Mad About Museums

From a study of the extraordinary bond between humans and horses to a fascinating look at the inner workings of the body, Chicago museums offer plenty of food for thought this month. Five exhibits worth checking out:

• Known for his abstract drawings and Surrealist-inspired paintings of off-beat characters, artist Jim Nutt (one of the original Chicago Imagists) gets his first major presentation in over a decade. Presented at the Museum of Contemporary Art,
Jim Nutt: Coming Into Character focuses exclusively on Nutt’s richly detailed portraits of female heads. Through May 29. 220 E. Chicago Ave., 312-280-2660, www.mcachicago.org.

• There’s nothing ho-hum about the International Museum of Surgical Science’s intriguing
Our Body: The Universe Within, which incorporates more than 200 organs, bodies and other specimens to explore the inner workings of the human body. Beautiful and bizarre—the seven plexiglass panels containing the cross-section of a man are not for the squeamish—the exhibit is part art, part science and totally engrossing. Through April 30. 1524 N. Lake Shore Dr., 312-642.6502, www.imss.org.

• He was president only from 1861 to 1865, but oh, what Abraham Lincoln managed to accomplish in those four years. Get a peek into the life of our 16th president with the Chicago History Museum exhibits
Abraham Lincoln and Lincoln’s Chicago, which delve into the Illinois native’s rise to the presidency, his leadership during the Civil War and his tragic assassination. Opens Feb. 12. 1601 N. Clark St., 312-642-4600, www.chicagohistory.org.

• Horses have long been considered the most important animals ever to interact with mankind (imagine the Pony Express without one). Learn why at
The Horse, a Field Museum exhibit that showcases artifacts like a full suit of armor, a 19th-century, horse-drawn fire engine and Native American ceremonial equine gear. 1400 S. Lake Shore Dr., 312.922.9410

• Drawing inspiration from the rallying cry of abolitionist Henry Highland Garnet, the DuSable Museum’s
Let Your Motto Be Resistance: African American Portraits features some 70 powerful photographs of artists, athletes and African-American leaders, including Josephine Baker, George Washington Carver and, in a portrait from 1856, abolitionist Frederick Douglass. 740 E. 56th Pl., 773.947.0600. www.dusablemuseum.org.