Ken Griffin gives the Museum of Science and Industry a bad name

The Museum of Science and Industry, at 5700 South Lake Shore Drive, is now the Kenneth C. Griffin Museum of Science and Industry, named after the billionaire CEO of Citadel.

Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Let’s set aside that Ken Griffin is an ultra-conservative GOP mega-donor who has actively lobbied against increasing taxes on the wealthy. And that he regularly advocates for anti-labor policies in a union town. And that he abandoned our city long ago by closing Citadel’s Chicago offices and selling his high-rise condos. Let’s instead focus on the obnoxious idea that a wealthy man can buy the name of one of our city’s greatest institutions.

For decades, the Museum of Science and Industry has played an important role in the city’s and the nation’s history by being a remnant of the World’s Columbian Exposition and host to a captured World War II U505 submarine.

The museum has also been an important part of growing up in Chicago, from the baby chicks to the whispering gallery to the coal mine and the city-wide science fair.

And now Ken Griffin wants to own all of that by slapping his name on something that he didn’t create or work for. Imagine if the British Museum, or the Louvre, or the Uffizi, or the Deutsches Museum (which inspired the MSI), sold their names to the highest bidder.

The MSI belongs to all of us; the visitors, the members and most importantly, the employees who are its lifeblood. If Ken Griffin can rename the MSI, an institution that sits on public land in a public park, what’s next? The Field Museum? The DuSable Museum? The Chicago History Museum? The Art Institute? Will our entire lakefront be named after a billionaire with big riches and an even bigger ego?

Jonathan Rivera, Rogers Park

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Bearing in mind who the lakefront is for

Rick Telander’s recent column advocating expansion of lakefront land so more Chicagoans can enjoy its treasures, rather than defacing it with a behemoth domed stadium, is an excellent civic proposal that should be espoused by the leaders of the city. Unlike the proposed monstrosity by the lake, the expansion of lakefront land could be utilized by everyone, not just an affluent few.

In 1965, the newly built Houston Astrodome was touted by many as the “Eighth Wonder of the World,” yet before the end of the century it was obsolete and in the process of demolition. Closer to home, remember the clamor to replace venerable old Comiskey Park with a new stadium not too many years ago? How did that turn out?

But if the team owners and their financial brethren want to erect a grandiose pleasure dome to bolster their egos and pocketbooks, let them proceed, only don’t do it on Chicago’s inestimable lakefront — “the greatest gift ever bestowed upon Chicago” in Telander’s words.

Samuel C. Small, Rosemoor

Speaker Johnson’s ‘sham’ show

However remarkable Speaker Mike Johnson’s appearance at Donald Trump’s hush money trial might be, it is no surprise. It was Johnson’s way of thanking Trump for not supporting his ouster.

I don’t know which is more alarming, that Johnson is so beholden to Trump for saving his butt that he feels compelled to go to New York and spew the “sham of a trial” line, or the shameless display of quid pro quo between Trump and Johnson that so effectively illustrates the kind of sordid deals Trump is on trial for.

Colette Martin-Wilde, West Ridge

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