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.
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.
There is surprisingly a lot of open space from the park and lakeshore around the museum with a few items outside.
The entrance process was efficient for the 12 people in line (I know, it is really bizarre these days), so in I went.
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.
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.
Room of Gems
Mind blowing collection of gemstones and jewelry. Worth millions and millions.
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.
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.
A series of halls highlighting aspects and cultures of the Pacific islands. Very well made dioramas.
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.
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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