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A man and woman take pictures of themselves in a mirrored room filled with silver balls on the floor and hanging from the ceiling

Boost Your Instagram ‘Likes’ at WNDR Museum in Chicago

A visit to the Wndr Museum is an immersive experience of art, technology and selfies.

A floor lights up wherever you walk on it. Your shadow is in four colors, not black. A room filled with mirrors and silver balls takes you to infinity.

The wow factor is sky-high at the photogenic Wndr Museum in Chicago’s trendy West Loop neighborhood. More a modern art gallery than traditional museum, it merges art, science and technology with works by celebrated and emerging artists. Most notable–and the highlight for many visitors–is the Infinity Mirror Room by renowned Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama (pictured above).

Take pictures. Lots of pictures.

(The Wndr Museum hosted our January 2020 visit, but I paid for my admission on previous visits.)

Several people walking in a darkened room, the floor lights up in swirls as they walk
The floor lights up in intriguing patterns and colors wherever you walk on it. Photo by Francis Son

(Technically, the name is written entirely in lower case as in ‘wndr museum.’ But that distresses my spell-checker. I’m using Wndr Museum, with caps, which is confounding enough. Pronounce it ‘wonder.’)

A man and woman side by side in a purple space with curly wires cascading around them from the ceiling
Wndr Museum captivates with sight, sound and touch.

The Wndr Museum opened as a pop-up in September 2018. Ticket sales were so enthusiastic, it’s now a permanent and family-friendly cultural fixture in the city–and a quickie CTA No. 20 bus ride from downtown. The premises are revamped with a new theme and new artwork every six months or so, although some of the most popular works are retained.

Colorful shapes and swirls against a black wall
We are all artists. Create your own light show.

Each theme is called a ‘chapter’ in Wndr-speak, and the museum is now in its third chapter since its opening. The current chapter is called “The Hero’s Journey Through Wndr,” inspired by author Joseph Campbell’s “The Hero with a Thousand Faces.” Through questioning, reflection, exploration and a complimentary guide booklet, visitors are prompted to become the heroes of their own lives. 

If that sounds a little heady, no worries. Simply wander through the circuit of Instagrammable spaces and marvel at the ingenuity of it all. You’ll enter the museum through a sequin-lined tunnel. Wipe the walls with your hands and the sequins change color. 

Leave your mark on the sequined tunnel.

Near the end of the circuit is the Infinity Mirror Room where your image is reflected over and over and over. (Have your camera ready before going inside. You’re allowed only a 60-second viewing, just enough time to get several outstanding pix.)

In between are optical illusions, video screens and dazzling lightplay. Go ahead and push buttons, pose, dance, draw and scribble to discover the many delights that await.

A pixelated photo of two figures in white against a black background
This is how you will look when you are pixel-ated.

For example, the walls and floor of the women’s bathroom are lined with copper pennies. A large arrow points to a red button with the warning, ‘Do Not Touch the Red Button.’ Guess what I did? Of course, I pressed it. I won’t spoil what happened. Try it yourself if you dare.

A wall lined with copper pennies, an arrow points to a red button, the sign says do not touch the red button
Of course, I pressed the red button!

You can get through the Wndr Museum in about an hour, or you can spend much longer. Timed tickets can be purchased in advance here, which is a good idea if you’re planning to visit on a weekend. You can also buy tickets at the door, but you might have to wait to get in. (We arrived on a weekday afternoon and found no lines.) Tickets are $32. Kids ages 2 and under are free. 

Wndr Museum, 1130 W. Monroe St., Chicago IL 60607

Brick storefront entrance to the "wndr" museum
Front entrance to the Wndr Museum in Chicago’s West Loop. Photo by Francis Son

4 thoughts on “Boost Your Instagram ‘Likes’ at WNDR Museum in Chicago

  1. We loved the idea of this article. When we think about how we can best entertain our 35,000+ Instagram followers, there are always ideas bouncing around. Your suggestion of a visit to the WNDR Museum is truly spot-on.

    1. As you have probably found, many of the designed Instagrammable backdrops are temporary. WNDR is permanent, and it changes from time to time. The Infinity Room seems to be there for the long-haul.

  2. This just looks so cool. I think this goes on the list for the grandkids. And, yes, I’d definitely press the red button, too.

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