Immersive art exhibit at Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum showcases “Wilds of Chicago”

Immersive art exhibit at Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum showcases "Wilds of Chicago"


CHICAGO (CBS) — The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum is hosting a new immersive art exhibit showcasing the city’s natural beauty.

The exhibit called “My Journey into the Wilds of Chicago” features photos capturing Chicago’s nature scenes; everything from gardens to ponds to Lake Michigan. The photos were taken by Chicago-based photographer Mike MacDonald.

“The idea of my work is to tell stories, both photographically and through my writing, and the idea is to let people know that all this beauty and glory is in the nature preserves that are very close to the Chicago region; within from 2.5 miles from the museum out into the suburbs,” MacDonald said.

The 5,000-square-foot exhibit helps bring MacDonald’s photography to life.

“We have nine floor-to-ceiling projections, and this is such an important continuation of the mission here at the Nature Museum, which is to create positive connections between people and nature. Whether it’s our Judy Istock Butterfly Haven, or the Hawver and Lacy Families Nature’s PlaySpace, this is really an important evolution for the museum that’s brought to life not only through the incredibly beautiful artwork of might, but also through QR codes, and a variety of other ways to hear firsthand narration from Mike, and the context and stories behind these incredible images,” said the museum’s president and CEO, Erin Amico.

MacDonald said there are more native plant species within 50 miles of downtown Chicago than any national park.

“Every day from April through September, anybody listening, watching here today can find national park quality wildlife and wildflowers throughout the region; like the most beautiful scenes that you’ve seen in calendars,” he said.

Amico said the exhibit is not just about the beauty of nature, but about encouraging people to be more green, and to get involved in conservation efforts.

“We firmly believe that people have to first love something before they want to protect it. So seeing nature in this way, and realizing that this is nature that’s miles and miles away; this isn’t nature in another state, you don’t have to get on a plane to experience this. But having that passionate and immersive exhibit, with nature that’s so close to home is a key first step in wanting to protect the world around us,” she said.

The exhibit is on display at the Nature Museum through late summer. Tickets are available on the museum’s website.