The Field Museum of Natural History, born out of the ashes of the Chicago Fire, is more than meets the eye. In fact, it’s an absolute marvel. For all of the things you see as you enter Stanley Field hall and wave hello to Sue, there’s literally millions more that you won’t see. And while I’ve always been in awe of the amazing exhibits on display, I’ve always been even more excited about the few times I’ve gotten to go behind the scenes.
The Field Museum would be fantastic simply as a place to observe. Visitors can see the lions of Tsavo, the most complete T-Rex skeleton ever found, thousands of artifacts from Ancient Egypt, Africa, and the Americas as well as tribal artifacts from the native nations that resided here first. And all of it pales in comparison to the things you don’t see every day. I’ve been lucky enough to visit that world, both on member’s nights like the one I wrote about in my first weeks at 3CR and during Dozin’ with the Dinos. The Field Museum is home to over 30 million specimens, each a unique look at the world in all its wonderful diversity.
It’s also a living, breathing place filled with scientists trying to describe that world in concrete terms. Resident scientists, curators, interns and visiting scholars all flock here to study specimens and help advance science. The Field represents a place where some of the world’s largest collections are, as well as a place where there are completely unique items that have literally never been seen anywhere else, and it’s an institution that is more than happy to share that information with anyone who wants to learn.
That’s one of the big reasons that the Field recently decided to go inside out with its “Specimens: Unlocking the Secrets of Life” exhibit. The exhibit, which opened Friday, brings visitors up close and personal with some of the museum’s many collections, as well as a look at what the scientists do with them. Some of my favorite parts of the exhibit included the photography along the way that showed scientists hard at work all the way back to the institution’s World’s Fair roots and the tribute to William Stanley, one of the Field Museum’s friendliest faces and a leading scientist that passed away suddenly on a field research trip last year.
The Specimens exhibit is exciting for so many reasons, and I recommend it heartily. It’s a great way to see science in action and inspire younger generations to get interested in STEM fields, it gives those who have been frequenting the Field for years a chance to see things they otherwise may not have, and it brings to the forefront the family of scientists and researchers who continue to bring science to life.
Specimens is a special exhibit requiring a separate entry ticket and will run at the Field Museum through Sunday, January 7th, 2018. For more information, click this link.