Members' Nights

About this recurring event

Experience the museum like a VIP at our virtual Members' Nights.

A visitor takes a close look at a fossilized skull. He stands beside the skull, between a row shelves containing other fossil specimens in the Field Museum's collection.

Field Museum members get unprecedented access to areas normally off-limits and a peek at rarely seen items from our vast collection.

This year the 70th Annual Members’ Nights are virtual, May 19–21! Explore the museum from the comfort of your home during this three-day digital event. As a member, you’ll join us for behind-the-scenes tours of our collections led by scientists, curators, and more.

Discover how the tiniest specimens are photographed. Preview objects that will be on display in an upcoming exhibition. Take in the variety of colors and textures found in birds from around the world. We’re also opening up areas of the museum that you might not have seen before—even during previous Members’ Nights—and celebrating 100 years at our lakefront home. Tune in to see what you’ll encounter.

This event is free for Field members with advance registration.


Not yet a member? Become one to enjoy Members’ Nights, free admission, and more throughout the year.

What’s next for our exhibitions? As a member you can help us test interactives, like this Dunkleosteus interactive from The Machine Inside: Biomechanics featured in the 67th Annual Members' Nights.

Get an up-close look at our collections by hearing from staff—like conservation technicians, seen here photographing items from the Native North American Hall.

Schedule of events

Time Session Description Speakers
6–7pm 100 years of the Field's Lakefront Home  Join President and CEO Julian Siggers, PhD, live in Stanley Field Hall to celebrate 100 years of the Field Museum's lakefront home. Hear from scholars about the beauty of Stanley Field Hall and what makes it a special place for science learning. 
Julian Siggers, PhD, President and CEO
Mark Alvey, Academic Communications Manager 
Adam Ferguson, PhD, Negaunee Collection Manager of Mammals 
Gretchen Rings, Museum Librarian & Head of Library Collections
Alaka Wali, PhD, Curator of North American Anthropology

Time Session Description Speakers
6–6:20pm The Field's First Dino Discovery Until Máximo made his debut, Brachiosaurus was the largest known land dinosaur. Discover what scientists know about this 40-foot-tall sauropod, and how its history is entwined with the Field Museum.
Bill Simpson, Head of Geological Collections
McCarter Collections Manager, Fossil Vertebrates
6:20–6:40pm Sneak a Peek at the new Native North America Hall After two years of design and collections care, the Field Museum is almost ready to present its newest permanent gallery. Go behind the scenes with us and get an exclusive first look at what will be on display in the new Native North America Hall.
J. Kae Good Bear, Conservation Technician
Stephanie Black, Assistant Conservator
Michelle Brownlee, Collections Assistant
Erin Murphy, Assistant Conservator
Emily Starck, Assistant Collections Manager
6:40–7pm Buttons, Levers, and Lights for Learning Discover how exhibition developers create hands-on learning experiences in the interactives shop for visitors to explore in our world-class exhibitions! John Shworles, Interactives Technician
7–7:10pm   Break  
7:10–7:30pm The Field's Secret Fossil Collection Did you know the Field Museum is literally made of fossils? Join Collections Manager Paul Mayer to explore  fossils hidden in the floor! Paul Mayer, Collections Manager, Fossil Invertebrates
7:30–7:50pm Building the Field Museum 100 years ago, the Field Museum opened the doors of its new lakefront home to the public. Celebrate your museum with Collections Manager Jim Holstein and learn about the geology of the Field's iconic home! Jim Holstein, Collections Manager of Physical Geology
7:50–8pm   Break  
8–8:20pm Napoleon's Description of Egypt Discover a rare book in the Library's collection that rivals Audubon's Birds of America. Napoleon's Description de l'Égypte is so large it's hardly ever on display, but members can enjoy an exclusive look at this important volume.
Melissa Anderson, Library Collections Coordinator
Diana Duncan, Technical Services Librarian
Gretchen Rings, Museum Librarian & Head of Library Collections
8:20–8:40pm Tiniest Specimens Up-close and Personal How do scientists take photos of super tiny specimens? Join Manager of Morphology Labs Stephanie Ware to find out! Stephanie Ware, Manager, Morphology Labs
8:40–9pm Face to Face with the First Land Animals How did the descendants of aquatic, gill-breathing animals come to take their first steps on land? Join PhD student Ben Otoo and MacArthur Curator of Paleomammalogy Ken Angielczyk to explore spectacular specimens of the 330-million-year-old Whatcheeria. Unique to the Field Museum’s collection, these specimens reveal the diversity of body sizes and lifestyles tetrapods achieved during their first steps onto land.
Ken Angielczyk, PhD, MacArthur Curator of Paleomammalogy 
Ben Otoo, PhD student
9–9:05pm   Wrap up and thank you  


