Must-See Selfie Spots other than SUE
Specimen FMNH PR 2081 is the 67-million-year-old, 90% complete T. rex skeleton that we love to see, study, and photograph. But, in addition to SUE, there are nearly 40,000,000 other artifacts and specimens on display to learn about—and add to your Instagram feed—when you visit.
Read about the history of some of our must-see specimens and objects below, and don’t forget to tag your own images of them with @FieldMuseum and #FieldMuseum when you share them on social media!
Akeley’s Fighting African Elephants
Location: Stanley Field Hall
Stanley Field Hall’s elephants are a prominent example of Carl Akeley's legacy, who worked at the Field from 1896 to 1909. Akeley—known today as the “father of modern taxidermy”—pioneered a number of advancements in the craft. Most notably was the practice of sculpting the underlying mannequin to give the piece its lifelike appearance and posing animals in accurate representations of their natural habitats.
The elephants were collected by Akeley and his wife, Delia, during the 1905 Zoology Expedition to East Africa. The elephants were so lifelike, and posed in such a dramatic way, that there was nothing else like it when they went on display in 1909. They’ve remained on continuous display ever since.
The Four Seasons of the White-tailed Deer
Location: Nature Walk & Messages from the Wilderness
More of Carl Akeley’s must-see work can be found a few steps away in Nature Walk & Messages from the Wilderness where visitors can marvel at white-tailed deer in spring, summer, fall, and winter. Akeley and his wife Delia paid attention to every detail. For example, there are 17,000 individual handmade leaves for the scenery; no two are the same.
Other dioramas in this exhibition give a glimpse into the habitats of animals from across South, Central, and North America. In the late 1800s and early 1900s when these specimens were collected (pre-TV, internet, or cell phones), dioramas like these were the only way that people could see Alaskan brown bears, moose, or capybaras. Today, we hope these dioramas continue to educate visitors about these incredible animals, their habitats, and why we must work for their conservation.
Jade Desk Screen
Location: Hall of Jades
Among the 450 objects in the Hall of Jades, you’ll find this intricate desk screen from the Qing period (1644-1911). This green screen wasn’t used for special effects (besides shading the owner’s desk from the sun), but it did hold special meaning for the bureaucrat who displayed it.
For more than eight thousand years, people in China have treasured jade and the five virtues it is described as possessing: benevolence, loyalty, wisdom, courage, and integrity. The stone’s ancient literary and mythological associations made it especially significant to government workers, who were required to take rigorous exams that tested their knowledge of history, literature, philosophy, and the arts to attain their job.
Location: Griffin Halls of Evolving Planet
Quetzalcoatlus (ket-zal-co-AHT-lus) is a giant pterosaur from Texas, with wings that stretched 35 feet across. You’ll spot one soaring over Stanley Field Hall near Máximo the Titanosaur. A second life-sized model, about as tall as a giraffe, is seated near the entrance of Evolving Planet. Those are the most obvious pterosaurs in the Museum, but we have a whole flock.
Quetzalcoatlus is not only the biggest of our three pterosaur species on display, but it also lived the latest in time. These flying reptiles likely coexisted with T. rex at the very end of the Cretaceous, about 67 million years ago. Along with non-avian dinosaurs, pterosaurs went extinct during the end-Cretaceous mass extinction.
Location: Outside the Grainger Hall of Gems
If a diamond is forever and a picture is worth a thousand words, the vial of “stardust” outside the Grainger Hall of Gems may be the world’s first neverending story.
This small vial contains more than a quadrillion (that’s a one with 15 zeros) tiny diamonds. They were extracted from a piece of the Allende meteorite, which fell in 1969 in Chihuahua, Mexico. But these nanodiamonds originated more than five billion years before from the explosions of ancient stars that created our solar system. By studying objects like the Allende meteorite, scientists can peer into the history of the universe before the Sun was formed.
Location: Griffin Halls of Evolving Planet
Ever wonder what it would be like to walk alongside the dinosaurs? In the Griffin Halls of Evolving Planet, you can step into the world of the many creatures that have roamed Earth throughout history—literally.
Once you’ve entered the Mesozoic Era, take a peek behind Apatosaurus to find a cast of this sauropod’s footprint. Stand inside and see how many of your feet could fit inside (and banish all insecurities you may have about your large shoe size).
Lions of Tsavo
Location: Rice Gallery
Tucked within an arresting collection of African mammal taxidermy, the man-eating lions of Tsavo are two of the Field Museum’s most famous residents. They’re also some of the most infamous, in part due to the Michael Douglas and Val Kilmer interpretation of their story in the 1996 film: The Ghost and the Darkness.
In March 1898, the British started building a railway bridge over the Tsavo (SAH-vo) River in Kenya. But the project took a deadly turn when, over the next nine months, two maneless male lions mysteriously developed a taste for humans and went on a killing spree. The lions’ reign of terror ended when they were shot and killed in late 1898. They were brought to the Field for restoration and display in 1925.