An open letter to Field Museum members

 

Dear Friends,

The Field Museum is a hugely valuable resource for understanding biological and cultural diversity.  In partnership with other academic centers in the city—especially the University of Chicago, University of Illinois at Chicago, and Northwestern University—the museum is at the heart of some of the strongest academic programs in the world.

Some years back, I surprised many folks when I declined the offer of a professorship at an Ivy League university to remain at Field Museum.  Despite the Ivy League’s allure and resources (not to mention the added attraction of my family and summer home back in upstate NY), I could not walk away from the museum’s fundamental research and vital public programs.  Despite being younger, smaller, and with a leaner budget than its peer institutions in London, New York and Washington, the Field Museum has built a faculty, professional staff,  facilities, and collections that are second to none.  Actually, I think that our size has worked to our advantage.  It helps us to better track cutting-edge research and makes us better-rounded as researchers, curators, and educators; it also aids us in editing the journals, leading the scientific societies, and chairing the panels and committees that oversee 21st century science.

The scientific staff at Field Museum are proud to have privileged positions at the helm of one of Society’s greatest treasures.  There is a loyalty and personal commitment to the institution among its staff that would astonish most people.  And it goes without saying that we are greatly indebted to the members and sponsors who support our programs and enable our mission: to discover, document, and disseminate information about our natural world and its peoples.

Gratefully yours,

Bruce D. Patterson

MacArthur Curator of Mammals