Cultural Heritage: Chicago

Photo: Sarah Sommers

Ever since its founding as an urban metropolis, Chicago has drawn diverse peoples to live and work on the shores of Lake Michigan. Its pre-urban heritage is reflected in the anthropology collections from Native North America. European explorers, traders, and settlers developed the city, changing the landscape. The contemporary metropolis is home to over 8 million people and continues to attract immigrants from throughout the United States and abroad. The Field Museum's Anthropology Department and the anthropologists in the Environment, Culture and Conservation Science Division (ECCo) research, document, and engage Chicago's diverse communities to ensure an on-going connection to our collections and knowledge base. To learn more about our work promoting Chicago's heritage please see the following links:

Also see the website of the Chicago Cultural Alliance, for information on other cultural museums and heritage centers in Chicago.

We are also connecting our collections to the contemporary issues that affect Chicago's communities. Our framework for connecting across  cultures is "Common Concerns, Different Responses". This framework allows people of diverse heritage to see what is common and how to understand differences.  

A major project within the Anthropology Department, under the leadership of Professor John Terrell, Regenstein Curator, is the "Marae Encounters" initiative which uses our Maori Meeting House to build and strengthen a sense of community, and help nurture honest and meaningful conversations between peoples.