Inside Ancient Egypt
Inside Ancient Egypt

Love History? Visiting Chicago Field Museum Is A Must

I spent about a week in Chicago and from whatever time I got off from the conference I spent exploring the city and the food. While I’ve already shared my experience of the Chicago River cruise and the Skydeck Chicago, the food posts are yet to be written. 

Another experience that I was suggested to try was visiting the Field Museum in Chicago. Being a history buff, I love visiting museums. It wasn’t on my list initially but when I read about it online, I decided to spend some hours and explore the museum. I visited the museum after getting out of Skydeck and before visiting the airport. 

So in this blog post, I’ll share my experience of an outing at Chicago Field Museum which I feel is a must for history lovers.

A 200-year-old Museum

Before I dive into the collection at the Chicago Field Museum, I’d like to talk about the history of the Field Museum itself. Usually, museums house artefacts that are centuries old, but in the case of Field Museum, the museum itself dates back to the 1890s. Yes!

Back in 1893, there was a World Columbian Exposition that was organised in Chicago to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Columbus’s visit to the “New World”. Back In the day, an editor of the Chicago Tribune suggested having a museum. Marshall Field, a local businessman came forward to fund the museum, hence the name of the museum. He donated $1 Mn along with a few others to build the museum. The museum was finally opened to the public in 1894

Field Museum's Old & New Home in 1921.
New (& current home) from 1921. Courtesy: fieldmuseum.org

The collection at the museum kept growing and soon it needed a new home. It was moved to a newer place on the shore of Lake Michigan in Grant Park. It is said that the workers used horse carts to move the artefacts to the new museum. In 1921, the museum was once again open to the public but at its new location which is also its current location. 

So yes, the Field Museum that I visited was opened in 1921 – another historic building. It has over 40 million artifacts but only a very small percentage of it is on display. Let me share my experience of visiting the Field Museum.

Chicago Field Museum is Massive

The Field Museum is one of the largest ones that I’ve visited. Though it’s just a 3-storey building, the collection it has is massive. I didn’t finish it as I had to head to the airport. And I could barely cover only a handful of displays in the time I had. So I’d strongly suggest having at least half a day if not full if you want to completely explore the museum. 

Field Museum Chicago
Field Museum Chicago

The Field Museum has some artefacts that are always on display but they also have some special exhibitions that happen around the year. During my visit, there was one on First Kings Of Europe and some documentaries too.  

So based on your interest, you can purchase the tickets. There are different options available. I choose to go for the General Admission + Exhibitions. This ticket cost me $36 and I booked it online from Tiquets

Natural History On The Main Level

You’ll mostly enter the museum from the main entrance and reach the main level. This floor houses most of the natural history collection. The main attraction here is a skeleton of Titanosaur and fighting elephantsthese elephant skins were brought in the early 1900s. Along with this, there are a couple of Totem Poles carved with a lot of animals and human faces. 

Museum of Natural History
Museum of Natural History

There are also a lot of exhibition halls that talk about animals, reptiles and amphibians. So if you’re interested in natural history, you’ll probably love this. I didn’t visit all of them though since I was short on time. 

Inside Ancient Egypt

One exhibit that I genuinely enjoyed was the Ancient Egypt one. They made an artificial pyramid with some real bricks from the burial site of Unis-Ankhthe son of Pharaoh Unis from the 5th century. It’s an experiential exhibit. This is a two-storey experience, so you go from one floor to another during your Egyptian exploration.

Everything from the rock paintings and carvings to the life in Egypt, there’s a LOT here. A lot about the life of Egyptians, and their philosophies about life and death. There are smaller exhibits that showcase the mummification process, and explain everything related to it. There are about 23 human mummies and more than 30 animal mummies in the exhibit and a wonderful place to learn about the life of ancient Egyptians. 

Inside Ancient Egypt
Inside Ancient Egypt

I was intrigued by the exhibits and the thought of the ancient Egyptians about life and death. How they celebrated each phase of life including death. The whole life after death ideology and their belief in it was quite intriguing. There’s also a statue of Sekhmet from 600 BC who is believed to be “a counterpart” of Goddess Kali from Hinduism – amazing!

This took away the entire time and I had to rush through the last few artifacts. It was an eye-opening experience and highly recommended. 

First Kings Of Europe

Frankly, I just had an hour and I had explored only about 25% of the Field Museum. Since I had bought the ticket that included exhibits, I made sure to visit at least one of the exhibits and it was the First Kings of Europe.

Another reason for me to attend this exhibit was that it was a collaborative effort of 26 museums from 11 countries. There were different types of artefacts on display from jewellery, weapons, armour and much more. The exhibit shed light on the lives of soldiers in the past and they rose the ranks to become leaders and eventually kings.

First Kings Of Europe
First Kings Of Europe

It also spoke about the cultural aspects of different kingdoms, commoners and everything related. How the “rich” showed themselves as rich and differentiated from others using clothes, jewellery and cultural practices. A lot of jewellery and cutlery that was on display grabbed my attention. 

Note: This exhibit is only until January 2024, so by the time you’re reading this, this exhibit will be over. However, as I said the Field Museum has a lot of exhibits, so whenever you’re in Chicago and plan to visit the Field Museum make sure to visit one of the exhibits at that time, I’m sure you’ll like it. 

I Wish I Had More Time 😞

My only regret is that I wasn’t able to explore the entire Field Museum due to lack of time. The museum is massive and their collection is quite interesting. For someone like me who’s only visited museums in India and learnt about Indian history, learning about Egyptians, Native Americans and Europeans was quite interesting. 

I don’t know when I’ll go back to Chicago, but if I ever do, I’ll definitely plan an entire day at the Field Museum and explore the museum completely and get mesmerised by the stories from the past. If you’re visiting Chicago ever and have slightest of interest in history you MUST plan a visit to the Field Museum.

About Atulmaharaj

A seasoned blogger and a content marketer for close to a decade now. I write about Food, Technology, Lifestyle, Travel, and Finance related posts. Blogging brings me joy and the best part is I get to read and e-meet so many amazing bloggers! PS: I'm also the founder for Socialmaharaj.com :) Favorite Quote: "Traveling is like reading a book, one who hasn't traveled, hasn't turned a page.

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One comment

  1. Interesting to read about your visit to Chicago!

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