portraits. Here’s a preview.

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(Adler Planetarium / Facebook)

A return to pre-pandemic business as usual is not yet in the stars for the Chicago cultural institution, though some screenings and public observing events will make an in-person comeback beginning July 3.

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A portion of Frida Kahlo’s original works are returning to the Chicago area for the first time since the late ‘70s.  (WTTW News)

Some of Frida Kahlo’s original works are returning to the Chicago area for the first time since the late ‘70s.

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Design attributed to Agnes F. Northrop (American, 1857–1953), Tiffany Studios (American, 1902–32) Corona, New York. Hartwell Memorial Window (detail), 1917. (Courtesy of The Art Institute of Chicago)

It is a heavenly depiction of a beautiful place on earth. It’s also a fine work of art and one of the newest acquisitions at the Art Institute of Chicago. We explore an illuminating landscape made from light and glass.

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By the age of 23 he had fought in World War II, tangled with Gen. Patton, and won his first Pulitzer Prize. Cartoonist Bill Mauldin created artwork for magazines, books and newspapers from the 1940s into the ‘90s. We explore a new exhibition of his work.

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The Chicago History Museum (WTTW News)

After helming the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville for many years, the South Side native has returned to the city to lead the Chicago History Museum. Donald Lassere joins us to talk about expanding the museum’s mission to all of Chicago. 

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Researchers from the Center for Scientific Studies in the Arts examine works in the National Museum of Mexican Art to learn more about their history, April 23, 2021. (Marc Vitali / WTTW News)

Scientists are exploring centuries-old paintings from colonial-era Mexico, searching for clues to find out more about the artwork. We visit the National Museum of Mexican Art for a meet-up of art and science.

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Bisa Butler. “Southside Sunday Morning,” 2018. Private collection. © Bisa Butler. (Photo by Margaret Fox)

History, music and photography are all stitched together in a show at the Art Institute of Chicago. We visit the pandemic-delayed exhibition “Bisa Butler: Portraits” to get the story behind these Technicolor textiles.