Friday, November 29, 2013

Wonders of the 1893 World's Fair at the Field Museum

One of my favorite museums in the world is Chicago's very own Field Museum. I've been visiting since I was a kid myself, and entering into the grand hall, where Sue the Dinosaur lives, still fills me with a sense of excitement. Even better now is sharing this excitement with my kids. We visit the museum every couple of months or so, but this week our main goal was to visit the Opening the Vaults: Wonders of the 1893 World’s Fair exhibit, which takes visitors back to 1893, to the World’s Colombian Exposition - one of the greatest events in the history of Chicago and the U.S.  



Here's a hint: Before you go, make sure to download the Field Museum's new app, which will give you access to  behind-the-scenes stories that bring Museum objects to life through augmented reality, audio clips, imagery, videos, and appearances by Museum scientists - all at the touch of your fingertips. You can also follow a themed tours, or create your own customized experience by selecting just the objects you want to see.




I really liked using the app to learn more about some of the more iconic objects at the museum, like the Totem Poles in Stanley Field Hall, the Grand Hall. 



Did you know that the Field Museum was founded to commemorate the Fair and that its original collection was made up mostly of objects that were on display at the Fair? The Wonders of the 1893 World's Fair exhibit features more than 200 artifacts and specimens from our city's unforgettable fair, including memorabilia, such as one of the financial ledgers and tickets, Peruvian mummies, 3D printed replicas of figurines found inside one of the mummy bundles, and instruments from the gamelan played at the Javanese village on the Fair’s Midway. I enjoyed reading and learning more about the exhibits at the World's Fair while the kids enjoyed seeing a giant squid looming over our heads, playing some instruments that were introduced to world audiences for the first time at the fair, and looking into the toothy grin of a taxidermied lion. 

Here's an interesting fact I learned: the fair welcomed over 25 million visitors, when America's population hovered around only 67 million. People even took out second mortgages on their home to be able to finance a trip to the fair!


We enjoyed a nice lunch at the Field Museum's newest cafe, the Field Bistro, which features locally grown products, prepared and served to order in an open kitchen format. We sat at a small table overlooking Sue and enjoyed pumpkin ginger soup accompanied by a locally sourced cheese plate with dried fruits and nuts while a pterodactyl flew overhead. I was so impressed with both the quality of the food and the kind service at the Field Bistro. 
The Field's Bistro offers great food with an unbeatable view of the museum. 
Photo: Lunch under the pterodactyl
It's not everyday that you can dine with a pterodactyl flying overhead
Afterwards we hit two of our all-time favorite exhibits: The Ancient Americas and Inside Ancient Egypt. My daughter is currently interested in Mummies, so she especially loved seeing the sarcophagi and mummies of people and even their pets (23 human mummies are on display here). My son who breezed through Rick Riordan's Kane Chronicles and knows a thing or two about Egyptian mythology, also always appreciates this exhibit. 

The holidays are a great time to visit the Field Museum, when the grand hall is decked out in lights and wreaths. That said, be sure to arrive early and consider purchasing a membership before you go, so you can breeze through the members' line and have your coat checked for free. 

For more information on the Field Museum, or to plan your visit, head over to www.FieldMuseum.org

post signatureI was selected for this opportunity by Clever Girls Collective, however all content and opinions expressed here are my own.

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