Field Museum of Natural History
Field Museum of Natural History.
|Location:||1400 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL|
|Architect:||Daniel H. Burnham & Co.; Burnham Graham & Co.|
|Architectural style:||Classical Revival|
|NRHP Reference#:||75000647 |
|Added to NRHP:||September 5, 1975|
The Field Museum of Natural History (shortened to Field Museum) is located in Chicago, Illinois, USA. It sits on Lake Shore Drive next to Lake Michigan, part of a scenic complex known as the Museum Campus Chicago. The museum collections contain over 21 million specimens, of which only a small portion are ever on display. The president of the museum is Richard W. Lariviere.
Some prized exhibits in the Field Museum include a large collection of dinosaur skeletons in the Evolving Planet exhibit, a comprehensive set of human cultural anthropology exhibits (with artifacts from ancient Egypt, the Pacific Northwest, the Pacific Islands, and Tibet), a large and diverse taxidermy collection (with many large animals, including two prized African elephants and the infamous Lions of Tsavo featured in the 1996 movie The Ghost and the Darkness), the Ancient Americas exhibit devoted to a large collection of Native American artifacts, and Sue (the largest and most complete Tyrannosaurus skeleton currently known).
The Field Museum was incorporated in the State of Illinois on September 16, 1893 as the Columbian Museum of Chicago with its purpose the "accumulation and dissemination of knowledge, and the preservation and exhibition of artifacts illustrating art, archaeology, science and history." The museum was originally housed in the World's Columbian Exposition's Palace of Fine Arts (which is today home to the Museum of Science and Industry). In 1894, the museum's name was changed to the Field Columbian Museum and, in 1905, to the Field Museum of Natural History to honor the museum's first major benefactor, Marshall Field, and to better reflect its focus on natural history. In 1921, the museum moved from its original location to its present site on Chicago Park District property near downtown, where it is part of the lakefront Museum Campus that includes the John G. Shedd Aquarium and the Adler Planetarium. From 1943 to 1966 the Museum was known as the Chicago Natural History Museum. In 2006, the Field Museum was the number one cultural attraction in Chicago but surrendered the title in 2007 to the Shedd Aquarium.
There are many permanent exhibits located at the Field Museum for the public to enjoy:
Other exhibits include sections on Tibet and China, where visitors can view traditional clothing. There is also an exhibit on life in Africa, where visitors can learn about the many different cultures on the continent and an exhibit where visitors may "visit" several Pacific Islands. The museum houses an authentic 19th century Māori Meeting House, Ruatepupuke II, from Tokomaru Bay, New Zealand. There are also a few vintage Mold-A-Rama machines that create injection-molded plastic dinosaurs collected by Chicago children.
On May 17, 2000, the Field Museum unveiled Sue, the most complete and best-preserved Tyrannosaurus rex fossil yet discovered. Sue is 42 feet (13 m) long, stands 13 feet (4 m) high at the hips and is 67 million years old. The fossil was named after the person who discovered it, Sue Hendrickson, and is commonly referred to as female, though the fossil's actual gender is unknown. The original skull, located elsewhere in the museum, was not mounted to the body due to the difficulties in examining the specimen 13 feet off the ground, and for nominal aesthetic reasons (the replica doesn't require a steel support under the mandible). An examination of the bones revealed that Sue died at age 28, a record for the fossilized remains of a T-rex.
The library at the Field Museum was organized in 1893 to meet the research needs of the museum's scientific staff, visiting researchers, students, and members of the general public interested in natural history and are an essential resource for the Museum’s research, exhibition development and educational programs. The 275,000 volumes of the Main Research Collections concentrate on biological systematics, environmental and evolutionary biology, anthropology, botany, geology, archaeology, museology and related subjects. Some highlights of the Field Museum Library include:
As an educational institution, the Field Museum offers multiple opportunities for both informal and more structured public learning. Exhibits remain the primary means of informal education, but throughout its history the Museum has supplemented this approach with innovative educational programs. The Harris Loan Program, for example, begun in 1912, provides educational outreach to children, offering artifacts, specimens, audiovisual materials, and activity kits to Chicago area schools. The Department of Education, begun in 1922, offers a challenging program of classes, lectures, field trips, museum overnights and special events for families, adults and children. Professional symposia and lectures, such as the annual A. Watson Armour III Spring Symposium, present the latest scientific results to the international scientific community as well as the public at large.
The Museum's curatorial and scientific staff in the departments of Anthropology, Botany, Geology, and Zoology conducts basic research in the fields of systematic biology and anthropology, and also has responsibility for collections management, and collaboration in public programs with the Departments of Education and Exhibits. Since its founding the Field Museum has been an international leader in evolutionary biology and paleontology, and archaeology and ethnography, and has long maintained close links, including joint teaching, students, seminars, with local universities—particularly the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Chicago
The Museum publishes four peer-reviewed monograph series issued under the collective title Fieldiana, devoted to anthropology, botany, geology and zoology. Monographs in these series are accessible via the Internet Archive.
The Field Museum of Natural History served as the setting in the 1997 horror film The Relic. Many parts of the film, though, were created with computer graphics or with sets that bear only a passing similarity to the actual museum.
A portion of Deat Beat, a novel of The Dresden Files, takes place at the museum. In one of the best-remembered moments of the series, Harry Dresden revives Sue the T-rex as a zombie and rides her into battle against a powerful necromancer.
Recreated Elephant Diorama
Animated display of ocean life during the Cambrian Period
Lifesize display of a forest from the Carboniferous Period
Recreation of Papeete street in Traveling the Pacific
Skull of Parasaurolophus
Skull of Masiakasaurus
Skeleton of Buitreraptor
Skeleton of Deinonychus
Skeleton of Rapetosaurus
Skull of Rapetosaurus
Skeleton of Giant Beaver
Skull of Daspletosaurus
Skeleton of Mamenchisaurus
The Tsavo Maneaters on display
Front view of Daspletosaurus
Skeleton of Brachiosaurus
Skeleton of Daspletosaurus
Skeleton of Menodus
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