The Museum is rich in collections from three of the ancient Middle and South American cultures whose conflicts with European societies were among the most dramatic and far-reaching. These collections are particularly strong in ceramics: Aztec pottery from Late Post-Classic Mexico (ca. A.D. 1450-1521)--one of the finest collections of Aztec ceramics outside Mexico. Through analysis of clay samples from a series of vessels, a Museum research associate uncovered pathways of economic exchange during this period on the brink of European contact.Learn more about Aztec, Inca and Maya Collections
Cultures of Mesoamerica and Central America
The Field Museum's Mesoamerican and Central American collections include a wide-range of archaeological and ethnographic pieces, many of the highest exhibition quality. This collection also includes a number of collections of signifcant research value, including those from scientific excavations made by J. Eric Thompson, and the research collections gathered by several significant cultural anthropologists. Portions of the collection were previously loaned to the Guggenheim, the Royal Academy of Arts, the National Museum of Mexican Arts (Chicago), and the Art Institute of Chicago.
A Maya incense bowl and its contents that was dredged from the Cenote of Sacrifice at Chichen Itza was researched by a collaborative team interested in the production process that was used to fabricate the famous Maya Blue pigment. The results of this investigation were published in Antiquity in 2008. The resultant findings were judged the top archaeology discovery of 2008 by Archaeology magazine and one of the ten top scientific discoveries of that year by USA Today.
Cultures of Mesoamerica and Central America Collections
The Museums's Latin American collections include fine textiles from highland Peru and Bolivia and from Guatemala. Dating from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the Andean collection captures a weaving heritage altered by the influence of industrial dyes and tourism on local communities. The diverse Guatemalan pieces shed light on social affiliation (as expressed through dress) and on the artistic vision of women.Learn more about Latin American Textile Collections
The Field Museum's Mesoamerican and Central American collections include a wide-range of archaeological and ethnographic pieces, many of the highest exhibition quality. This collection also includes a number of collections of significant research value, including those from scientific excavations made by J. Eric Thompson, and the research collections gathered by several significant cultural anthropologists.Learn more about Mesoamerica and Central America Collections
When the Museum opened in 1894, visitors could once again experience many of the exhibits they had seen at the fair. Thousands of objects exhibited at the Fair were donated or sold to the new museum, and they have been cared for by the Anthropology Department since then. Many of those objects have not been viewed by the public since 1893!Learn more about World's Columbian Exposition of 1893 Collection