Heat Temperature Theater

Ever wonder how the Field Museum comes up with new and exciting exhibitions every year? The beast of exhibit design is alive and humming within the museum every day, just a couple stories above the unsuspecting public. One of our most recent developments, The Machine Inside: Biomechanics provides an excellent example of how the Field stays at the cutting edge of visitor experience. To elucidate the process, we’ll focus in on one key element of the show.

A Case Study

4.567 billion years - that’s the age of the oldest object here at the Field Museum. The most senior specimen housed in the Geology collection - the Sutter’s Mill Meteorite - contains presolar grains dating back to the formation of the galaxy.


In 2008, I had an opportunity to help Mark Westneat Ph.D with construction of a Biomechanical model of a Dunkelosteous, a prehistoric fish, to test its bite strength. The model was filmed for an episode of History Channel’s series “Evolve”. We had a three-minute segment in the “Jaws and Claws” episode. We smashed all kinds of stuff in the jaws, and had a generally good time. The model is currently on display with the Field Museum’s exhibition, Biomechanics: The Machine Inside.

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