"The Field Museum of Natural History" Top 5 Page for this destination Illinois Things to Do Tip by traveldave

Illinois Things to Do: 139 reviews and 248 photos


Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History is regarded by many as one of the best museums in the world for zoological, botanical, geological, and anthropological exhibits. The museum contains more than 21,000,000 specimens, only a small portion of which are on display at any one time. Among the museum's more noteworthy exhibits are Sue, the world's largest and most complete skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus rex, and the man-eating lions of Tsavo which were popularized by the book The Man-Eaters of Tsavo by John Henry Patterson, and The Ghost and the Darkness, the movie based on the book.

The museum was incorporated in 1893 as the Columbian Museum of Chicago. Its name was changed to the Field Museum of Natural History in 1905 to honor its first benefactor, Marshall Field. The museum's collections were originally housed in the Palace of Fine Arts (now the Museum of Science and Industry) until 1921, when they were moved to their present location.

The museum's building was designed by architect Daniel Burnham in the Classical Revival style of architecture. It was completed in 1921.

The Field Museum of Natural History categorizes its exhibits among Nature (plants and animals, rocks and fossils, and ecosystems) and Culture/Anthropology (Africa, the Americas, Asia/Pacific, and global themes).

Three main animal exhibits feature thousands of mounted mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and insects, many displayed in life-like dioramas that depict the animals' natural habitats. The most popular exhibits focus on the mammals of Africa and Asia. Included among the animal exhibits is a large collection of fossilized dinosaur skeletons. Among them is Sue, the 67,000,000-year-old Tyannosaurus rex. She is named after Sue Hendrickson, the paleontologist who discovered her. (Although the fossil's gender is not known, it is referred to as a female). She is 42 feet (13 meters) long and stands 13 feet (four meters) high at the hips.

The museum has an impressive collection of rocks, minerals, and gems, including diamonds, on display in the Grainger Hall of Gems. The Hall of Jades features Chinese jade artifacts spanning over 8,000 years.

In addition to its exhibits on natural history, the Field Museum of Natural History has one of the world's finest collections of cultural and anthropological artifacts. Its large collection of artifacts from Ancient Egypt includes 23 human mummies, the mummified remains of various types of animals, and a reconstructed tomb with 5,000-year-old hieroglyphs. The exhibits about the native cultures of the Americas contain artifacts spanning 13,000 years of human history throughout the Western Hemisphere, from the Arctic to the tip of South America. Other cultural exhibits feature artifacts from China, Tibet, Africa, and the Pacific islands.

The Field Museum of Natural History has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Directions: The Field Museum of Natural History is located at 1400 South Lake Shore Drive, just southeast of downtown Chicago.

Review Helpfulness: 1.5 out of 5 stars

Was this review helpful?

  • Updated Oct 7, 2012
  • Send to a Friend
  • Add to your Trip Planner
  • Report Abuse


traveldave Used To Live Here!


“"....For I must be traveling on now, 'cause there's too many places I've got to see...." (Lynyrd Skynyrd).”

Online Now


Top 1,000 Travel Writer
Member Rank:
0 0 1 9 2

Have you been to Illinois?

  Share Your Travels