The Field Museum
Mayor Carter Harrison Sr. appointed a committee to organize the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago
COLUMBIAN MUSEUM OF CHICAGO
A charter was created by the State of Illinois to incorporate the Columbian Museum of Chicago
The museum opened in its original location in Jackson Park on June 2
Trustees changed the museum’s name to the Field Museum of Natural History, honoring entrepreneur Marshall Field after his generous endowment, and sought a new location
Construction on the new Field Museum began in the chosen location at Grant Park
The present-day Field Museum of Natural History opened to the public on May 2
The largest and most complete Tyrannosaurus rex specimen in existence, named Sue, was added to the Field Museum
The Field Museum’s bathrooms were voted the best in the country
The Field Museum celebrated its centennial at the present-day Grant Park location
The Field Museum of Chicago - Grand Beaux Arts Building on the Lakefront Turns 100.
The first home of the illustrious Field Museum was a fine Greek-style building left over from the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. The organizers of the Exposition hit on the idea to purchase some of the most impressive event exhibits and use them to found a world-class museum for Chicago. However, by 1905 the “leftover” Exposition building was deteriorating. The Board of Trustees started raising funds and seeking a new location.
Made of White Georgian Marble
With some difficulty a site was agreed on and secured. Construction began in 1917, took almost six years, and cost approximately $7,000,000. The original building was made of 350,000 cubic feet of white Georgia marble and covered 20 acres of floor space. Plans to open the museum were delayed during WWI when the military asked to use it as a hospital; it was never actually used as a hospital however. On May 2, 1921, the Field Museum finally reopened to the public.
Will the Real Architect Please Stand up?
The famous architect Daniel Burnham was responsible for the initial planning of The Field Museum and included it in his famous “Plan for Chicago.” However, only a few know that the architect for The Field Museum was his associate William Peirce Anderson.
A humble but accomplished guy, Anderson was trained in architecture at Harvard and then at L’ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Due to Anderson’s modesty, it’s often overlooked that he was responsible for designing The Field Museum, Union Station, Marshall Field & Co., the Continental and Commercial Bank, and the 1910 People’s Gas Light and Coke Company.
Inspired by the Erechtheum in Athens
The Field Museum compares favorably to some of the most famous Greek and Roman temples. Based on the original Beaux Arts designs from the World Exposition, the architectural style is inspired by the Erechtheum in Athens, the Temple of Minerva Polias at Priene, and the Pantheon at Rome. Both the magnitude of the building and the fine details that decorate its arches, colonnades, walls and ceilings are awe- inspiring.
In 2017, the grand building on the lakefront will celebrate the placement of the first building cornerstone. The centennial of its first opening date rolls around in 2021.
Did You Know?
- Over 24 million specimens and objects are stored for research use; the library contains over 275,000 books.
- The Field is home to Sue, the most complete Tyrannosaurus rex fossil ever found. It is named after Sue Hendrickson, the woman who discovered it in South Dakota in 1990.
- The Field’s fish collection is the largest in the world.
- The Field has been used in movies including, Damien: Omen II, The Relic, and Chain Reaction.
Have a centennial suggestion? Let us know!