Minds Converge, Ideas Emerge.


Have you heard about the budget cuts that will eliminate scientific programs and research at the Field Museum of Natural History? A new donation push to save the science departments at the museum, entitled Donate for Science, has recently popped up on the site’s website and social media accounts. This video, From the field to The Field, gives viewers a peak into some of the research that scientists conduct every day at the museum. As a past intern of the Field, I’m conflicted about the recent budget announcements. Some argue that museum’s research is what makes it such a unique institution, but if keeping those departments means closing the doors, what would you cut?


About catebay

Informal educator working in the world of art. Interests in public programming and community advocacy. Loves learning about people, collecting blue mason jars, and consuming Swedish fish.
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2 Responses to Minds Converge, Ideas Emerge.

  1. Phil Courington says:

    I wonder if some of the research could be linked directly to things that are better funded than pure research. For example, the collection of Peruvian bird stomachs from the last century might provide evidence of the effects of climate change, making this research more urgent and attractive to potential donors…?

    Years ago, the Field submitted a grant proposal to put the entire collection in a searchable, online format. Could giving the world access to the collection in a way that would not degrade it physically be a source of revenue?

    I would also love to see the Field partner with a local college or university to create a world-class museum studies program, which would perhaps provide access to additional funding. I always thought it was odd that people from Chicago had to go to Norman, Oklahoma (or upstate New York!) to get advanced degrees, when we have a treasure trove of internationally acclaimed institutions right here. Combining with a major University would open up funding opportunities for both, I would think.

  2. catebay says:

    The Field has been doing a better job at installing exhibitions that have to do with the active research going on by the scientists on staff. For example, Restoring Earth, the institution’s newest permanent gallery, focused on fieldwork being completed by Field scientists around the world and in Chicago’s backyard!

    I agree with you that a museum studies program (even one with a science or natural history focus) would be beneficial to the institution and the city as a whole. There has been one program started at UIC, but other than Arts Admin programs, I found nothing that fit my needs almost anywhere in the Midwest. With such an amazing display of museums in the “second city,” maybe this is where we should be focusing our efforts!

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