Staff Profile

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Mark Alvey

Science Comm and Strategy Administrator

Science and Education

Mark began at the Field in 1990 as Department Assistant in the Photography Dept./Photo Archives on a six-month term and figured that would be that. In the ensuing 28-plus years, he has worked as a Collections Management Assistant in Anthropology (participating in the installation of the Africa exhibit, de-installation of the North American Plains Indians Hall, and the upgrading of storage mounts in various ethnographic collections), Administrative Assistant in Geology, as well Museum Volunteer Coordinator, Operations Administrator in Botany, Exhibition Developer (Lead Developer on Gregor Mendel: Planting the Seeds of Genetics, and numerous small-gallery and one-case exhibits), and communication/strategy/budget administrator (under various titles) for five different Vice Presidents of Collections & Research/Academic Affairs/Science & Education. A long, strange trip indeed. On the side Mark has served as a content advisor on Opening the Vaults: Wonders of the 1893 World's Fair (2013-14), Specimens: Unlocking the Secrets of Life (2016-17), and Mr. Akeley's Camera (2018 - ?), and for several content updates on permanent exhibitions.

Mark has the distinction of being the only Museum staff member (we think) who graduated from the University of Iowa while Willard "Sandy" Boyd was president of the university (1970s), and then worked at the Field while Dr. Boyd was its president (1990s). He is also the only Field Museum employee banned from the Museum due to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome)—this after returning from China with his daughter Lana in 2003 (time off after returning with his older daughter Lily in 1997 was due solely to jet lag.) On the other hand, he is one of many Field Museum staffers to have a species named in his honor—in his case, a Malagasy rainbowfish, Bedotia alveyi ( He remains hopeful for a lichen and/or flowering plant.


Additional Information


The University of Texas at Austin, Department of Radio-Television-Film

      1995:  Ph.D.  Communications (Critical Studies, Film and Television)

      Dissertation:  The Semi-Anthology and Series Drama: Sixties Television in Transition

      1985:  M.A.  Communications (Critical Studies, Film and Television)

The University of Iowa, Department of Speech/Division of Broadcasting and Film

1978:  B.A.  Film Studies


Journal and anthologized articles

“From Peer to Obscurity: Julius Moessel and the Fall of an Artistic Reputation,” Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society  109:4 Winter 2016).

“The Cinema as Taxidermy: Carl Akeley and the Preservative Obsession.”  Framework 48:1 (Spring 2006).

With Shannon Hackett and Kevin Feldheim.  “Genes and Genius:  The Inheritance of Gregor Mendel.”  DNA and Cell Biology 25:12 (December 2006)

“Too Many Kids and Old Ladies: Quality Demographics and Sixties U.S. Television.”  Screen 45:1 (Spring 2004). 

             Reprinted in Horace Newcomb, ed., Television: the Critical View, 7th ed. (Oxford, 2006).

"The Independents: Rethinking the Television Studio System." In The Revolution Wasn't Televised: Sixties Television and Social Conflict, edited by Lynn Spigel and Michael Curtin (Routledge, 1997).  

             Reprinted in Television: the Critical View, 6th ed., edited by Horace Newcomb (Oxford, 2000).

“Wanderlust and Wire Wheels: the Existential Search of Route 66." In The Road Movie Book, edited by Steven Cohan and Ina Rae Hark  (Routledge, 1997).

             Excerpted as Foreword and commentary in Route 66: The Television Series by James Rosin (Autumn Road [3 editions], 2007, 2012, 2015).

Popular articles: In the Field (Field Museum Members' magazine)


“The Field on Film.”  In The Field, March-April 2001.

“’Panda-monium’ Started at the Field.”  In The Field, March-April 2001.

“Motion Pictures as Taxidermy: Carl Akeley and His Camera.” In The Field, September-October 2000.

"Rediscovering Julius Moessel: Chicago and The Field Museum's Master Muralist." In The Field, May-June 1999

Short articles

With Christine Niezgoda. "Students to the Rescue: Rediscovering the Kirk Collection." Sept.-Dec. 2015.

"Digitizing the Mazon Creek Fossils." May-August 2014.

"Members' Nights 2014: Get to the Museum--Under the Speed Limit!" January-April 2014.

Compiled with Franck Mercurio. "Scientific Cinematic Slips." September-December 2012

Encyclopedia essays, book reviews, and other

Preface and commentary. In Naked City: The Television Series by James Rosin (Autumn Road, 2008).

Route 66,” “Naked City,” “The Defenders,” “The Rockford Files,” “James Garner,” “Sheldon Leonard,” “Dick Powell,” and “Stirling Silliphant.” In The Encyclopedia of Television, edited by Horace Newcomb (Fitzroy Dearborn, 1997; rev. ed. Taylor and Francis, 2004). 

“Herbert B. Leonard." In The Encyclopedia of Television, edited by Horace Newcomb (Taylor and Francis, 2004). 

Review of Tino Balio, ed., Hollywood in the Age of TelevisionJournalism Quarterly, Autumn 1991.

Review of David Marc, Comic Visions, and Darrel Hamamoto, Nervous LaughterJournalism Quarterly, Winter 1989.