Neon and Light Museum shines in Chicago

Fri. September 3, 2021 12:00 AM
by Jerry Nunn

A new Neon and Light Museum is brightening up Chicago with an immersive exhibition opening on Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021, at 325 W. Huron Street with a limited eight-week run.

Neon lights are named after a noble gas that creates an orange light. The other colors are made with hydrogen for red, mercury for blue, helium for yellow and carbon dioxide for white. These chemical elements are all placed inside electrified glass tubes and sealed. These gas discharged lights are quite popular to mold into signs and used in decorative lamps.

Neon lights were popular way back in the '20s, eventually resurging in the '80s. They are quickly making a comeback in current times for mood lighting as more of the population stay indoors these days. Neon artists have forged their way into producing unforgettable work over the years.

Thanks to the director and curator Ken Saunders, a Neon and Light Museum is now housed on the first floor of the space that formerly Nacional 27 in a carved-out, large open area.

There are 15 artists mixed into the River North museum with a variety of styles to contribute to the project.

John Bannon's Breathe stands out as a 14-foot tall sculpture hanging towards the front of the room.

Visitors can surround themselves with the light displays throughout the exhibition. Photo opportunities and plenty of nostalgia are all part of the experience. The artists make quite a statement as a collective with Saunder bringing his overall vision to life. It was originally presented by him in his Ken Saunders Gallery before it was expanded in this museum.

Visit to make a reservation. There is a current limit of 60 people per hour with VIP options possibly on the horizon. Hours are Thursday and Friday 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m and Sunday also opening at 11 a.m. and closes earlier at 6 p.m.

Depending on popularity and timing, look for possible extensions on the website past its eight-week run. The future of this museum is so bright that you might want to wear shades!