“The Field Museum Re-Opens”

The Field Museum of Natural History re-opened to Members on Friday, July 17, A.D. 2020 and will re-open to the public on Friday, July 24, A.D. 2020 after closing in March to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID0-19). The 17th through the 21st of July were Member Days.  Initially, The Field Museum announced on Friday, March 13, A.D. 2020, that it would be closed starting Saturday, March 14, A.D. 2020 through Sunday, March 29, A.D. 2020. 

      In accordance with guidelines issued by the State of Illinois and City of Chicago, staff members and visitors (except for babies under two) must wear masks.  The North Portico and South Portico are being used as exits, but not as entrances.  Visitors must enter through the East Entrance.  It should not be necessary to explain this to anyone from Chicagoland, but for the benefit of tourists I will explain the East Entrance is facing Lake Michigan.  Daily visitor attendance is being capped at 25% of the museum’s full capacity. 

      Paper maps are not being distributed.  Visitors with smartphones should download online maps and guides in whatever language they speak. 

      The Field Museum has installed floor markers to promote social distancing and designated one-way paths through the museum to guide the foot traffic of visitors.  The Field Museum has installed 144 new hand sanitizing stations.  Field Museum Logo Face Masks and SUE Face Masks are available to purchase online and also on site for the benefit of visitors who do not arrive wearing masks.  The housekeeping staff are rigorously cleaning The Field Museum in accordance with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (C.D.C.).  For the time being, please note that The Field Museum will not be open to the public on Tuesdays and Wednesdays so it can undergo a deep cleaning. Eventually, The Field Museum will return to being open seven days a week. 

      The Griffin Halls of Evolving Planet, the Cyrus Tang Hall of China, and Grainger Hall of Gems are open.  Inside Ancient Egypt is open, but the Mastaba on the Main Level is closed.  The Africa exhibit is open, but sections of it are closed.  The same is true of the Regenstein Hall of the Pacific.  To find out about other exhibits, click here and click on a particular exhibit.  Touch-screen interactive displays will not be available.  The Crown Family PlayLab is closed.  Some exhibit galleries that are too small to accommodate social distancing are also closed.  Jacob Shuler, The Field Museum’s Guest Relations Manager, told the Chicago Tribune’s Steve Johnson that visitors can grab takeout food at the Field Bistro on the Main Floor, but the coat check is closed.[1]

      Tickets became available for sale on The Field Museum’s Website on Thursday, July 9, A.D. 2020.   The Field Museum recommends that visitors purchase tickets online in advance to reduce the number of people in ticket lines.  Click here and select a date to begin purchasing tickets online.  During the opening week, All-Access passes purchased online are $3 off.  If one purchases a ticket online in advance, one should be prepared to show the ticket on one’s smartphone so it can be scanned. Memberships are discounted by up to 15% off.  From the 24th of July to the 9th of August, Illinois healthcare workers, teachers, and first responders will receive free admission, and their families will receive Chicago admission prices.

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – SEPTEMBER 5, 2016: Field Museum. The natural history museum in Chicago, is one of the largest such museums in the world. Figure 1 Caption This is an Adobe Stock Image. It depicts the north elevation of The Field Museum.  The North Portico is at the center.[2]  Presently, the porticos are being used only as exits, and visitors must enter through the East Entrance.

      “The Field Museum’s mission is to build a brighter future rich in nature and culture, and we’ve spent the past few months figuring out how we can continue to share the world with our visitors while keeping everyone safe,” stated Raymond DeThorne, The Field Museum’s Chief Marketing Officer.  “People haven’t been able to get out and travel lately, but when you come to the museum, you can explore ancient Egypt, watch a traditional Chinese shadow puppet show, stand underneath the world’s largest dinosaur, and come face to face with the world’s best-preserved T. rex.  These are the kinds of experiences you can’t get from home.  And the museum is so big, visitors can escape the heat and explore while still social distancing.”

      “Apsáaooke Women and Warriors, the Field’s first major exhibition curated by a Native [American] scholar, opened the day before the museum’s closure in March.  We’re excited to welcome people back to learn about Apsáaooke culture, told by Indigenous voices,” stated Jaap Hoogstarten, The Field Museum’s Director of Exhibitions. 

