MSI Chicago: Tornado & Hot Air Balloons


The Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) in Chicago wanted iconic exhibits for its new Science Storms exhibition. OMSI's "Tornado" exhibit is a dramatic centerpiece that invites visitors to play with a 40-foot vortex of swirling air and vapor, and "Hot Air Balloons" lets visitors explore convection by heating air inside giant balloons and observing the effect with thermal cameras.


Create custom iconic and popular exhibits for a heavily attended museum. Create exhibits that are memorable, highly interactive and durable for heavy use.


OMSI took classic science museum exhibits and turned them into beautiful showpieces for the client. Tornado exhibits are nothing new—OMSI uses both mist and fire versions of tornados in regular programming and classes—but a 40-foot centerpiece for a world class institution was a special challenge. OMSI designers, developers and builders worked together to create the robust and attractive final exhibit.

Custom Exhibits

To create this set of exhibits OMSI collaborated with both MSI Chicago and Science Storms' exhibit house. Material sourcing and prototyping had to be accomplished early and accurately to the project moving forward. OMSI designed and built the exhibits to visually and conceptually fit the overall exhibition and the interior space.


Through our experience supporting traveling exhibitions around the world, OMSI is accustomed to creating robust documentation, including manuals, CAD drawings and parts lists for clients and contractors. This installation and maintenance support is key to creating exhibits that are easy to set up, maintain and repair.