Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Chicago for a Day: The Field Museum

Admissions at the Field Magnifying Glass

If you've followed my blog for a while you may have come to the conclusion that I'm mildly obsessed with the Field Museum in Chicago.  I even cried a little when we went to see the 3D movie The Story of Sue (the most complete T-rex fossil) a few years ago. She had such a hard life! She died when she was only 28, had broken ribs, three holes in her jaw from an infection, arthritis, and many other injuries and issues. In addition to Sue, the Field Museum is just a really nice (huge!) space that's packed with tons of information.

Anyway we were in Chicago last month briefly to visit my parents before heading to Ohio for my cousin's wedding. We had about a day and I really wanted to visit my favorite museum, especially since they had an exhibit on Mummies (which ended April 22nd.) It was a small & dark exhibit so I don't have pictures, but it was neat. Some of the mummies had not been on display since the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893. It also has me convinced we need to make it up to Seattle to see the upcoming King Tut Exhibit at the Pacific Science Center.

Sapphire Necklace Hall of Gems Etruscan Jewelry

We managed to visit the Hall of Gems, The Evolving Planet & some of the North American Collection, focusing on the Northwest Coast. Above are some pieces from the hall of gems. From left to right: An Edwardian carved sapphire pendant with diamonds set in rose gold, Sunlit diamond & fringe pendant with heliodor, and lastly Etruscan gold jewelry. Many of the pieces in the hall of gems were designed by Chicago jeweler Lester Lampert, they have a nice slide show of the one-of-a-kind works. (Which actually reminds me, somehow I came across this story recently that a Portland jeweler, whose place of business I walk by often, won designer of the year in an industry competition. Neat, and very pretty piece!)

Diamonds Trilobites

Just outside of the Hall of Gems was a display of meteorites. The magnified vile above was said to contain 5 billion year old diamonds, extracted from the Allende Meteorite, "the best studied meteorite in history." The diamonds may just be powder now, but that's still awe inspiring. Lastly the fossils in the evolving planet exhibit are always great, and that exhibit is so full of information. I always hope I'll someday memorize it all, but at least I can learn a little more each time. We watched a cartoon explaining the use of name Apatosaur over Brontosaur, looked at all the variety of trilobites, and learned that the Field has one of the largest collection of tetrapod fossils.

And before we went to the Field we had a nice brunch at another favorite, The Chicago Diner. Perfect day, except for the fact that I didn't not have any room left after my brunch to have one of their amazing milkshakes...and they had mint milkshakes on the menu that day, which sounds fantastic. I'll have to remember to make a point of just going for a milkshake next time I visit!

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