The 70-year-old Star Wars creator surprised many this week when he declined to choose San Francisco for the location. Lucas grew up in nearby Modesto, Calif., and his Lucasfilm production company is based two miles from the Golden Gate Bridge.
"[It was] the right decision for the museum, but a difficult decision for me personally because of my strong personal and professional roots in San Francisco," the director said Tuesday.
The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art will be built along Chicago's lakefront "museum campus," an area the Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum and Adler Planetarium already call home. The city was chosen for the "quality" and "unparalleled visitor access" of the 17-acre site; in addition, Lucas' wife, Mellody Hobson, grew up in Chicago, and sits on numerous boards in the city.
The museum is billed as "a gathering place to experience narrative art and the evolution of the visual image -- from illustration to cinema to digital arts," and will also display Lucas' extensive collection of art, movie posters and memorabilia.
"This is a milestone for the city," Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement. "No other museum like this exists in the world, making it a tremendous educational, cultural and job creation asset for all Chicagoans, as well as an unparalleled draw for international tourists."