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The Chicago Traveler

The Field Museum

by Matt B on April 14th, 2008

field museum

The most popular cultural attraction in Chicago is the Field Museum of Natural History. Sitting along Lake Shore Drive and Lake Michigan, it is part of the Museum Campus along with the Adler Planetarium and the Shedd Aquarium.

field museumAfter the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893, people wanted to create a permanent museum to hold many of the scientific and technological exhibits that had been on display. The Columbian Museum of Chicago was built in Jackson Park with the purpose of 'accumulation and dissemination of knowledge, and the preservation and exhibition of objects illustrating art, archaeology, science and history.' (–FieldMuseum.org) In honor of Marshall Field, the Museum's first major benefactor (donating one million dollars), it was renamed the 'Field Columbian Museum' in 1894. In 1905, the museum was renamed again to the 'Field Museum of Natural History.'

In 1921, the contents of the Field Museum were transferred to its current building, which was much closer to the city's center. Its neighbors, the planetarium and aquarium, would open just nine years later.

field museum sue tyrannosaurus rexThe Museum's claim to fame is Sue, the most complete and best-preserved Tyrannosaurus Rex fossil yet discovered. She is 42 feet (13 m) long, stands 13 feet (4 m) high (at the hips), and is 67 million years old. Her body sits on the main floor in the center of the museum, while her skull is on display on the second floor. (It was too heavy to mount on the skeleton, so a replica skull sits in its place.) Visitors can watch videos of the skeleton's restoration as well as animated CAT scans of her skull.

The ground floor is also home to the 'Underground Adventure,' where visitors get to feel what it would be like to be the size of a penny and live in soil. Insects and dirt look a lot different when you're only an inch tall!

field museum mummyThe Field Museum hosts a Native American exhibit, complete with totem poles, traditional outfits, and a Pawnee Earth Lodge. Several animals are on display in Mammals of Asia, Mammals of Africa, and others. Sections of the museum are dedicated to Tibet, China, Africa, and the Pacific Islands. Inside Ancient Egypt glimpses into the life of ancient Egyptians with 23 mummies on display, 5,000-year-old hieroglyphs, and a recreation of the tomb of Unis-Ankh, the son of Pharaoh Unas. Finally the Museum always has several temporary exhibits on display, usually open for 6 to 11 months.

General Admission is $14 for adults, $9 for children (ages 4-11), and $11 for students and seniors. Chicago residents pay $12, $8, and $10, respectively. Special shows and exhibits may cost extra. The Field Museum is also one of over 25 attractions whose admission is included with the Go Chicago Card. Parking is $15 per car on non-event days, higher on days when the Chicago Park District holds special events nearby. Important note: Only cash payments will be accepted in the parking lot. For directions, admission prices, and other general information, check out the website.

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field museum bushman gorillafield museum underground

Photo credit (via Flickr): espelina, abmiller99, Atelier Teee, geekoftheweek, birdfarm, karmablue, hibino, Deltasly

Field Museum of Natural History: 1400 S Lake Shore Dr; 312-922-9410
Daily: 9:00 a.m. ' 5:00 p.m.
Pay lot available
Public trans: Bus # 12, 146

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POSTED IN: Architecture & Attractions, Museums

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