February 8, 2022

Mayor Lightfoot Announces a Museum Campus Working Group

The advisory group will make recommendations for strategic investments and reimagine Chicago’s lakefront collection of iconic cultural venues and open space

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

CHICAGO – Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot today announced the creation of a working group that will develop recommendations to enhance and reimagine the visitor experience of Chicago’s lakefront Museum Campus. The campus is a 57-acre crown jewel of Chicago with premier institutions including the Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum, the Adler Planetarium, Soldier Field, and the Lakeside Center of McCormick Place. It also includes a number of parks including the 12th Street Beach, Northerly Island Park, and the Lakefront Trail. The Campus is also a top birding destination, one of the nation’s most popular recreational activities. 

"The Museum Campus is an integral part of Chicago and a huge contributor to our city's culture and economy," said Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. "In order to maximize the benefits of its valuable assets, as well as address larger issues about the campus, recommendations from dedicated and talented community leaders are absolutely necessary. I am excited to convene the Museum Campus Working Group to begin this effort and look forward to working with each of its members to maintain the vitality of our Museum Campus."  

Prior to the pandemic, tourism was a $16 billion industry, and this working group aims to further revitalize the City’s recovering tourism sector. Chicago’s economy is interconnected with tourism and to enhance the campus’s appeal as a global, year-round destination, Mayor Lightfoot brings together this distinguished group of civic leaders. Building on the work conducted by the COVID-19 Recovery Task Force, this working group will provide a set of strategic recommendations to reimagine the Museum Campus experience targeting year-round tourism and activation on the Campus.  

In addition to working with relevant City departments and sister agencies such as the Chicago Park District, the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, and the Chicago Department of Transportation, this group will also engage with local aldermen.  

“Our museum campus is an unparalleled resource to residents across the city, from football games to lakefront open space to the world-class museums that reside on the campus,” said Alderwoman Pat Dowell, 3rd Ward. “I look forward to collaborating with the working group to revitalize not only the museum campus but the neighborhoods surrounding it including areas of my ward." 

Richard Price, Chairman & CEO of Mesirow, will lead this working group in developing a set of recommendations by this summer.  

“With its history, culture and breadth of indoor and outdoor activities, Museum Campus is one of our great city’s most valuable assets,” said Richard S. Price, Chairman and CEO of Mesirow. “I am honored to chair the working group established by Mayor Lightfoot to explore its future and ensure that Chicagoans, and visitors from around the world, access and enjoy all that this lakefront destination has to offer for generations to come.” 

The Museum Campus Working Group is comprised of Chicago leaders and policymakers with experience in key issue areas to focus on outstanding cultural amenities, recreation and open spaces, athletic facilities, and transit access, and will include the following participants: 

  • Richard Price (Chair) – Chairman and CEO, Mesirow  
  • Gerald Adelmann (Open Space & Recreation Lead) – President and CEO, Openlands 
  • Michelle T. Boone (Cultural Amenities Lead) – President, The Poetry Foundation 
  • Martin Cabrera (Athletic Facilites Lead) – CEO, Cabrera Capital 
  • Darlene Hightower (Transit Access Lead) – President & CEO, MPC 
  • David Brown - School of Architecture at the University of Illinois at Chicago 
  • Bridget Coughlin – President and CEO, Shedd Aquarium 
  • Jaime di Paulo – President and CEO, Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce 
  • Karen Freeman-Wilson – CEO, Chicago Urban League 
  • Perri Irmer – CEO of DuSable Museum, President of Museums in the Parks 
  • Juanita Irizarry – Executive Director, Friends of the Parks 
  • Michelle Larson – President and CEO, Adler Planetarium  
  • Jack Lavin – President and CEO, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce 
  • David Narefsky – Partner, Mayer Brown 
  • Lou Raizin – President, Broadway in Chicago 
  • Bob Reiter – President, Chicago Federation of Labor 
  • Gary Rozier – Managing Director, Oak Street Real Estate CapitalL 
  • Bonnie Sanchez-Carlson – President, Near South Planning Board 
  • Allen Sanderson – Senior Instructional Professor in Economics, University of Chicago  
  • Julian Siggers – President and CEO, Field Museum 
  • Sam Toia – President and CEO, Illinois Restaurant Association 
  • Amanda Williams – Distinguished Visiting Professor, School of the Art Institute Chicago 
  • Bob Wislow – Chairman and CEO, Parkside Realty, Inc.