Uta Staley

Chicago Humanitarian Uta Staley

A member of the Midtown Tennis Club, the Museum of Science and Industry, the Newberry Library, and the Women’s Athletic Club of Chicago, Uta Staley enjoys reading, music, travel, dance, and the arts. As a fan of symphony and classical European music, especially Beethoven, as well as Impressionist art, Uta Staley supports the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Art Institute of Chicago. In addition, she belongs to the Chicago Botanic Garden, the Huntington Library in San Marino, the Adler Planetarium, and the Alliance Française of Chicago.

Originally from Germany, Uta Staley has been an American citizen for more than 40 years. Now retired, she previously worked in the travel industry, and continues to travel extensively. She also enjoys contributing to the Ethiopian community in Africa and the United States. A member of the Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago, she has provided educational and financial support to families and children in Ethiopia, and sponsored and supported Ethiopian students at American universities.

Tips for the Solo Traveler

A retired professional in the tourism industry, Uta Staley draws on extensive experience as an international traveler. Born and educated in Germany, Uta Staley enjoys going abroad whenever possible.


Traveling alone can be an ideal way to meet like-minded people and explore the world on your own terms. As a solo traveler, you can plan an itinerary based on your own interests and without worry that your decisions may disappoint your companion. The key to a successful solo trip is the ability to take advantage of these opportunities, while minimizing the extra costs that you may incur in traveling without a cost-sharing partner.

If you enjoy group tours, you may be able to avoid “single supplements” by booking with companies that match roommates or by seeking out reasonably priced single rooms. You might also save by booking the last available space on a tour, which the company may incentivize by dropping the supplemental charge.

If you prefer to set your own itinerary, however, safety may be your more salient concern. As a solo traveler, you may be less obvious to those who prey on tourists, but you are also more susceptible once identified as a visitor. Experts recommend that you stay secure by staying in public places, particularly at night, and by making sure someone at home knows your itinerary.

Sites for Beethoven Aficionados in Vienna

A travel professional for 25 years, Uta Staley enjoys visiting destinations across Europe. A classical music aficionado, Uta Staley names Beethoven as her favorite composer.

Ludwig von Beethoven spent the majority of his life in Vienna, where he moved at the age of 22 and would spend the next 35 years living in more than 60 different residences, many of which have become places of homage for visitors. The Pasqualati House, located at Moelker Bastei 8, is well preserved as the place where Beethoven spent many a winter. It contains the piano that he used to create his famous Fifth Symphony, and it includes a number of personal items as well.

Close to the Pasqualati House is the Zum Schwarzen Kameel, where Beethoven frequently drank and from which he often ordered wine, sugar, and coffee when he was busy working and unwilling to venture outdoors. Visitors may also venture to the Theater an der Wien, where he premiered the Fifth Symphony as well as a number of other works, or to the ballrooms at the Hofburg Palace, where he premiered three other symphonies and performed for masked balls. The composer lived to the end of his days in Vienna and is interred next to Franz Schubert in the Zentralfriedhof.

Roots of the Impressionist Movement

An experienced travel professional, Uta Staley has explored art and culture across Europe and beyond. Uta Staley maintains a particular fondness for the work of the Impressionists.

Known for its emphasis on the emotional and sensory effects of art, Impressionism officially began in Paris in 1874. In that year, a collective known as the Anonymous Society of Painters, Sculptors, Printmakers, Etc. organized an exhibition designed to communicate their disagreement with the traditional juried Salon and the Academie de Beaux-Arts. Members of the Anonymous Society came together to assert their right to their own individual styles, though they ultimately also became known as the founders of a movement.

The founders of the Anonymous Society all shared a distaste for the rigorous standards of the Academie, which upheld the realist traditions of the time. Bright colors, light brushstrokes, and softer detail met with their rejection, as did the landscapes and scenes of daily life that the Society's members tended to favor. When these artists, whose numbers included Renoir and Cezanne as well as Monet and Sislet, displayed their own work, critics regarded it as an unfinished aesthetic.

These critics used the title of Monet's '”Impression Sunrise” to describe the work. Although meant to be derisive, the word “Impressionist” soon became the name of an entire movement.

Voyages of Discovery at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry

After successful careers in travel sales and then investment, Uta Staley supports various institutions in her retirement. Among Uta Staley’s favorite philanthropic recipients is Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry, located on South Lake Shore Drive.

Since opening in 1933, the museum has served some 180 million visitors. Many who attend enjoy the Museum’s library of Omnimax wide-screen films. Among the available presentations are:

- Nature films: Born to Be Wild highlights rescuers of parentless elephants and orangutans. Flight of the Butterflies traces the journey of monarchs as they journey to distant mountains in Mexico. Viewers of The Last Reef get a front-row seat on these elaborate underwater ecologies.

- Adventure films include Everest, a story of climbers who proceeded upward despite tragedy. Grand Canyon Adventure goes down the Colorado River and shows the problems of shrinking water supplies.

- Science programming consists of Wired to Win, an exploration of Tour de France cyclists’ brain activity, and Tornado Alley, a look at scientists facing danger as they research twisters. Hubble chronicles discoveries of the renowned space telescope.

- Historical material, such as D-Day: Normandy 1944, provides new perspectives on a critical moment in World War II.

Reservations for groups of 50 or more must be made at least 14 days in advance.