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Complete Guide to Chicago's Field Museum

Chicago's natural history museum is yours for the exploring!

a dinosaur skeleton at The Field Museum in Chicago

The Field Museum is Chicago’s absolute masterclass of a natural history museum. It has everything you could possibly want out of a history museum. A myriad of cultural exhibits, a wild sampling of animal specimens including dinosaur bones, and absolutely everything in between!

There is far more to the Field than you’ll be able to see in a single visit, so as someone who has been to the Field Museum on many occasions, here’s a shortlist of the exhibits that I think are the best of the best.

Regenstein Halls of the Pacific

For an up close and personal look at far flung Pacific islands, check out the Regenstein Halls of the Pacific on the Upper Level. It's half diorama-like, showing you how volcanic islands form and what tropical climates are like, and the other half shows artifacts from the indigenous cultures of these far flung islands. It's a set of cultures I was largely unfamiliar with before visiting the Field.

Jades and Gems

For a quick stop off to see some shiny things, check out the Jades and Gems rooms on the south end of the Upper level. These small exhibits showcase incredible craftsmanship, and they make a great little brain break when you need a rest from reading informational signs and just want to look at something pretty. And if you're particularly interested in fancy and/or shiny rocks, check out the rocks and mineral area just outside the gems room!

Ancient Egypt

This exhibit starts on the Main Level and ends on the Ground Level, and the way you get there is by walking through a full scale replica of an Egyptian burial chamber! Once you get down to the lower level, you’ll be greeted by a truly astounding collection of mummies and burial effects. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience.

Ancient Americas and Native Americans Exhibits

The Field's exhibits on indigenous cultures in the Americas is currently in a beautiful state of flux. The museum is currently going to great lengths to update these galleries to be culturally sensitive and respectful to the tribes that are very much still in existence.

As you walk through the halls, you’ll see thoughtful signage explaining the collaboration with current members of the tribes whose items are on display, including places where items have been removed from display to be repatriated. And there’s an entirely new hall containing testimonies and samples of work from modern-day native artists. It’s a remarkable exhibit and a must-see at the Field.

Even as all these changes are taking place, there's still many fascinating artifacts on display. This has long been one of my personal favorite exhibits at the Field, and it's only going to get better from here!

SUE the t-rex skeleton at the Field Museum, Chicago

Evolving Planet (featuring SUE the T-Rex!)

If you’ve heard of one exhibit from the Field Museum before reading this post, it’s probably SUE the T-Rex. She’s a gorgeous, nearly complete T-Rex skeleton that has been a source of wonder and scientific discovery for many many years. She's named after the scientist who originally discovered the skeleton. She has her own dedicated exhibit space, and you really and truly need to experience her in person. Her sheer size is something you can't quite grasp until you're in the room with her.

And while SUE might be the highlight, the entire Evolving Planet exhibit is packed full of bones and fossils from every era of prehistoric life. Starting from trilobites and going all the way to an entire hall of dinosaurs, it’s what history museum dreams are made of!

Ready to take on Chicago's Field Museum?!

The Field Museum is a spectacular place full of fascinating history and exciting sights! I highly recommend visiting it when you come to Chicago.

Want more Chicago Museum Campus guides? Check out my museum campus overview here, or click here for a full guide to the Shedd Aquarium!

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