Chicago Field Museum: the Beloved Institution that Almost Wasn’t {includes free days}

The Local Tourist
15 min readJan 19

Chicago Field Museum is a world-class institution, but it almost never existed. Learn the story behind this iconic attraction, plus details on visiting today, including 2023 free days.

Field Museum of Chicago from the Museum Campus

The Field Museum is one of Chicago’s most iconic attractions. With millions of specimens in its collections, from gems to mummies to dinosaurs, the museum is a destination for people from all over the world.

Field Museum of Chicago from the Museum Campus

The museum’s vast collection includes over 30 million specimens and artifacts, spanning the fields of anthropology, botany, geology, and zoology.

Visitors can explore the museum’s many galleries and exhibits, which showcase everything from ancient Egyptian artifacts to the latest in scientific research. The Field Museum also offers a wide variety of educational programs for visitors of all ages, as well as special events and lectures.

Today this world-class institution is one of the most popular things to do in Chicago, but if it weren’t for the tireless dedication of one man, it might never have come to be.

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Table of Contents

History of the Field Museum

Chicago Field Museum view from south with steps in foreground.
The Local Tourist

Born to write with a nearly obsessive love of travel, history, cooking, Chicago, and my husband. Author, speaker, exuberant lover of life.