Monday, November 11, 2013

A Day at the Field Museum // Wonders of the 1893 World's Fair

A Day at the Field Museum: Wonders of the 1893 World's Fair // Bubby and Bean

Last Wednesday, Robbie and I paid a visit to one of my favorite museums in the whole world, The Field Museum here in Chicago.  A new exhibition, Opening the Vaults: Wonders of the 1893 World's Fair, had just opened, and we were both really excited to check it out.  The exhibition takes visitors back to 1893, to the World's Columbian Exposition - one of the greatest events in the history of Chicago (and the entire United States!).  One thing I'd never realized is that The Field Museum was founded to commemorate this World's Fair, and getting to participate in the exhibition knowing this fact gave me a whole new appreciation for the museum itself.

We had both downloaded the Field Museum Tours mobile app before we arrived, and being able to use that as our virtual guide made the experience even cooler.  There were several stops within in the app (in the World's Fair exhibition itself and in other galleries as well) that provided interesting facts and additional information.  One of our favorites was at the totem poles in Stanley Field Hall, which included the raddest interactive 360 panorama. It was a very impressive way to start the tour!

Within the exhibition, we saw over 200 artifacts and specimens from every corner of the fair's grounds.  There was really cool fair memorabilia (including a financial ledger and tickets), Peruvian mummies, 3D printed replicas of figurines found inside one of the mummy bundles, instruments from the gamelan played at the Javanese village on the fair's midway (and an interactive instrument that I had way too much fun playing), murals and atmospheric projections that took us right to the fair's grounds, and much more (too much to list). There were also objects that are commonplace today but were marvels back then - like the light bulb and electricity, which had just been invented.  Pretty crazy. 

I think that for me, the most interesting realization I gained while walking through the exhibition was how much the understanding and study of cultures has changed over time.  At the 1893 World's Fair there were actual people put on display, through recreated villages and exhibits that showed other cultures in their traditional costumes and buildings. They were there to highlight the differences between non-western and western cultures, which seems strange (even shocking) in today's world.  Whereas present cultural displays aim to celebrate the creativity and diversity of all cultures, these made a point of showing how different non-westerners were.

It had been so long since the last time that either of us went to The Field Museum, so after we finished the World's Fair exhibition, we checked out several other galleries and collections.  It's always amazing to see Sue, the world's most complete Tyrannosaurus Rex.  Robbie was all about the dinosaurs, and we both loved the Evolving Planet exhibition, which showcased four billion years of life.  Ancient Egypt was another favorite (I was so smitten with all of the intricate jewelry), along with the Tibet collection.

If you live in the Chicago area or plan on visiting, I highly recommend paying a visit to the museum and checking out Wonders of the 1893 World's Fair, which runs through September 7, 2014.  We had so much fun that we're considering going back again later this month.

Have you ever been to the Field Museum?  Or have you seen any especially interesting museum exhibitions lately?

Thank you for supporting Bubby and Bean by allowing me to post occasional sponsored content. All sponsored posts feature products, services, or places that I genuinely feel would be of interest to you.  I was selected for this opportunity by Clever Girls Collective, however all content and opinions expressed here are my own.

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  1. I haven't been to the Field Museum since I was kid and at that point I probably went at least once every year. I always like the dinosaur bones. But, my favorite museum of all time would have to be The Museum of Science and Industry. I was actually just talking about how much I loved that Museum.

  2. The Field Museum is one of my favorites. I've been really into the World's Fair ever since I read Devil In The White City years ago, so this exhibit is right up my alley. (In fact, I was invited to do one of these posts, too, and I enjoyed hearing what you thought of it first!)

    Bonus fun fact: Sue the t-rex has her own Twitter account. It's pretty great.

    1. I'm going to have to track down this twitter account. Sue is a bad ass.

  3. That looks so impressive! Definitely something I would like to see. I visited the World's Fair in Hannover in Germany in 2000, which was amazing. I'm going to check Sue out on Twitter now :-)

  4. I love visiting Museums, although I haven't been to one quite like the Field Museum before! I like that it is interactive and I would love to see that Mastodon in person!

  5. This looks so neat! I wish we had museums like that here. Next time I go to Chicago I'm making sure I visit the Field museum. =)

  6. Wow, this sounds like an absolutely fascinating exhibit! I have to say, one of the things I miss most about Paris is the easy access to fascinating museums. We have nothing like this in Vancouver and it really does make me want to pack up and move to Chicago!

  7. this looks really fun. i've always thought it was have been realy cool to go to an old timey worlds fair.

  8. Thanks for your comments everybody! I highly suggest checking out the exhibition if you're in the Chicago area between now and next September!

  9. Wow, very cool! I wonder why they only did this fair once. It would be so cool to have another in today's times!

  10. Looks like a lot of fun. Whenever we get back to Chicago I'll have to put it on our list of things to do. :)

  11. I LOVE the Field museum! I've been there a few times during visits to Chicago :) The art museum in Chicago is my favorite though. I just about cried the first time I went there :P


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