Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago 2020

The Field Museum was incorporated in 1893 to hold various exhibits from the Columbian Exposition. The exhibits were held until the 1920s in the building that became the Museum of Science and Industry.

The massive building in the Neoclassical style contains an amazing collection of natural history items. It includes multitudes of specimen holotypes, the most "pure example" that others are measured against to see if they are of a species.

Its only real competition in the world is considered the American Museum in NYC, and the Smithsonian in D.C. Having been to all of them, I feel the Field is the clear winner. It takes truly more than a day to see the museum, and a lifetime to absorb.

The Arrival

I walked to the museum across Grant Park, then down the lakeshore, enjoying amazing views of the city as fall was taking hold. I have never walked to the museum before, but it's really not a bad stride. It's quite imposing and impressive. The old entrance used to be on the south side on the first floor, but now it's only on the east side on the ground level.

The Grounds

There is surprisingly a lot of open space from the park and lakeshore around the museum with a few items outside.

Olmec head, lazing around America since 900 A.D. On the lake since 1893

Entrance

The entrance process was efficient for the 12 people in line (I know, it is really bizarre these days), so in I went.

One of the first things you see when you enter the museum proper

Egypt

Boasting an expansive Egyptian collection, it's usually my first stop. They have a recreation of a temple on the first floor that brings you down into the burial shaft, but that was closed up because it's too tight to safely navigate with Covid restrictions. So you enter an alternate way into the burial shaft through a long-ago looted mummy site built here.
Robbers did not get everything.  This is accurate to how the tomb was discovered Items found in other digs This particular mummy fared much better
Thousands of years old yet in incredible shape.  I honestly wish I had the means to collect such things A very interesting attempt by me to panorama the book of the Dead.  Click on it for a much more impressive view As you walk through the area it seems you begin to travel through time
Improvements and artistic stylings coming more into play for funerals So much alabaster Personal items that you need to continue your journey through the universe
The Greeks continued the traditions into 30BC As a caretaker of a few cats, I've always known they have considered themselves gods.

Main Hall

The rest of the ground floor is primarily an underground biology exhibit that is an extra cost and I skipped it this time around. It was time to go up to the Main Hall and then start checking out some more natural items.

Room of Jades

The Field has an astounding collection of jades from the new world and the old. It's very interesting what people have done with them in different times and cultures.
The softness and glow lends itself to intricate designs
In natural form

Room of Gems

Mind blowing collection of gemstones and jewelry. Worth millions and millions.
Alarms abound
Rubies, the Sapphire's red cousin Sapphires.  Stunning and deep catching the fire of this opal was a challenge, but wow... I like these
Emeralds, almost always occluded While not my thing, this is one impressive stone Tanzanite is so deep, I'm thinking of getting some now
For the ladies, Diamonds in abundance

Upper Hallway

Along the walkways on the upper level, there are many displays of various minerals, entrances to themed halls, statues, and places for things that didn't have a dedicated hall.
Rocks from above Full collection of minerals and crystals and more Before Tibet was a political hot button

Dinosaurs and Mammals

My favorite as a kid, and I still love it, the Dinosaurs. Part of the evolution on earth hall, they are my highlight, and they have the best examples around.
The bestest, largest, most complete T-rex ever Doesn't seem amused with us
Look at that Sheila!

Polynesia

A series of halls highlighting aspects and cultures of the Pacific islands. Very well made dioramas.
Hawaii The south pacific I wish I was really there right now instead
Papeete, Tahiti.  Someday

Apsaalooke Exhibition

The Apsaalooke, or the Crow people originally from Ohio, were pushed constantly westward by other tribes until settling primarily in Montana. Eventually, they were forced onto reservations. They have proven to be very adaptable and ingenious peoples who have 'gone with the flow' for hundreds of years.
Yep, actually used TeePees Traditional dress Beadwork that became very popular after contact with Europeans
Each shield, being looked over by a powerful woman of the tribe, was a warrior's charm and magic in battle.  Unique to the protections he had earned via his natural totems Still adapting and integrating while maintaining their core.  Resilient to a very admirable degree

Summary

A fabulous and - I think - the best Natural History museum in the world. The shops all around the museum have tons of interesting things. While parts of the museum were closed, it really wasn't from Covid, it was to do construction and updates on them during low visitation times. If there were 30 people in the museum, I would be shocked. You have the run of the place.



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Chicago 2020 - Posted: 2021-01-21
Museum of Science and Industry - Posted: 2020-11-19