Time Session Description Speakers
6–6:20pm Friendly and Deadly Fungi Fungi are bad, right? But wait...aren't some of them helpful? Join Research Scientist Matthew Nelsen and Collections Manager Todd Widhelm to learn more about some of the cool ways fungi have evolved to help and hurt plants, animals, and even other fungi!
Matthew Nelsen, Research Scientist,
Todd Widhelm, PhD, Collections Manager
6:20–6:40pm The Greatest Mass Extinction Event of All Time
Explore the Griffin Halls of Evolving Planet with Postdoctoral Fellow Pia Viglietti, Postdoctoral Student Caroline Abbott, and MacArthur Curator of Paleomammalogy Ken Angielczyk to learn about the origin and evolution of land animals from dinosaurs to today’s mammals and birds.
Caroline Abbott, PhD student
Ken Angielczyk, PhD, MacArthur Curator of Paleomammalogy 
Pia Viglietti, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, Grainger Bioinformatics Center
6:40–7pm Colorful Birds Birds display an entire rainbow of color and texture in nature, but have you ever wondered why or how? Join Shannon Hackett, The Richard and Jill Chaifetz Associate Curator of Birds, and Postdoctoral Associate Chad Eliason to explore the unique reasons behind the wide range of color in birds.
Chad Eliason, PhD, Postdoctoral Associate
Shannon Hackett, PhD, The Richard and Jill Chaifetz Associate Curator of Birds
7–7:10pm   Break  
7:10–7:30pm Behind the Scenes in the Fossil Prep Labs Preparing fossils takes more than chisels and brushes. Our scientists use specialized tools to prepare fossil specimens for research or display. Join Chief Preparator Akiko Shinya and Fossil Preparator Connie Van Beek for a behind-the-scenes glimpse at some of the methods they use to prepare SUE's friends.
Akiko Shinya, Chief Preparator
Connie Van Beek, Fossil Preparator 
7:30–7:50pm The Chemistry Behind Ancient Commerce When an archaeologist finds an object, how do they know where it came from? Chemistry! Join research scientist Laure Dussubieux to learn how scientists were able to pinpoint the origin of glass beads from Kish and what it reveals about ancient trade networks. Laure Dussubieux, PhD, Research Scientist
7:50–8pm   Break  
8–8:20pm Explore Mexican Dance Masks When an artifact or specimen is donated to the Field Museum, our conservators and scholars carefully prepare it for generations of scientific study. Discover their work and the cultural history of the Field's collection of Mexican dance masks with graduate conservation intern Nicole Schmidt. Nicole Schmidt, Graduate Conservation Intern
8:20–8:40pm Live Bug Experience! See live scorpions, tarantulas, and more! Learn about the importance of insects and spiders to humans and how they are being affected by human activity. Jim Louderman, Collections Assistant
8:40–9pm The Antler Room Go behind the scenes with Negaunee Collection Manager Adam Ferguson on an exclusive trip to the museum's Antler Room. Adam Ferguson, PhD, Negaunee Collection Manager of Mammals
9–9:05pm   Wrap up and thank you