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Exhibitions at Midway

Permanent Exhibits

A number of exhibits are permanent fixtures at Midway, such as the Battle of Midway Memorial exhibit.

Battle of Midway Memorial

SBD Dauntless aircraft at the Battle of Midway Memorial

One of the most popular attractions at Midway International Airport is the Battle of Midway Memorial exhibit. In commemoration of the sacrifice of U.S. World War II veterans at the Battle of Midway this exhibit features photographs, narratives, and three interactive video kiosks with historical accounts and a SBD Dauntless aircraft hanging from the ceiling. The exhibit provides an educational experience that raises awareness of the contributions that the pilots, engineers, and City of Chicago made to the World War II effort.

Recovered from Lake Michigan in 1991, 47 years after it had crashed during training exerices, the SBD Dauntless Dive-Bomber now hangs from the ceiling as part of the Battle of Midway Memorial exhibit. This is the same type of airplane flown by U.S. naval aviators in the Battle of Midway, which took place from June 4-7, 1942, and is generally considered to be the turning point of World War II in the Pacific.

Battle of Midway Memorial sculpture

"America" by Gary Weisman is a 9-foot tall bronze depiction of a military man during World War II. The sculpture was donated by the Union League of Chicago, a military support organization, and is on permanent display as part of the Battle of Midway Memorial exhibit.

Battle of Midway Heroes Honored at Chicago Midway Airport

U.S. Navy Joins Department of Aviation in Dedicating Battle of Midway Memorial

Chicago, June 4, 2001 - Celebrating the most important victory in navy history, today Battle of Midway veterans and other veterans of World War II joined Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, Aviation Commissioner Thomas R. Walker and Rear Admiral David P. Polatty, Commander of the United States Naval Training Center Great Lakes, in officially dedicating the new Battle of Midway Memorial located in the Midway Airport Terminal.

Chicago Midway Airport, which bares a historic and proud name, has been a symbol of progress, perseverance and community in our City's great history," said Mayor Richard M. Daley. "As we continue to look to the future, we must never forget our past. The Battle of Midway Memorial is a tribute and reminder to future generations of the men and women who fought to bring us peace and freedom. We are honored to be among these men today."

The Battle of Midway Memorial is a creation of virtual renderings and carved photographs of the Battle of Midway heroes. The interior of the Memorial is composed of two 13'x5' virtual murals that feature some of the aircraft and carriers used at Midway including the USS Yorktown, F4F Wildcat, and the TBD Devastator. The panoramic view digitally reconstructs the battle's tragedy and triumph under the leadership of Admiral Chester Nimitz, and the innovative military intelligence that ultimately changed the course of world history and won the pivotal Battle of Midway. DMAC Architecture designed the canopy and base structure for the Battle of Midway project and developed the unique process used to carve images into aluminum. The Battle of Midway Memorial, located on the ticketing level of the Midway Terminal building, was created by (art)n Laboratory.

The sacrifices our brave veterans made at the Battle of Midway, considered by many to be the turning point of the war in the Pacific, tipped the balance of naval power in favor of the United States and its allies," said Rear Admiral David P. Polatty, Commander Naval Training Center Great Lakes. "We cannot thank our Midway veterans strongly or sincerely enough for their intrepid service to their Navy and their nation. We at the Naval Training Center Great Lakes are honored to participate in this commemoration of their valor with Mayor Daley and the City of Chicago."

Midway Airport originally opened in 1927 as Chicago's Municipal Airport. After the 1942 Battle of Midway, the airport continued to play a role in World War II. It was used by the U.S. Military because of its runway capabilities and mid-continent position. Midway Airport was often the stopping point for crewmen and aircraft as they traveled from the east to west coast. In 1949, the City of Chicago officially renamed the airport in honor of the Battle of Midway.

The new Midway Airport Terminal building opened in March and is home to other works of art including a suspended sculpture of a bird in flight. The sculpture, designed by Ralph Helmick, is composed of 2,500 small cast metal sculptures of various aircraft and is located at the Ticketing Lobby. On the south end of the Ticketing Level, a large mural of glass panels by Karl Wirsum celebrates a child's fascination with flight. On the Lower Level, near baggage claim, photographs by Dawoud Bey, Kathleen Eaton and Bob Thall honor Chicago's ethnic diversity by depicting families from various Chicago communities. These works of art are made possible by The Chicago Public Art Program, which requires that 1.33% of City of Chicago construction budgets be dedicated to artwork for the premises.

Remembering the Heroes of the Beirut Bombing, Honorary Plaques

Plaques honoring six Chicago-area Marines who were among the 241 servicemen killed by the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon on October 23, 1983, are on display in Concourse C (past security). The plaques were commissioned by the USO.

Material World: A Global Family Portrait by Peter Menzel

A photographic journey of families around the world participating in everyday situations is on display in Concourse C (past security).

Rotating Exhibits

Midway is the site of revolving art and other various exhibits. Keep an eye out for new exhibits each time you visit our terminal.

Art of Science: Images from the Institute for Genomic Biology

The Art of Science: Images from the Institute for Genomic Biology (IGB) ( exhibits some of the University of Illinois research addressing significant problems facing humanity. Treating chronic human diseases, managing new and emerging pests and pathogens, and maintaining abundant and healthy food and water supplies are just a few of the big challenges being addressed at IGB. 

LOCATION: Concourse A (past security).

The Comforts of Home – After School Matters

A multi-media mural that explores the idea of the comforts of home with images that appeal to all five senses was created by gallery 37 apprentice artists associated with the After School Matters program.

LOCATION: Entrance to Concourse A (past security).

After School Matters/gallery 37

A number of murals created by gallery 37 apprentice artists associated with the After School Matters program are located in the pedestrian corridor to the CTA Orange Line station.

Make Big Plans: Daniel Burnham's Vision of an American Metropolis

An exhibit featuring illustrations, maps, and historic photos taken from the Plan of Chicago, published in 1909 by Chicago architects Daniel H. Burnham, Jr. and Edward H. Bennett. The exhibit was developed by the Newberry Library in collaboration with the Burnham Plan Centennial. The exhibit is located in the pedestrian corridor to the CTA Orange Line station.

Artistic Expression of Life in Our Chicago Neighborhoods by Hostelling International Chicago and Girl Scouts of Chicago

An exhibit of 50 paintings that portray Chicago neighborhoods and community experiences from the perspective of youth is on diplay in the CTA Pedestrian Corridor (before security).

A Different Now by Jessica Rowe

A collection of photographs taken by Jessica Rowe as part of the Midwest Photographers Project of the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Columbia College Chicago, are on display on the ticketing level between the Delta Airlines ticket counters and the Garage Center eleveator banks.