Boone Collection


The Boone Collection consists of over 3,500 East Asian artifacts gathered by Commander Gilbert E. Boone and his wife Katharine Phelps Boone. The Boones acquired most of these objects in the late 1950s, during a three-year tour of duty in Japan. Consequently, the objects are predominantly Japanese (accounting for over 50% of The Field Museum's Japanese collection), but a significant number are also from China and Korea.

Early on the Boones decided that their collection should be used as an educational tool to foster an interest in and understanding of East Asia that would help combat the bitterness and ignorance that prevailed in the West after World War II.

As a result, the collection covers a broad range of objects, representative of a variety of artistic media. It contains books, paintings, textiles, ceramics, furniture, lacquerware, and much more. Of particular interest are the impressive selection of Japanese scroll paintings and the 400+ rare Japanese books. However, for the Boones these objects were not only meant to be marveled at but handled and experienced close up, so that one could truly appreciate how, why, and the context in which they were created. Pieces from the Boone Collection have been exhibited several times in Chicago and in other midwestern museums. Now, part of the collection can be viewed in an on-line image gallery.

In addition to the generous donation of the artifacts to The Field Museum, the Boone family also donated money to finance student internships each year: the Boone Scholars Internships for East Asian Studies.

Image above: Detail from Untitled In Edo no Nishiki (Pictures of Edo Women) by Ikeda Terukata. Meiji period, undated. Book; Ink on paper. Catalog Number 3656.223008.B © The Field Museum.