      For the sake of clarity, I should explain the American Indian tribe whom English-speakers call the Crow call themselves the Apsáaooke.  Their reservation is in Montana.  About 75% of the tribe’s members live on the reservation. Apsáaooke Women and Warriors is due to close Sunday, April 4, 2021.  This special exhibit is a joint effort of The Field Museum and the Neubaurer Collegium for Culture and Society at The University of Chicago.

      “Our first priority is the safety of our visitors and staff, so we are being cautions with our reopening plans and enacting new policies to keep everyone healthy,” stated Mr. DeThorne.  “The Field is a scientific institution, so we’ve been closely following the guidelines set out by medical experts, and we’re doing everything we can to make visiting the museum a safe, stress-free experience.”

      The Field Museum is located on the Museum Campus in the Chicago Park District’s Burnham Park, across from Grant Park in downtown Chicago.  Of the other institutions on the Museum Campus, the John G. Shedd Aquarium re-opened to the public Friday, July 3, A.D. 2020, and the Adler Planetarium remains closed. 

      An institution that combines under one roof a scientific research institution and a museum, The Field Museum has over 30,000,000 artifacts and specimens, and, at least before the COVID-19-induced closure, it employed over 150 scientists, conservators, and collections staff members.  Stefano Esposito noted in the Chicago Sun-Times, “Last month, the Field’s outgoing president, Richard W. Lariviere, announced in a letter to staff and supporters the elimination of 71 positions and the furloughing of a further 56 employees.  At the time, Lariviere said that without the revenue from visitors and space rentals, among other things, the museum faced a $30 million shortfall for 2020.”[3]  For context, in May the Adler Planetarium laid-off 120 full-time and part-time employees[4] and the Museum of Science and Industry laid-off eighty-four full-time employees.[5]      

      Click here to make a one-time donation of $10, $25, or $50 or another amount or on a monthly basis.

      As I explained in April, The Field Museum announced after an eight-month-long search that Julian Siggers, Ph.D. will become the next President and Chief Executive Officer in September. Two years ago, The Field Museum celebrated the 125th anniversary of its foundation in the wake of Chicago’s first World’s Fair, the World’s Columbian Exposition (1893). 

      Normally, it is open 364 days a year (every day but Christmas Day).  It remains open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., with the last admission time at 4:00 p.m. 

      The address is 1400 South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, Illinois 60605.  The phone number is (312) 922-9410.  The Website U.R.L. is https://www.fieldmuseum.org/.

ENDNOTES


[1] Steve Johnson, “On reopening day at Field Museum, members find new procedures and some very old friends,” Chicago Tribune, 19 May, 2020 (https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/on-reopening-day-at-field-museum-members-find-new-procedures-and-some-very-old-friends/ar-BB16SItV) Accessed 07/22/20

[2] The Field Museum’s entrance pavilions are at opposite ends of Stanley Field Hall, which has a north-south axis.  The two porticos (porches) are each reached by two successive flights of stairs.  Each portico is tetrastyle in antis with double-ranked fluted Ionic columns capped by volutes.  An entablature crowned by a pediment rests atop the columns.  The wave-theme acroteria that crown the pediments are borrowed from the Palace of Fine Arts, which housed The Field Museum until 1920 and now houses the Museum of Science and Industry. 

[3] Stefano Esposito, “Field Museum reopens July 17,” Chicago Sun-Times, 9 July, 2020 (https://chicago.suntimes.com/2020/7/9/21318871/coronavirus-pandemic-shutdown-field-museum-re-opening-july-17) Accessed 07/22/20

[4] Stefano Esposito, “Adler Planetarium lays off 120 employees,” Chicago Sun-Times, 14 May, 2020 (https://chicago.suntimes.com/2020/5/14/21258846/adler-planetarium-lays-off-120-employees) Accessed 07/22/20

[5] Stefano Esposito, “Museum of Science and Industry cuts 84 jobs,” Chicago Sun-Times, 27 May, 2020 (https://chicago.suntimes.com/entertainment-and-culture/2020/5/27/21271759/chicago-museum-of-science-and-industry-layoffs) Accessed 07/22/20

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