Founded in 1982 by Bruce DuMont, the goal of the Museum of Broadcast Communications (MBC) is to collect and present radio and television content from the past and present. This non-profit organization works to inform, educate and entertain the public with its various exhibits, programs, archives and screenings.
One of only three museums in the United States that is dedicated to broadcast history, the MBC boasts a plethora of artifacts and memorabilia that have nationwide application, as well as those that are unique to Chicagoland. The MBC facility includes the National Radio Hall of Fame gallery, which has been affiliated with the museum since 1991.
Not to Miss at the Museum of Broadcast Communications
Exhibits in the Museum of Broadcast Communications may change, but the standard collection can be counted on to conjure up fond memories of the way communication has developed. The archives of more than 85,000 hours of broadcasting (radio, television and commercials) are located on the first floor. The second floor contains various artifacts and interesting objects collected from broadcasts, especially those from Chicago.
Memorabilia to see in the museum’s collection includes:
- Oprah’s Door—through which she made her famous entrance on her television shows
- Original Mortimer Snerd, Effie Klinker, and Charlie McCarthy ventriloquist puppets
- Bozo’s Circus—costumes, wigs, set props and other paraphernalia
- Working television weather desk with green screen
- Authentic, historic television cameras, radio microphones and other equipment
- Svengoolie Exhibit–housing key elements made famous by the horror movie show begun in the 1970s
Museum of Broadcast Communications Amenities
Services and features of the Museum of Broadcast Communications include:
Games, books, CDs, DVDs, and exclusive logo souvenirs (keychains, pencils and the like) related to the MBC and the National Radio Hall of Fame. Bozo the Clown, I Love Lucy, Leave It To Beaver, and The Lone Ranger are all part of the story that visitors can take home from the gift shop. Visitors who are feeling a bit nostalgic can pick up a classic metal lunchbox featuring The Beverly Hillbillies, just for old times’ sake.
The MBC offers a special collection of posters from years past including familiar shows and people such as: Lassie, Seinfeld, Harold Washington (Chicago’s first African American mayor), Gary Coleman, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and various iconic characters from Chicago’s own station, WGN.
- MBC is accessible to persons with disabilities, including space for wheelchairs. Wheelchairs are not available on site.
- Self-service coat check is available before entering the museum. Persons with valuables may pay to check items at the front desk and proceeds go to the museum.
Museum of Broadcast Communications Nearby Attractions
Because a visit to the Museum of Broadcast Communications is not likely to take a full day, you’ll have some time on your hands to work in other attractions that are nearby. Consider these landmarks and activities to add enjoyment to your day in Chicago:
- Chicago Architecture Center, just across the river at 111 E Wacker Street, featuring a museum and dozens of tours departing daily
- Tribune Tower, a French Gothic skyscraper located at 435 Michigan Avenue
- The Wrigley Building, a 1920s historical building at 400 Michigan Avenue, with an iconic clock tower hovering 425 feet above the level of the street
Getting to the Museum of Broadcast Communications
360 North State Street, Chicago IL 60654-5411
Located just north of the river, getting to MBC is most convenient by car, walking or public transportation.
Standard Parking is the nearest available garage, located just diagonal from the museum at 401 North State Street
CTA bus routes that accommodate the museum include bus routes 29, 36, and 62 all stop at the entrance of MBC. The CTA Red Line serves Grand station or State & Lake station within just a few blocks of the museum.
When to Go to the Museum of Broadcast Communications
The Museum of Broadcast Communications is open Tues-Thurs 10am-6pm; Fri-Sat 10a,-5pm; Sun 12noon-5pm; closed Mondays. The last admission to the museum is an hour before closing. MBC is closed on major holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day).
Saturday and Sunday are high volume business days, making it more convenient if visitors choose to purchase their tickets in advance as it may expedite the entry process. Visiting on a weekday morning is likely to be the least busy time.
Museum of Broadcast Communications Insider Tips
Ask for admission discounts for Seniors (65+), Students, Educators, and Military.
When changing exhibits, the museum may be closed for several weeks at a time. Be sure to check the website prior to planning your visit.