Blogs & Videos: Collections

Monsters Storm The Field

Invertebrate paleontologists aren’t afraid of anything, so when Collections Manager Paul Mayer was offered a chance to add hundreds of monsters to The Field’s collections, he jumped at the opportunity. The monsters in question, Tully monsters, are just a small part of the enormous donation of Thomas V. Testa’s collection of Mazon Creek fossils that The Field Museum just received from Field Associate Jack Wittry.  

Field Museum Intern Hannah Ranft takes a stab at revising New Zealand lichens

Macrolichens in the family Lobariaceae are among the most conspicuous and charismatic lichens on the planet, due to their often large, colorful thalli and their ecological importance and potential uses. Many species have cyanobacterial photobionts and are capable of fixing atmospheric nitrogen, hence acting as biological fertilizers. Lobariaceae are also good indicators of environmental health and the conservation status of forest ecosystems. Species such as Lobaria pulmonaria have been used in homoeopathic medicine.

Through thick and thin! Stabilizing the Plaster on Minirdis’ Coffin

After cleaning, the first part of Minirdis’ burial equipment that we treated was his coffin.  The coffin was constructed of wood panels joined with wood dowels. A layer of an orange colored plaster like material had been applied over the wood to fill gaps between the wood panels and provide a smooth surface. On top of the plaster layer, the coffin had been painted black with red and yellow decoration.

How to Uncoffin a Mummy

Removing the lid of the coffin was just the start. Now there was the problem of removing the damaged mummy from the lower half of the coffin. With the lid off we found that the right side piece, which had been held in place by the lid, was detached from the bottom of the coffin and could easily be removed. This meant that the mummy could be slid out, instead of trying to pick it up – good news because the assembly was very fragile. Even so, this was no small task, and it took four people to safely move him out of the coffin.

Introduction to the Conservation of "Mummies: Images of the Afterlife"

  Traveling exhibits pose a challenge for museums, especially when particularly fragile objects such as mummies are involved. We want to share our objects and what we’ve found out about them with people outside the museum, but transporting the objects to other museums involves all kinds for risks – traffic accidents, malfunctioning forklifts, road vibration, and freezing winters to name just a few.

The Field Museum Collections help define the "edges" of life on earth

Chicago Ideas Week (CIW) is an innovative gathering of ideas and presentations to innovate and fuel new ways to look at the world.  Past speakers include David Axelrod, Hillary Clinton, Naomi Judd, George Lucas and Reverend Al Sharpton.   Invited to the 2014 CIW Edison Talks, Bill Stanley, Director of the Collections Center at the Field, used specimens to explain how study of the diverse and unique library of material housed at the Museum constantly re-defines our understanding of earth. 

Field Museum Women in Science (FMWIS) Internships 2014 -- Hannah Davis

Learn more about FMWIS intern Hannah Davis, and project, "Walking Lichens" and her main supervisors were Jim Boone and Robert Luecking, with subsequent supervisors being Allie Stone and Kelsey Keaton. She mainly worked in the Insect Collection, which holds over four-and-a-half million specimens. Hannah sifted through drawers of Praying Mantids, Katydids, Grasshoppers, Treehoppers, Walking Sticks, and Moths, looking for species which mimicked lichen. Her "mini-collection" consisted of 106 specimens belonging to 88 unique species.