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May 03, 2012

A Picture-perfect Visit

IMG_1012Last week, Scott McMurry finally received the long-lost postcard his mother sent from Shedd Aquarium in 1957. On Thursday, the Virginia man was welcomed to Shedd for a whirlwind first-time visit courtesy of the aquarium and its partners, Swissôtel Chicago and United Airlines–the official airline of Shedd Aquarium.

Mr. McMurry graciously answered questions from reporters during a press conference in front of the Caribbean Reef exhibit (which did not exist in 1957), showing off the card with the color photo of a pre-Abbott Oceanarium Shedd and the prophetic message, “We’ll probably be home before this gets there!” Then he visited one attraction his parents most likely saw, Granddad, the Australian lungfish who has been at Shedd since 1933, or eight years before Mr. McMurry was born.

After a behind-the-scenes tour of the original galleries, the soft-spoken retired historian fascinated his hosts during a private lunch, recounting some of his world travels, mainly nature-oriented expeditions and snorkeling adventures that have contributed to his impressive knowledge about aquatic wildlife. He was eager to see the Jellies special exhibit, the marine mammals and Wild Reef—the last perhaps providing some inspiration for the trip to Indonesia he hopes to take.

Mr. McMurry also received a copy of Shedd Aquarium, our hardcover history book, and a vintage edition of Guide to the John G. Shedd Aquarium, which represents the aquarium and animal collection much as his parents would have seen them. As he strolled through one of the aquarium’s gift stores, he was asked if he planned on mailing postcards home. “I think I’ll take them with me,” was his good-natured reply.

Posted by Karen Furnweger, web editor

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