July 22, 1889

The Mayor appoints a committee to organize the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

September 16, 1893

Charter from the State of Illinois creates the Columbian Museum of Chicago.

May 21, 1894

Trustees vote to change the Museum's name to Field Columbian Museum.

June 2, 1894

Opening Day for the Field Columbian Museum at the former Palace of Fine Arts Building in Jackson Park, what is now the Museum of Science & Industry.

November 10, 1905

Trustees vote to change the Museum's name to Field Museum of Natural History to honor Marshall Field, the Museum's first major benefactor and to emphasize its natural sciences collection in anthropology, botany, geology and zoology.


The search for The Field Museum's new, permanent home was not without controversy as the architect of the Plan for Chicago, Daniel Burnham, fought for legislative permission to build the Museum along Chicago's lakefront.


Construction begins on new home for Field Museum of Natural History at its new site in Grant Park at a cost of $7 million. Architectural firm: Graham, Anderson, Probst and White. Architect: Peirce Anderson. See Field Museum Bulletin article, "The Burnham Plan and Field Museum"

September 28, 1917

Cornerstone laid for new building.

March 1920

Specimens moved from Jackson Park site to Grant Park site. See the Library's flickr photo set, Moving the Field Museum (1920)

May 2, 1921

Opening Day at present Grant Park location.


A new era of extensive expeditions is inaugurated and continues until the beginning of the Great Depression. Eight expeditions are completed by 1923 and several continue until 1924. These expeditions focused on obtaining objects for the Museum's exhibitions.

December 6, 1943

Trustees vote to change the Museum's name to Chicago Natural History Museum.


In the Post World War II Era, The Field Museum begins a new kind of exploration focusing on scientific research instead of collecting items for its exhibitions.


First exhibition of "Tutankhamun Treasures" on display at the Museum from June 15-July 15. See Bulletin articles, "Tutankhamun Treasures Coming to Museum" and "An Invitation to an Exhibition of the Tutankhamun Treasures"

March 1, 1966

Trustees vote to change the Museum's name back to Field Museum of Natural History. See Field Museum Bulletin article, "Field Museum Again"

September 5-7, 1969

The first North American Paleontological Convention is held at the Field Museum.


"Treasures of Tutankhamun" draws millions of visitors to the Museum from April 15-August 15. See entire Bulletin issue.

May 2000

Sue, the largest, most complete, and best preserved Tyrannosaurus rex ever discovered is unveiled to the public.

September 12, 2005

Collections Resource Center (CRC) opens, expanding the Museum's collection space by 186,000 square feet and 45,000 storage drawers and shelves. See In the Field

March 10, 2006

new permanent exhibition, Evolving Planet, opens.

May 26, 2006

"Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs" brings over 130 Egyptian treasures back to The Field Museum. Many, like Tutankhamun's royal diadem, were not shown in the 1977 tour. See various articles In the Field.

July 2009

"Chicago's only completely digital 3D theater" opens to the public at The Field Museum.

October 19, 2011

The Field Museum's bathroom is voted the best in the country. Read the full story.