On Thursday, September 13, 2018, The Field Museum of Natural History announced a $250,000,000 fundraising campaign, “Because Earth. The Campaign for the Field Museum.” The Field Museum stated the funds raised will be spent to enable “the institution’s work to document environmental change, make the museum accessible to all audiences, and maintain its historic building on the lakefront.” The trustees had already commitments that total $201,000,000, of which $95,000,000 is for new endowments. The announcement took place last year as part of The Field Museum’s celebrations of the 125th anniversary of its foundation in the aftermath of Chicago’s first World’s Fair, the World’s Columbian Exposition (1893).
“The Because Earth campaign signals who we are as an institution: a progressive place with a mission to protect our planet and make the wonders of the word accessible to everyone,” stated Dr. Richard Lariviere, President and C.E.O. of The Field Museum. “This campaign will safeguard and support our work, from protecting the Amazon rainforest to updating our exhibitions to make them more welcoming to our visitors regardless of ability, age, and language.”
“Today, fact-based science leadership is more important than ever,” stated “Because Earth” Co-Chairman Marshall Field V. “The Because Earth campaign will enable the Field to fulfill its potential as a global leader is research and science education.”
Mr. Field added, “It’s the most ambitious funding initiative in the Museum’s history, and one to which all of our Trustees have contributed.”
A major goal of this fundraising campaign is to garner $125,000,000 for the endowment (or half the total sum the trustees hope to bring in). “An endowment is important for institutions like the Field Museum because it’s a stable reserve of funding that we’ll rely on for decades to come,” stated Field.
By the time of the announcement, the fundraising campaign had already made a mark on The Field Museum. Citadel founder Kenneth C. Griffin was an early campaign donor. Through the Kenneth C. Griffin Charitable Fund, he underwrote the creation of the “Griffin Dinosaur Experience.” This is comprised of five parts. Firstly, the installation of Máximo, a 122-foot-long replica of a Patagotitan mayorum (pronounced pat-uh-go-tie-tan my-or-um) in Stanley Field Hall. Secondly, the de-installation of the Tyrannosaurus rex SUE in Stanley Field Hall and re-installation (in a different stance that reflects scientific knowledge gained after she was originally installed) in a new gallery in The Griffin Halls of Evolving Planet. Thirdly, the traveling exhibit Antarctic Dinosaurs opened at The Field Museum on Friday, June 15, 2018 and ran through Sunday, January 6, 2019. [It will now go to the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles, where it will be on display from Thursday, May 23, 2019 through Sunday, January 5, 2020.] Fourthly, The Griffin Halls of Evolving Planet received enhancements. Fifthly, The Field Museum developed a new dinosaur educational program.
Under a new initiative, The Field Museum had the text of exhibit labels for both Máximo and SUE in Spanish, as well as English. The institution further stated both exhibits “include multi-sensory experiences for museum visitors with different abilities.”
The Field Museum stated, “In addition to enabling the Field to create new exhibitions and revitalize its classic ones, the campaign will support research and conservation programs to help the Field document environmental change and fight for sustainable communities.”
“We are at a crucial point in our history in which we must take action to defend our planet,” stated Dr. Lariviere. “The Field Museum can and will play a major part in this fight, and this campaign will equip us with the resources we need to do so. I’m grateful to our trustees and donors for helping make all this possible. ‘Because Earth is a rallying cry in our community to ensure the Field Museum thrives and makes a difference for years to come.”