Here’s Exactly What Chicago Missed Out On By Scaring the Lucas Museum Away

The new location for the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art (Original image courtesy of SOM)

The new location for the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art (Original image courtesy of SOM)

The noisy, messy, bloody summer battles over the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art are behind us, and this is now the season for healing. George took his gift horse and rode back to San Francisco, where according to local media reports, it is being welcomed with overwhelming support.

Revised rendering of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art (Courtesy of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art)


Part of the reason the notion of the Lucas Museum failed to thrive here in Chicago is because so many people couldn’t get past the false idea that it was a “Star Wars Museum.” That cute little cliché was cooked up by museum adversaries, and like anything else in the media these days, if you tell a lie often enough it becomes the truth.

People who have never heard of American Graffiti, or are too young to even know Indiana Jones, make up the nattering, chattering classes that clog the world’s social media channels, and acted as proxy judges and juries for the project.  The internet gives thoughts, no matter how stupid, equal footing with the most intelligent of notions.   It’s no longer truth and logic that matter. It’s what’s “trending” and hashtags that shape policy.

And so with the Lucas Museum and its billion-dollar impact on Chicago’s economy firmly in the rear view mirror, we turn our attention to the San Francisco Chronicle to show us what we didn’t get. What won’t be available to the city of Chicago. Or its millions of annual visitors, with their billions in disposable income.

Frederick Remington's "Call the Doctor."  Not yours.  Can't has.

Frederick Remington’s “Call the Doctor.” Not yours. Can’t has.

Whether you were a friend of foe of the Lucas Museum, it’s worth checking out Charles Desmarais’ piece in the west coast rag. He’s the first person outside of the Lucas organization to see what was really being offered to Chicago.

So now while people in San Francisco contemplate the work of Norman Rockwell, Beatrix Potter, and Frederick Remington, we can contemplate a fat guy tailgating shirtless in 30-degree weather, crimson frostbit nipples contrasting with the Bears blue paint he slathered across his chest, bratwurst dangling from an oversized barbecue fork in one hand, and a can of defiantly warm Milwaukee’s Best in the other, belching the primal call of the Friends of the Parks: “Woooooooooooo!”


Location: 1 Avenue of the Palms, Treasure Island

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at

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